An MP for the Alternative for Germany has founded a new group for migrants inside the hard-right party in an effort to rid it of its reputation for xenophobia.
But a pledge to pursue “the complete de-Islamization of Germany” is unlikely to win over skeptics.
Anton Friesen, an MP for the AfD from the east German state of Thuringia, said he was setting up the “New Germans” organization to give a platform to migrants who are also patriotic Germans.
Among the other founding members are Alexander Tassis, a member of the Bremen city senate whose family is Greek, and Laleh Hadjimohamadvali an AfD politician of Iranian heritage. Enthusiasm for the new organization appeared muted at its first meeting in Frankfurt on Saturday, with only ten people turning up, according to local newspaper reports.
The manifesto of the New Germans suggests that it is more open to some types of immigrant than others. It states that it wants to gather together immigrants who seek to protect German culture and language.
But it also calls for “the complete de-Islamization of Germany” and for the prevention of “a parallel Muslim society.”
Mr Friesen was born in Kazakhstan and moved to Germany at the age of nine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He is one of 2.3 million so-called Russlanddeutsche – Germans whose forefathers migrated to the Russian empire in the 18th and 19th centuries before suffering persecution at the hands of the Soviets.