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Thousands Turn Out for Anti-Muslim March in Germany

Members of BAERGIDA, Berlin's section of anti-immigration movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) demonstrate in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, Germany, Jan. 12, 2015.

A weekly anti-Islam march in the German city of Dresden attracted its biggest ever crowd Monday in what its organizers say was a tribute to the French terror victims.

At least 25,000 turned out for the rally sponsored by a group calling itself Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West ( PEGIDA ).
Some marchers held up signs denouncing Islam, foreigners, and multiculturalism.

Anti-Islam rallies were held in other German cities Monday, attracting much smaller crowds and also counter-protests.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas condemned PEGIDA for exploiting the French terror strikes to promote xenophobia.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who attended the huge anti-terrorism rally in Paris Sunday, declared Monday that "Islam belongs to Germany."

Merkel and several Cabinet members plan to attend a vigil at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate Tuesday organized by Germany's Central Council of Muslims.

She said the vigil will send “a very strong message” that "Germany wants peaceful co-existence between all religions.

Some information in this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.