Over the past several months Germany has seen a growing number of anti-Islam protests in its major cities, with organizers seeking to protect the country’s “Judeo-Christian culture”, but when protestors assembled in the city of Cologne on Monday, one of Germany’s most prominent Catholic churches took a stand against the hate.
As Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) demonstrators marched past the Cologne Cathedral, they found the iconic landmark unlit in the night. “By switching off the floodlighting we want to make those on the march stop and think,” Cathedral Dean Norbert Feldhoff explained to Reuters.
In an interview with CNN, Cologne Cathedral Provost Norbert Feldhoff added that the “High Cathedral will not be a backdrop for this demonstration,” and that the outdoor lighting would remain off during the duration of the march, hoping to be a “highly visible protest against xenophobia, racism and exclusion.”
The Cologne Cathedral is among a larger counter-movement against PEGIDA that has formed, including several other religious organizations. Christian leaders have been urging their members to show compassion, not hate, towards the growing number of Muslim refugees in Germany.
Despite the increased opposition, the number of PEGIDA supporters is still strong and growing. According to a poll released last week, if an anti-Islam protest was organized in their hometown, 1 in 8 Germans would join in. Statements, like that made by the Cologne Cathedral, though are a step in the right direction.