Firm ditches Pegida chief for anti-Islam views

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Max Hermansen has organized two Pegida marches in Oslo this year. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB scanpix
11:02 CET+01:00
Max Hermansen, the leader of the Norway branch of the anti-Islam movement Pegida, has been taken off the pay roll by a training organization because of his controversial views.

Hermansen, who has organized two Pegida demonstrations in Oslo this year, has been told he's no longer welcome to give a scheduled course at Opplæringskontoret, a privately-run apprenticeship training office in Oslo, it emerged on Friday.

The leader, who is also employed as a teacher at two public schools in Oslo, had been booked in to train apprentices working in the service and transport sectors.

“I have based this [decision] on the fact that Hermansen's view of Islam is not compatible with the training office’s values,” manager Charles Galaasen told TV2.

Hermansen expressed his surprise at the decision.

“This is quite bad, because I thought I would get this income this spring,” he told the TV channel.

However he does not appear to be disheartened and has declared that the demonstrations in Norway will continue weekly.

Pegida, which stands for Patriots Against the Islamization of the West, began in Germany in October 2014.

What began as a Facebook page between friends has since grown into a movement, with weekly marches in Germany drawing thousands of participants.

SEE ALSO: The rise and spread of Pegida - The Local Germany

However just 70 people showed up to take part in the latest march in Norway on Monday, with the group far outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. The march had gone ahead despite death threats made against the movement's organizers in Germany.

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On Thursday the movement suffered another blow when its German founder Lutz Bachmann resigned his leadership following widespread outrage over Facebook photos of him in an Adolf Hitler costume.

In a statement published on Pegida’s Facebook page on Wednesday, Bachmann said that he wanted to apologize “sincerely to all citizens who felt attacked by the posts”.

He added that the photo was an “ill-considered statement” he would no longer make today.

“I am sorry to have damaged the interests of our movement, and I am facing the consequences,” Bachmann wrote. 

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