A German-born man of Turkish background, called “a model of Turkish integration,” may be stripped of his title as shooting champion in the German town of Werl because he is not a Christian.
According to a report in the Westfälische Anzeiger newspaper, Mithat Gedik has been asked to return his title of Schützenkönig (“marksman king”), which he won on July 18th, by the Historic German Shooting Federation (BHDS), an umbrella organisation overseeing Germany’s shooting clubs of which Gedik’s is one.
Rolf Nieborg, a spokesman for the BHDS, said that the local shooting club’s statute states that it is an “association of Christian people.”
“No one has probably asked him about his religion because he is so well integrated,” Nieborg said. “They made a mistake and should correct it. They could ask him to abdicate.”
Gedik has lived for eight years with his German wife and four children in Sönnern, near Werl in North Rhine-Westphalia. He works for a Mannheim-based company, is a volunteer fireman, sits on the board of his local shooting club and studied Catholicism at school.
According to The Local he is “a model of Turkish integration, but his new title has unleashed a wave of debate about integration and tolerance in Germany.”
Gedik said: “It is completely incomprehensible to me that we are having such a debate in the 21st Century. We didn’t want to provoke anyone, we just wanted to celebrate a wonderful shooting festival.”
Members of the local shooting association could join the Sauerland Shooting Federation instead whose rules allow non-Christians to be members.