Europe

German nationalist party takes aim at Islam

  • Frauke Petry, center, chairwoman of  the AfD party, Alternative for Germany, attends a joint news conference after a meeting with members of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    Frauke Petry, center, chairwoman of the AfD party, Alternative for Germany, attends a joint news conference after a meeting with members of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chairwoman of the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany , AfD,  Frauke Petry, right, and the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany  Aiman Mazyek , left, shake hands at the start of the meeting in Berlin, Germany, Monday May 23,  2016.   (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

    Chairwoman of the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany , AfD, Frauke Petry, right, and the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany Aiman Mazyek , left, shake hands at the start of the meeting in Berlin,¬†Germany, Monday May 23, 2016. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Frauke Petry,  second  from left, chairwoman of the right-wing populist party AfD, Alternative for Germany, discusses with other members of the party in a corridor of a hotel after a meeting with members of the Central Committee of Muslims in Germany, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    Frauke Petry, second from left, chairwoman of the right-wing populist party AfD, Alternative for Germany, discusses with other members of the party in a corridor of a hotel after a meeting with members of the Central Committee of Muslims in Germany, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)  (The Associated Press)

A surging German nationalist party has sharpened its rhetoric against prominent Islamic groups and is suggesting limiting the religious freedom of more than 4 million Muslims in the country.

Senior members of Alternative for Germany cut short a meeting Monday with the Central Council of Muslims, accusing the group of failing to renounce religious beliefs that clash with the German constitution.

Party co-leader Frauke Petry told reporters that "Islam, the way it is mostly practiced, doesn't belong in a democratic Germany."

Aiman Mazyek, chairman of Central Council of Muslims, said AfD's stance was reminiscent of Germany's dark Nazi past.

The party launched a campaign last week against the construction of a mosque in the eastern city of Erfurt, joining forces for the first time with the anti-Islam group PEGIDA.