German Chancellor Angela Merkel and most of the country's top officials are set to join a Berlin rally, organized by Muslim leaders, on Tuesday for an "open and tolerant Germany," Agence France-Presse reported, citing Georg Streiter, a government spokesperson, as saying, on Monday.
The event is scheduled to take place at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Merkel will attend it along with German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and other top officials.
The Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) had planned anti-Islam rallies on Monday in Dresden after last week's attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Pegida, which has been conducting rallies every week since October last year, saw the attendance of at least 18,000 people last week. The protests have been a cause of concern for Germany's Turkish community, the largest immigrant population in the country.
"This newly emerged Pegida movement had always existed in German society, and foreigners - as they call us - from various cultures and ethnicities, especially from Muslim backgrounds, have always faced this type of discrimination and racism," Sirin Manolya Sak, a 29-year-old German-Turkish woman from Berlin, said, according to BBC, adding that the group is a threat to multiculturalism.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who attended Sunday's unity march in Paris, condemned the deadly attacks in France and also denounced violence against Muslims.
“It is a message to the whole world that everyone must confront the threat of terror,” Davutoglu said, according to Russia Today, adding: “We would expect the same sensitivities to be shown to attacks on mosques or Islamophobia.”
German ministers have condemned the Pegida rallies. On Sunday, German Justice Minister Heiko Mass called for the cancelation of the marches.
"The victims (of the Paris attacks) do not deserve to be misused by such agitators," Mass said, according to Deutsche Welle.
Mass said, according to The Associated Press, that it is "simply disgusting" that the organizers are commemorating the victims from last week’s attacks, who they have been referring to as "lying journalists."
Counter-protests against Pegida were also organized on Saturday in Dresden in which about 35,000 people participated.
Christian Social Union, the coalition partner of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has also asked Pegida to stop its rallies. "I want to request those responsible…that they cancel their demonstrations for the foreseeable future, especially at a time when the whole world is shocked about the events in Paris," Horst Seehofer, the union's head, said in an interview with ARD, a local news network, according to Deutsche Welle.