[Hoecke did not elaborate on how the AfD would legally ban the religion in Germany and other European countries as leaders in German politics. (Reuters Image)]
Berlin: A senior member of the anti-Islam, right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) vowed that once the party comes in power, they will ban Islam starting from the Bosporus in Istanbul - the exact point where the European continent begins.
"Once we come into power, we will enforce what is necessary for us to live our lives freely. We will issue the directive that after crossing the Bosporus, the three great: Mohammed, Muezzin, and minaret, are over, dear friends!", speaking to his AfD supporters on Saturday in Germany's Eisleben, Bjoern Hoecke said.
Hoecke also said Muslims were lovers of war.
"That's why we have to take Islam seriously as a threat," he said.
He further claimed, in his one-hour speech cheered by the crowd, that he was not an enemy of Islam and he was "actually tolerant;" however, Islam did not belong to Europe.
Hoecke did not elaborate on how the AfD would legally ban the religion in Germany and other European countries as leaders in German politics.
Hoecke's outrageous assertion came days after one of his senior colleagues Arthur Wagner converted to Islam and decided to quit AfD. Wagner was working with Muslim refugees and it was there his views of Islam changed.
Earlier in January 2017, Hoecke scandalized the European country when he attacked the monument commemorating the mass murder of Jews and said Germans should be more "positive" about their Nazi past.
"Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of their capital," he told supporters in Dresden at the time.
In a country that has long struggled to deal with its collective guilt over the Nazi era and the Holocaust, the taboo-breaking new extremists have reawakened deep fears about rising xenophobia and race hate.
Berlin daily Tagesspiegel said, "The worst thing is that the more AfD officials say such things, the more quickly they become normal. The outrage wears off, and at some point, there will no longer be an outcry."
Robert Vehrkampf of think-tank the Bertelsmann Foundation called the AfD a generally right-wing populist party that "breaks taboos in a calculated way to reach right-wing extremist voters."
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