It is one of the most famous landmarks in Germany, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the third tallest church in the world. But it is much less its height than its architectural design that stands out in particular. The gothic style of the Cathedral is accentuated only more by the illumination at night. Today, however, nothing stands out more than the statement that the Cathedral of Cologne will make to speak out against racism and xenophobia.
As a reaction to Lutz Bachmann's announcement, according to which PEGIDA is planning to protest against the "Islamization of the occident" in Cologne, the cathedral will turn out its lights. "The Cathedral joins the countermovement of the comitted Colognians who made a very clear statement against xenophobia and racism", the homepage says. The founders of PEGIDA are being accused of collaborating with German right extremists. PEGIDA denies this.
Last week, while I was staying in Cologne, there was no trace of people who sympathize with PEGIDA at all. On the contrary, the cultural diversity and the harmonious co-existence are easily noticeable. "Terror has no religion", a German local stated while referring to islamophobic statements of some far right groups. In Cologne, where people with various cultural backgrounds live together, and where they are used to mutual tolerance, the protests will not be as big as it was the case in some eastern parts of Germany. Instead, counter-protests against PEGIDA are expected, which will most likely turn out to be even bigger than the PEGIDA protests in Cologne.