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Germany: Catholic priest muzzled for speaking at anti-Islam protest as further rallies planned

  • FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2015 file photo organizer Lutz Bachmann, speaks during  a news conference of the group 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) in Dresden, Germany. The leader of a German organization against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe, which has taken pains to distance itself from neo-Nazi groups, provoked a firestorm Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 after a picture surfaced showing him with a Hitler mustache and hair combed over like the Fuehrer.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2015 file photo organizer Lutz Bachmann, speaks during a news conference of the group 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) in Dresden, Germany. The leader of a German organization against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe, which has taken pains to distance itself from neo-Nazi groups, provoked a firestorm Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 after a picture surfaced showing him with a Hitler mustache and hair combed over like the Fuehrer. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo the chairman of Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, delivers a speech during a rally of the 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) in Dresden, eastern Germany.  The leader of a German organization against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe, which has taken pains to distance itself from neo-Nazi groups, provoked a firestorm Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 after a picture surfaced showing him with a Hitler mustache and hair combed over like the Fuehrer. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo the chairman of Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, delivers a speech during a rally of the 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West' (PEGIDA) in Dresden, eastern Germany. The leader of a German organization against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe, which has taken pains to distance itself from neo-Nazi groups, provoked a firestorm Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 after a picture surfaced showing him with a Hitler mustache and hair combed over like the Fuehrer. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)  (The Associated Press)

  • A graffiti against a demonstration of Leipzig's Europeans against the Islamization of the West (LEGIDA), a group linked with the PEGIDA movement, is painted on the pavement prior to the protest in Leipzig, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    A graffiti against a demonstration of Leipzig's Europeans against the Islamization of the West (LEGIDA), a group linked with the PEGIDA movement, is painted on the pavement prior to the protest in Leipzig, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)  (The Associated Press)

A Catholic priest in Germany has been banned from preaching after speaking at an anti-Islam protest.

Father Paul Spaetling had taken part in a rally in the western city of Duisburg on Monday. It was organized by a group that associates itself with the organization Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, which has staged large weekly rallies in Dresden for about three months.

The diocese of Muenster said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that it rejected Spaetling's comments about Islam.

The bishop of Muenster, Felix Genn, says he's withdrawing Spaetling's right to preach or speak on behalf of the church.

Another PEGIDA-related group is planning to hold a protest in Leipzig late Wednesday, saying it expects tens of thousands to attend.