Pegida rally Germany 5 January 2015
A Pegida rally in Dresden held on January 5 attracted 18,000 marchersFabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Thousands are expected to attend a rally to be held by the German anti-Islam movement Pegida on Monday, 12 January, in response to murder of journalists from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hesbo by alleged Islamist terrorists.

Those attending Monday's rally in Dresden are asked to wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence for "the victims of terrorism in Paris", reports AFP.

In recent months rallies organised by Pergida – Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West – have drawn upto 18,000 people, but observers believe that Monday's rally could be even bigger.

In Facebook posting, Pegida claimed that Wednesday's attack validated its anti-Islamic stance.

"The Islamists, against whom Pegida has been warning over the last 12 weeks, showed in France today that they are not capable of (practicing) democracy but instead see violence and death as the solution," Pegida wrote on its Facebook page.

"Our political leaders want us to believe the opposite is true," the group added. "Does a tragedy like this first have to happen in Germany?"

The group's opponents claim that it is xenophobic and racist, and in her New Year address German chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Pegida's leaders have "prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts".

Officials warned that the Paris attacks could result in a boost in support for Pegida, with supporters setting up spin-off groups as far as Austria and Sweden.

"There will be people who have stayed home so far and who will say: 'Look at what happened right in the heart of Europe, in Paris. This is not Baghdad or Sanaa. This will be emulated by others.'", Victor Vincze, a senior Dresden official on immigrants affairs said.

In cities outside Dresden, counterdemonstrators matched or outnumbered Pegida supporters, with 5,000 anti-racism demonstrators blocking the path of Pegida supporters into central Berlin recently.

In Cologne, the Cathedral's lights were turned off as a warning to Pegida sympathisers at a rally in the city that they were supporting "extremists".