Three months after landing in Quebec, controversial European movement PEGIDA is set to host its first rally this weekend in Montreal.
The event, announced on the group's Facebook page, is expected to begin Saturday at 4 p.m. on the outer edge of Little Maghreb, a section of Villeray–St-Michel–Parc-Extension that is home to a large number of the city's Muslim businesses and residents. From there, the marchers will reportedly head south and stop outside the Islamic centre run by Adil Charkaoui, a local educator who fights against Islamophobia and was once accused by the federal government of being a terrorist.
PEGIDA — a German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West — has brought thousands into the streets of various European cities with its anti-Islamic message. The group, formed last year, opposes what it perceives as the Islamization of western countries and a subsequent erosion of western values. PEGIDA rallies have frequently been countered by opposing demonstrations in England, Germany and France, and a counter-rally is taking shape for Saturday in Montreal. The group organizing that event, Action Antifasciste Mtl, has stated it will not be granting any media interviews.