AfD Bayern.jpg
Photograph: Photo by, used under CC BY-SA

The newest member of Germany's nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said Thursday that Islam was "less of a religion and more of a totalitarian movement," likening it to Nazism.

Nicolaus Fest, a journalist who left tabloid newspaper Bild in 2014 after coming under fire for an anti-Islam editorial he wrote, was speaking at a press conference Thursday to mark his debut at the AfD.

"We have to prevent the public exercise of this ideology," Fest said in Berlin.

"Just like I don't want to see swastikas or other Nazi symbols in public spaces, I do not want to see other symbols here that represent another totalitarian ideology," he said.

The use of Nazi symbols and slogans is illegal in Germany.

Fest, 54, left his role as deputy editor-in-chief at the tabloid's Bild am Sonntag Sunday edition in 2014 in response to criticism of an editorial in which he wrote that Islam was an impediment to the integration of immigrants in Germany.

In the article, Fest also referred to "disproportionate criminality among migrants with a Muslim background," and "Islam's contempt for women and homosexuals."

The ensuing controversy saw Fest's superiors at the newspaper distance themselves from the comments. Fest subsequently resigned citing his desire to pursue a career in freelance journalism.

The AfD launched as an anti-euro party in 2013, but has since seized on the refugee crisis and become increasingly focused on restricting immigration to Germany - particularly from Muslim-majority countries.

The AfD sits in 10 of Germany's 16 state parliaments and is likely to enter to Bundestag after next year's general election.

Latest news

Trump: I won't attend White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he does not plan to attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year.

US Democratic Party chooses Tom Perez to be next party chief

The US Democratic Party elected former labour secretary Tom Perez as its next party chief at a meeting in Atlanta on Saturday.

73-year-old man dies after car ramming in Germany

A 73-year-old male pedestrian died from his injuries after being run over when a car rammed into people in the south-western town of Heidelberg, police said Saturday.

Syrian government vows retribution for Homs attacks that killed 42

The Syrian government vowed retribution for synchronized attacks on Saturday in Homs City that left 42 security personnel dead and reportedly involved up to six suicide bombers.

Between 250,000 and 300,000 Croatians suffer from rare diseases

Rare Disease Day, observed on February 28, was marked in Zagreb's Cvjetni Trg Square on Saturday.

German police shoot man who rammed car into pedestrians in Heidelberg

Police in Germany shot a man who rammed a car into pedestrians in the south-western town of Heidelberg on Saturday.

Egypt's al-Sissi orders cabinet to help Christians fleeing Sinai

Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered the government on Saturday to take all necessary measures to help Christians who escaped northern Sinai after the Islamic State militia killed at least six of them over the past month.

SDP MP calls on citizens to raise their voice against restriction of women's rights

Josko Klisovic, a Social Democrat member of the Croatian parliament, on Saturday called on all Croatians to raise their voice against a policy turnaround on women's rights after Croatia took a conservative position in a discussion on human rights in the Council of the European Union.

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's aide of 22 years

An Egyptian court on Saturday acquitted one of ousted president Hosny Mubarak's closest aides, ruling he was not guilty of corruption and illicit profits.

EU ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin under 24-hour police protection

EU Ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin and her family have been given 24-hour armed police protection due to threats she has been receiving lately, the Austrian paper Der Standard said on Saturday, explaining that the threats were linked to Vlahutin's monitoring of a reform of Albania's judiciary designed to curb corruption in that country.

Italy deports two over suspected contact with Berlin attacker

Italy has deported two Tunisian asylum seekers who have been classed as a danger to national security, the Interior Ministry in Rome said on Saturday.

Croatian PM says HEP IPO most efficient model for INA buyout

Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic on Saturday commented on models for buying back Hungarian oil and gas company MOL's stake in INA, saying that an initial public offering of 25% of the HEP power company's shares to obtain funds for INA's buyout was "the most efficient, fastest, simplest and cleanest option with the fewest participants, which enables the state, which is the owner (of HEP), to control the process in its entirety."