Pegida
Supporters of the Pegida movement march with German flags at a weekly gathering in DresdenGetty

A Catholic priest has been banned from preaching after he took part in an anti-Islam protest in Germany.

The protest was organised by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida), which arranges marches throughout Germany against what is perceived as the country's "Islamisation".

Father Paul Spaetling had taken part in a rally in the western city of Duisburg on Monday (19 January), AP reported.

A few days later, the priest's dioceses in the city of Muenster said that it rejected Spaetling's views on Islam and that he is now banned from preaching and speaking on behalf of the church.

Pegida was created in October in retaliation to a plan to build 14 centres for roughly 2,000 refugees in Dresden and it has been criticised by many, who argue it is "dangerous" and could "tarnish Germany's reputation".

The organisation, which is drawing thousands of followers to its marches every week, has tried to distance itself from neo-Nazi groups in Germany.

However, the founder of the movement, Lutz Bachmann, has been strongly criticised after a picture showing him posing as Hitler started circulating.

Bachmann defended the photo as a "joke" for a new satirical novel about Hitler returning to modern Germany.

Germany: Anti-Islam Pegida protest rally draws record 25,000 in DresdenIBTimes UK

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