World

Paris attack prompts concerns of anti-Islamist movement, far right gaining support in Europe

  • FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2015 file photo a participant of a rally called 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) holds a cross besides a German flag in front of the city hall tower during a demonstration in Dresden, Germany. The deadly shootings in Paris are prompting concerns in Europe that anti-Islamist movements and far-right parties may be able to harness the reaction to gain broader support, as many trumpeted a message of “I told you so” the day after the slaughter.  A post condemning the attack on the Facebook page used by organizers of the growing weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe quickly generated more than 10,000 “likes” and 1,500 comments.  (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2015 file photo a participant of a rally called 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) holds a cross besides a German flag in front of the city hall tower during a demonstration in Dresden, Germany. The deadly shootings in Paris are prompting concerns in Europe that anti-Islamist movements and far-right parties may be able to harness the reaction to gain broader support, as many trumpeted a message of “I told you so” the day after the slaughter. A post condemning the attack on the Facebook page used by organizers of the growing weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe quickly generated more than 10,000 “likes” and 1,500 comments. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo thousands of participants of a rally called 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) gather in Dresden, eastern Germany. The words at the banner read: 'Nonviolent and united against faith wars in Germany - Pegida'.  The deadly shootings in Paris are prompting concerns in Europe that anti-Islamist movements and far-right parties may be able to harness the reaction to gain broader support, as many trumpeted a message of “I told you so” the day after the slaughter.  A post condemning the attack on the Facebook page used by organizers of the growing weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe quickly generated more than 10,000 “likes” and 1,500 comments. .AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo thousands of participants of a rally called 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) gather in Dresden, eastern Germany. The words at the banner read: 'Nonviolent and united against faith wars in Germany - Pegida'. The deadly shootings in Paris are prompting concerns in Europe that anti-Islamist movements and far-right parties may be able to harness the reaction to gain broader support, as many trumpeted a message of “I told you so” the day after the slaughter. A post condemning the attack on the Facebook page used by organizers of the growing weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe quickly generated more than 10,000 “likes” and 1,500 comments. .AP Photo/Jens Meyer)  (The Associated Press)

The deadly shootings in Paris are prompting concerns that a fledgling anti-Islamist movement and far-right parties may be able to harness the reaction to gain support in Europe.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Thursday the way two right-wing parties and the PEGIDA movement are "trying to exploit this attack for their own purposes is disgusting."

Marches in Dresden by PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, have grown steadily over three months. Organizers were quick to comment on the attack, posting on the movement's Facebook page the killings were "grist for our mill."

PEGIDA marches outside Dresden have been small, with the numbers of supporters dwarfed by the numbers of counter-demonstrators. Austrian supporters of PEGIDA are now planning their first demonstration within the next month.