The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on Monday trashed demonstrators in Germany for protesting against Islamic extremism, proclaiming they possessed an “anti-Muslim prejudice” that’s “on the rise in Europe.”
Reporting from Dresden, Germany, CBS News senior foreign correspondent Mark Phillips stated that the demonstrators chanted “we are the people” not to bring attention to “a society being united” but rather as “a chant of exclusion.”
Referring to protesters as “anti-immigrant,” Phillips summarized the 25,000 participants as being “part of a movement protesting what they see as the threat to German culture from rising numbers of Muslim immigrants to their country.”
Phillips also chided them for continuing on with their protest this week and not respecting those who died in Paris last week: “There were calls for this demonstration to be canceled. Passions were running too high it was said, and out of deference to the victims in Paris, but it went ahead anyway, and it was big.”
In wrapping up his story, Phillips moved from bashing the protesters to assuring viewers that their comparative size to “pro-immigration demonstrators” was small:
The police estimate the crowd here, tonight, was 25,000, which would make this the biggest of the anti-immigrant demonstrations so far, but still smaller than the numbers of pro-immigration demonstrators who have been out on the streets across Germany. This is a battle of ideas, Scott, but it's also a battle of numbers.
At no point in his two-minute-and-45-second report did Phillips bring up the attempted spread of Sharia Law in Germany and the type of censorship and lack of free speech that exists in Arab nations.
In September, a group of men in the town of Wuppertal wearing jackets that read “Shariah Police” were found to be patrolling the streets and attempting to enforce the strict Islamic legal system known as Sharia Law. The men wandered near nightclubs and casinos and tried to force patrons from drinking alcohol and gambling.
The men behind the group were part of the Salafist movement in Germany who, according to Deustche Welle, pushed for “a strict Sunni interpretation of political Islam.”
Along with Sharia Law, many predominantly Arab nations do not allow for the freedom of speech or expression compared to western nations. For example, a cartoonist in Saudi Arabia was sentenced on Friday to ten years in prison and 50 lashings each Friday for the next 20 weeks for insulting Islam and setting up a forum-based website that allowed for free expression.
The transcript of the segment that aired on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on January 12 can be found below.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
January 12, 2015
6:38 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Anti-Muslim Backlash]
SCOTT PELLEY: Long before these attacks, anti-Muslim prejudice was on the rise in Europe, and today there was an anti-Islamic rally in Dresden, Germany, where we find Mark Phillips.
[MARCHERS CHANTING IN GERMAN]
MARK PHILLIPS: “We are the people,” they chant, but this isn't a chant about a society being united, it's a chant of exclusion. They’re part of a movement protesting what they see as the threat to German culture from rising numbers of Muslim immigrants to their country. Chancellor Angela Merkel may have said Islam is part of Germany now, but not to these people. They point to the events in France as justification. Felix Menzel runs a right-wing magazine that supports the anti-immigrant cause. [TO MENZEL] Is there an “I told you so” quality to this?
FELIX MENZEL: Yes. It's a scenario that they spoke about in the last week.
PHILLIPS: The weekly demonstrations have grown over the past months from a few hundred to somewhere around 20,000, but so has opposition to them.
COUNTER-PROTESTERS [in unison]: Say it loud. Say it clear. Refugees are welcome here!
PHILLIPS: Other demonstrators, saying Germany should welcome Muslim refugees, tried to block the path of the anti-immigrant marchers, but the marchers simply moved around them. There were calls for this demonstration to be canceled. Passions were running too high it was said, and out of deference to the victims in Paris, but it went ahead anyway, and it was big, but the marchers' sentiments are misguided says Werner Patzelt of Dresden University.
DRESDEN UNIVERSITY’S WERNER PATZELT: They’re stirring up quite undelicious opinions and feelings.
PHILLIPS [TO PATZELT]: Ugly is what you're trying to say?
PATZELT: Well, ugly is perhaps the proper expression for what can be seen and felt.
PHILLIPS: The police estimate the crowd here, tonight, was 25,000, which would make this the biggest of the anti-immigrant demonstrations so far, but still smaller than the numbers of pro-immigration demonstrators who have been out on the streets across Germany. This is a battle of ideas, Scott, but it's also a battle of numbers.
PELLEY: Mark Phillips in Dresden for us tonight. Mark, thank you.