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Far-right AfD uses Notre Dame fire for anti-Islam propaganda

AfD lawmaker Anton Friesen tried to exploit the Notre Dame fire to propagate the party's anti-Muslim narrative. "Worse would happen if we lose our religion and culture to Islam. The mosque of Notre Dame can soon be a reality faster than one may think," Friesen shared on the social media platforms following the huge fire engulfing Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15.

Germany's far-right politicians shared xenophobic conspiracies and provocative messages on social media following the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday.

Alice Weidel, co-chairwoman of far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), speculated on Twitter that the Notre Dame fire could be an attack targeting Christians, although French authorities ruled out arson or any terror-related motive.

Weidel claimed that in February alone 47 attacks were recorded in France that targeted Christians and their churches.

AfD lawmaker Anton Friesen tried to exploit the Notre Dame fire to propagate the party's anti-Muslim narrative.

"Worse would happen if we lose our religion and culture to Islam. The mosque of Notre Dame can soon be a reality faster than one may think," he tweeted.

The AfD's local branch in the western city of Solingen spread false information online soon after the fire, further stoking fear of Muslims and immigrants in Germany.

"Attacks against traditional symbols of Christianity would significantly increase in the coming years and we all know why! #NoIslam #Germany," the AfD's local branch posted on Facebook.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is the largest opposition party at the parliament, has intensified its anti-Islam rhetoric ahead of European Parliament elections in May.

Germany has witnessed growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants in recent years triggered by the propaganda of the AfD and other far-right parties, which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.

Police recorded 813 hate crimes against Muslims last year. At least 54 Muslims were injured in the attacks, which were carried out mostly by far-right extremists.

Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country's nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.

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