Iran Pushes for German Anti-Islam Congress to be Banned | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 04.09.2008
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Iran Pushes for German Anti-Islam Congress to be Banned

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has held talks with the French embassy, urging France, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, to ban an anti-Islam conference scheduled in Cologne later this month.

Demonstrators against the planned mosque in Cologne hold up signs

Many in Cologne oppose the building of a new mosque

Iran called on the French presidency of the European Union on Wednesday to prevent an "anti-Islamic congress" of right-wing groups from taking place in Germany later this month.

Iran's official IRNA news agency said the French charge d'affaires in Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry's human rights department to discuss the Islamic Republic's concern about a perceived "growth in anti-Islam," said a Reuters report.

"Specifically, Iran asked the rotating head of the EU to prevent the formation of an anti-Islamic congress in Cologne in Germany by making responsible decisions," IRNA said.

The agency reported that the French charge d'affaires said France condemned any kind of racism or anti-Islamic action and promised to follow up the issue and respond to the Foreign Ministry.

A protest against Muslims

A banner that reads Pro Cologne are Nazis

"Pro Cologne" are Nazis, reads this banner

The event is being organized by the far-right grassroots movements "pro Cologne" and "pro NRW" (North Rhine Westphalia).

The congress Web site says the meeting is supported by German right-wing groups, as well as by Belgium's Vlaams Belang and Austria's Freedom Party (FPOe). Far-right French politician Jean Marie Le Pen of the National Front has allegedly also announced he will attend.

The rally has been billed as a protest against "Islam terror in Europe, Muslim parallel societies and ghettos in our cities," as well as the controversial building of a new mosque in Cologne.

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