A German mayor and member of Angela Merkel’s conservative party has been forced to apologise after posting a picture of a cucumber which looks like an Islamic burka on Facebook.
The image was captioned ‘Gurka’ – a play on the German word ‘gurke’, meaning cucumber.
“It was a humorous post, no more, no less. Perhaps the timing of the post yesterday was unfortunate. But I still find it amusing,” insisted Mayor Simone Stein-Luecke (pictured left).
The head of the Bad Godesberg municipal district, in the former West German capital of Bonn, happened to post the satirical image on the same day a Saudi-funded school accused of supporting jihad in the area was closed.
The Christian Democratic Union politician was quick to praise Islam and insist the King Fahad Academy had many positive qualities when she was attacked on Facebook.
“I respect every religion. But I have always stressed that I am opposed to a full-face veil,” she wrote.
Continuing, in reference to the school: “Despite all frictions in the past, it is an integral part of our social and cultural life. Since I have been in office, I have guided a critical and constructive dialogue with the academy.”
The school, with an attached mosque, opened in 1995 and is thought to have 150 Arabic-speaking students. A strict version of the Saudi Wahhabi curriculum was taught there for more than ten years.
However, in 2003, a documentary special about the school linked it with extremism and claimed one of the teachers was preparing students for jihad.
Later that year, local government obtained copies of the textbooks from the school attacking Christians and Jews; North Rhine-Westphalia regional commissioner Jürgen Roters said that he wanted to close the school.
A “compromise” between German officials and the school is reported to have kept it open, whereby the mosque became closed to the general public and German citizens were barred from attending the school.
Nationalist protests were held outside the school, and in 2013, the Saudi government announced they would be funding an even bigger school in Berlin with plans for an entire Saudi district surrounding it.
At the end of this month, the school in Bonn said it would close, because, they said, Germany is viewed as having “one of the best education systems worldwide” and the Saudi government sees no further need for the school.