Hawzah News Agency (Bavaria, Germany) – Led by a leaping girl in a short skirt, her arm raised triumphantly, five German teenagers are pictured smiling as they run down a brightly lit corridor. Beneath the group is a sinister demand: "Islam-free schools!"
These are the latest campaign posters from Germany's surging right-wing populist party: Alternative for Germany, or AfD. The posters, plastered across the southern German state of Bavaria ahead of next month’s elections, have predictably stoked outrage for their bluntly anti-Islam message, and come at a time when tensions over immigration are once again dominating the national spotlight in Germany.
Educators and politicians have condemned the new campaign as divisive and likely to stigmatize Muslim students.
“The terrible poster of the Bavarian AfD reminds me of the dark Nazi era when Jewish pupils were no longer allowed to attend German schools,” Katharina Schulze, candidate for the Bavarian Green Party, told “With this poster, the AfD divides our society and incites against Muslims in our country. That is intolerable.”
In Bavaria, the state’s teachers’ association has come out against the populist party’s latest campaign stunt, saying it undermined diversity in schools by sowing division between students of different cultures.
To make politics on the backs of foreign children in this election campaign, and to split society, this is very dangerous,” association president Simone Fleischmann told “I think it is outrageous that politics is being done using such slogans and propaganda.”
Fleischmann worries the AfD’s message encourages the ostracism of Muslim students, and risks encouraging the type of radicalization the AfD was supposedly concerned about.