far right activists demonstrate in Lyon against the Islamisation of France

Paris attacks add fuel to Europe’s Anti-Islam movements such as PEGIDA, as well as protests in Texas, U.S.

After religiously motivated extremist attacks against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in France, the instances of anti-Islamic sentiment have skyrocketed, not only in France, but also in places like Texas and Germany.  According to the National Observatory Against Islamophobia in France, there have been more than 110 incidents since the Charlie Hebdo incident, as opposed to the full month of January 2013, when less than 30 actual attacks occurred. 

French President Francois Hollande’s government has spoken repeatedly about the need for understanding that not all followers of Islam are extremists and reiterating, “Muslims are the main victims of terrorism.”

In Dresden, Germany, a group going by the name PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) was forced to abandon a weekly planned rally after the local police were forced to place a ban on all rallies following calls for attackers to kill PEGIDA’s most well known member, Lutz Bachmann. Bachmann stepped down from his position this week, after posting a photo of himself intentionally resembling Adolf Hitler.

PEGIDA’s rally Sunday is still scheduled to occur as planned.  Last week, the PEGIDA demonstration in Dresden drew roughly 25,000 attendees, but similar groups in other German cities have enjoyed less support from the population and have faced counter-demonstrations in many areas.  Many of Germany’s politicians have charged that the group is promoting racism and fear with its rhetoric against Muslims.

Across the ocean in the U.S., a Muslim conference in Garland, Texas intended to help fight Islamophobia, drew about a thousand protesters carrying American flags and signs with anti-Sharia slogans.  Many who attended the protest carried signs decrying Islam as an “enemy of freedom” and insisting that the conference attendees were “not welcome” in America.  Counter-protesters and police attended; among the sentiments expressed by the counter-protesters was a sign proclaiming, “Jesus is not a hater.”

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