A Muslim group in Germany has been asked to voluntarily disassemble their information stand at a local Christmas market after a significant number of complaints about their presence were lodged at the local town hall.
Best known for mulled wine, beer by the stein, and pork sausages, the typical German Christmas market may not seem like the obvious place to establish a Muslim information booth. Yet in the picturesque tourist-friendly town of Rüdesheim on the Rhine the traditional association of Christmas markets with Christianity has been challenged.
Some locals have expressed their concern at the presence of the stall, while others yet have expressed their concern at their neighbours who object to the Islam and Pakistan information booth. While the town hall has no power to require the stall to be closed down, following the complaints and meetings with local police it has been decided the stand may constitute a security risk.
Members of the Ahmadiyya Islamic community who established the information booth at the market, and are generally considered heretical and made the target of persecution by mainstream Muslims who object to their liberal interpretation of the Koran, were invited at the weekend to visit the town hall. Local paper the Wiesbadener Tagblatt reports they were asked to voluntarily remove themselves from the market.
The paper reports the remarks of one local who said of the Islam information stand: “This does not belong at a Christmas market!”
The mayor of Rüdesheim, who made the invitation to the Muslim group to leave, said he had done so because he believed there was a “potential of danger” posed by “violent public reactions” to the presence at the Christmas market. The negative reaction by locals was one he clearly did not share, telling the paper: “I am absolutely amazed there is so much intolerance.”
Members of the Ahmadi Muslim sect are gaining attention across Europe for being members of a rare and persecuted group, noted for its peaceful outlook and approach to other religions and cultures. Considered apostates and deserving of death by some other Muslims, Ahmadi Muslim and Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah was murdered earlier this year by Muslim Tanveer Ahmed.
The Sunni Muslim taxi driver drove more than 200 miles to kill Mr. Shah, a man he’d never met, because he felt he’d disrespected “the Koran, the Prophet Muhammad, Allah, and Faith”.