HEARD the one about a Jew, a Catholic, a Lutheran and a Muslim who won an inter-faith cultural award in Germany?
“Oi vey, this is indeed a great honour,” said the Jew.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God,” said the Catholic.
“Praise be to Jesus,” said the Lutheran.
“AllÄhu Akbar,” said the Muslim – but grumpily added “Bollocks to the infidel!” when he was informed by the judges in the German state of Hesse that he’d been disqualified.
The reason? Co-winners Catholic Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz and Peter Steinacker, former head of the Lutheran church of Hesse and Nassau, objected to sharing the prize with Kermani after the Muslim wrote that the crucifix was “an idolatrous image”.
The fourth recipient, Jewish leader Salomon Korn, according to this report, appears to have remained schtum.
Kermani had begun an article about the crucifix with:
I’d express my personal rejection of the theology of the cross frankly with ‘blasphemy and idolatry’.
The Hesse judges then wrote to Kermani withdrawing its offer of the prize to him.
The speaker of Germany’s Parliament, Norbert Lammert, slammed the board’s turnabout, saying:
If this is true, they should abolish the prize altogether. … Culture is nice, tolerance too, but one can’t have both without making a big effort.
The Central Council of Muslims, one of four national Islamic groups in Germany, described the churchmen’s reaction as “childish”.
Aiman A Mazyek, secretary of the council, to the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel, said:
How would they have felt if a Muslim had refused to meet a churchman because he did not revere the Prophet Mohammed?