A young Muslim man has been stabbed to death in Germany, in an attack which is thought to be linked to recent “anti-Islamisation” marches in Dresden.
Khaled Idris Bahray, 20, an Eritrean-born Muslim, was found stabbed to death in the early hours of Tuesday, Dresden prosecution office has said.
His body was discovered the day after 40,000 people joined a weekly march organised by the far-righ anti-Muslim organisation called ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West’ (PEGIDA).
Mr Bahray had gone out to do some shopping on Monday night, and never returned home.
He was found dead outside his house on Tuesday morning, police say.
Dresden prosecution office has launched ‘an extensive investigation’ into the murder.
PEGIDA marches has become a weekly sight in Dresden in recent months, and up to 40,000 is said to have taken to the streets on Monday, the day of Mr Bahray’s disappearance.
Thousands were seen waving German flags in the dark and chanting ‘Luegenpresse’ (Lying press), a Nazi term, and ‘Wir sind das Volk’ (We are the people).
The record number of marchers were emboldened by the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Co-founder Lutz Bachmann, 41, says his ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West’ campaign, born on Facebook three months ago, represents the silent majority and has huge potential across Germany and Europe.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” Bachmann, who has a criminal conviction for burglary, told Reuters in an interview.
While PEGIDA leaders deny they are racist and are careful to distinguish between Islamists and most of Germany’s 4 million Muslims, slogans like “No Shariah!” and “In 2035 Germans will be a minority!” betray a hostility to foreigners.
At Monday’s rally, Bachmann called on politicians to force immigrants to integrate.
“Every religion is welcome in Germany. But you can’t try to influence German culture and life,” Kathrin Oertel, a PEGIDA co-founder, told Reuters.
To the 35,000 people who joined a state-organised protest against PEGIDA on Saturday in Dresden and about 100,000 across Germany on Monday, the movement is openly racist.
“They are using a fear of Islam to put chauvinism and racism on the street,” said Michael Nattke of Dresden’s Culture Office.
Angela Merkel has condemned the movement using strong language calling its members racists”‘with hatred in their hearts.”
The debate has exposed divisions among her conservative supporters on how to tackle rising immigration. A new protest party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), is gaining ground as a result.
Xenophobia is also fed by the city’s low number of immigrants and disproportionately small Muslim population.
A poll last week showed that about 70 percent of non-Muslim Germans in Saxony feel threatened by Muslims.
A sharp rise in the number of immigrants and asylum seekers has fuelled a debate in Germany, as in other European countries, with some politicians calling for tighter immigration rules.
Although its asylum laws are among the most liberal in the western world, Germany has never become a genuine melting pot of cultures.
A PEGIDA march in Oslo this week attracted 200 people, although a counter demonstration drew 900. Next month, the group plans a march in Switzerland.