Giacomo Fracassi

AfD’s proposal on Christian Persecution receives no support in German parliament

Deutscher Bundestag: Image number: 5001875 Photographer: Simone M. Neumann

A motion presented by far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) to establish an International Day against the Persecution of Christians was struck down by the German parliament, with the other parties in the assembly criticizing the proposal as propaganda.

The proposal called for German federal government to promote on the international stage the battle against “Christianophobia” and the importance of Christianity in Germany and in Western world as whole. AfD also proposed February 15th as the possible date for the remembrance day. On that date in 2015 militants of ISIS released a video showing the decapitation of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.

The far-right party quoted the latest iteration of the Open Doors World Watch List in its statement on persecution of Christians. The list is promoted by non-profit organization Open Doors, known for its ties with evangelical groups and it is not considered a neutral source. Using data from the Open Doors World Watch List was criticized in the German Bundestag, with Green MP Boris Mijatovic finding the figures wrong and Social Democrat MP Falko Drossman calling it “more than questionable”.

Criticism went further than that in the national assembly. The AfD has a hard anti-immigration stance and for its ties with far-right movements it is ostracized by other parties. Ruling party SPD called the proposal a “hate” one, with junior coalition partners from the Green Party agreeing, adding that the move was propaganda to make AfD “defenders of Christianity”. The other coalition partner, the liberal party FDP reminded that all religious groups face persecutions and that persecutors also come from all religious groups. Finally, the centre-right party CDU said that “one day of remembrance is certainly not enough” for persecution of all religions and minorities.

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