[This article first appeared in the Nov. 2 edition of National Review Online.]
A new German political party, Die Freiheit (The Freedom), had its inaugural meeting on October 28 in Berlin. I was in town, so its leadership invited me to be the only non-member of the nascent party to witness and report on its founding constituent assembly.
As a reminder of how freedoms have eroded in Europe in this age of Islamist terror, a political party that resists Islamization and supports Israel cannot come into existence in broad daylight. So, like the other 50-plus attendees, I learned of the event’s time and location only shortly before it took place. For good measure, the organizers operated undercover; the hotel management only knew of a board election for an innocuously named company. Even now, for security reasons, I cannot mention the hotel’s name.
Much of the time was taken up with the legalisms required to register a political party in Germany: attendance was taken, votes counted, organizational procedures explained, steps enumerated to contest Berlin elections in September 2011, and officers elected, including the chairman, René Stadtkewitz, 45. Of East German background, he is a member of the Berlin parliament who belonged to the ruling conservative Christian Democratic Union party until his expulsion a month ago for publicly hosting the Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
For me, of chief interest was his oral summary of party policies plus the distribution of a 71-page Grundsatzprogramm (“Basic Program”) setting out party positions in detail. Stadtkewitz explained the need for a new German party on the grounds that “The established parties, unfortunately, are not ready to take a clear stand but instead abandon the people to their concerns.” The program neither minces words nor thinks small. Its opening sentence declares that “Western civilization, for centuries a world leader, faces an existential crisis.”
The new party, whose slogan is “the party for more freedom and democracy,” speaks candidly about Islam, Islamism, Islamic law, and Islamization. Starting with the insight that “Islam is not just a religion but also a political ideology with its own legal system,” the party calls for scrutiny of imams, mosques, and Islamic schools, for a review of Islamic organizations to ensure their compliance with German laws, and condemns efforts to build a parallel legal structure based on the Shari’a. Its analysis forcefully concludes: “We oppose with all our force the Islamization of our country.”
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