Bavaria’s Interior Ministry announced April 12, 2013, that the provincial Office of Constitutional Protection (Verfassungsschutz) will monitor local chapters of the website Politically Incorrect (PI) and the small conservative Freedom Party (Die Freiheit). As reported in the media, Bavaria is the first province in Germany to take this step, an important German milestone in ostracizing criticism and/or condemnation of Islam.
As the ministry website explains, the Federal Republic of Germany is a “militant democracy [wehrhafteDemokratie].” The Verfassungsschutz hereby functions as an “early warning system” against threats to a free society. Verfassungsschutz offices at the federal and provincial levels “observe anti-constitutional efforts” (including with secret surveillance) across the political spectrum and report to authorities and the public.
The press release announcing the decision stated that a “hostility to Islam had developed outside of rightwing extremism that was significant for the Verfassungsschutz.” The press release thereby focused on the provincial chapter of Die Freiheit that “consisted, among others, of the hardcore of the local Munich PI group.” The “central leadership person” here was Michael Stürzenberger, the spokesman of the PI group and provincial Die Freiheit chairman since early 2012.The objective of these groups, Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann accused, was “to stoke general fears of Muslims and to defame them on the basis of their faith as enemies of a society of law. Freedom of religion, human dignity, and the principle of equal treatment as core elements of our underlying free democratic order are thereby harmed.”