Germany's controversial far-right party Alternative für Deutschland has passed an "anti-Islam" manifesto at its delegate conference calling for a ban on minarets, the Muslim call to prayer and burkas.
The 1,700-page manifesto declares Islam incompatible with Germany's constitution. The three-year-old AfD anti-immigration party — buoyed to new heights of popularity by the refugee crisis — decided on the extreme platform to serve as its key campaign position as it prepares for the 2017 general election.
"Islam is foreign to us and for that reason it cannot invoke the principle of religious freedom to the same degree as Christianity," AfD politician from Saxony-Anhalt Hans-Thomas Tillschneider declared to the loud cheers and applause from the 2,000 delegates, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The section of the manifesto on the Muslim faith was titled "Islam is not a part of Germany." A call from one delegate for more tolerance was met with boos, reported the BBC.
The manifesto vote followed a demonstration against the party the previous days in Stuttgart where protesters hurled rocks and fireworks in an attempt to stop AfD members from attending the party conference. Some 400 protesters were arrested.
Hackers since published the addresses of 2,000 AfD members on a left-wing web site. The party currently has no representation in the federal parliament in Berlin but has members in half of Germany's 16 regional state assemblies. Last week, an AfD member was appointed Berlin's state prosecutor.
AFD is supported by up to 14% of German voters, according to recent polls, making the party a potential force to be reckoned with for Angela Merkel's conservatives and for other parties in the run-up to the 2017 federal election.
Germany is home to nearly 4 million Muslims, who make up about 5% of the population. The head of Germany's Central Council of Muslims recently compared the party's stance toward Muslims as that of the Nazis toward Jews.