21:56 GMT01 December 2020
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    Anti-Islamization Protests in Europe (44)
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    Spanish branch of the Dresden-based Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) movement says the resignation of the organization's leaders will not have a profound negative impact on it. So far, five senior members of the movement's leadership have stepped down.

    MOSCOW, January 29 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — The resignation of the leaders of the Dresden-based Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) movement is unlikely to have a profound negative impact on it, Pegida Spain told Sputnik Thursday.

    Five senior members of the movement's leadership have stepped down following the resignation of Pegida leader, Lutz Bachmann, on January 21. Bachmann quit after a photograph of him sporting an Adolf Hitler-styled moustache and haircut emerged in the media. The picture was initially posted on Bachmann's Facebook page and was meant to be a joke, according to the former leader. Media reports also surfaced of Bachmann referring to asylum seekers in welfare offices as "animals" and "scumbags."

    "We think that the resignation of five members of the Pegida Germany leadership is not that serious for the movement itself. We think that our movement is a lot more important than any single person," the spokesperson for Pegida Spain told Sputnik.

    Pegida spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel stepped down on Wednesday due to threats, hostility and hounding by the media, according to a statement on the movement's Facebook page.

    Moreover, the group's deputy leader Rene Jahn and three other members stepped down as they did not want to be associated with "Nazi things and right-wing comments", German media reported.

    "Nobody wants to be associated with 'Nazi-ideologies', but it is natural that we also have right-wing followers because of the movement's profile," the spokesperson said.

    Pegida is an anti-immigrant and anti-Islamization movement that was founded in Dresden in 2014. Since then, Pegida has organized weekly demonstrations in Dresden against the growing influence of Islam in Europe. However, the next rally scheduled for February 2 has been canceled due to "organizational and legal reasons."

    The Pegida movement has spread to other European countries – in particular, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Spain.

    "In Spain, we are not negatively affected [by the recent developments], we are growing and working on establishing more regional groups," the Pegida Spain spokesperson said.

    Islamophobia has been on the rise in Europe recently following the attacks in Paris and its outskirts in early January by radicalized Muslims that claimed the lives of 17 people.

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    Anti-Islamization Protests in Europe (44)

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    Tags:
    Islamophobia, resignation, anti-Islam protests, PEGIDA, Kathrin Oertel, Lutz Bachmann, Germany, Spain
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