Following the Islamist attack in Nice, there is only embarrassing silence within the German churches – Rather, one prefers to carry out a reversal of perpetrator and victim

It was a terrible deed, and it took place in a church: three people were murdered on Wednesday in the Catholic Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice – two women and the sexton. One of the two women was beheaded during prayer. The suspected perpetrator is a 21-year-old Tunisian who is believed to have come to Europe via Lampedusa in September 2019. Witnesses report that the man shouted “Allahu akbar” in the church. Even for hardened politicians and media consumers tired of the constant fire of the Corona news, such a crime is beyond human understanding. Barbaric killing methods, as known from the Islamic state, have finally arrived in France and thus in Europe. Nevertheless, routine consternation or repressed silence dominates in large sections of the public – also and especially in the churches.To be able to solve problems, you have to identify them. The churches are not prepared to do this. They take refuge in the vague, non-binding. Politicians have learned a lesson in that the mother of all rhetorical tranquillisers, the statement that Islamist attacks have nothing to do with Islam, is hardly heard today. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated the obvious and wrote: “Radical Islamism kills and must have no place in our society. The Berlin State Secretary with Palestinian roots, Sawsan Chebli, also became clear: “Phrases like ‘This has nothing to do with us’ must stop. Islamists murder in the name of Islam”. Against this background, the collective stammering of the churches emerges all the more embarrassing.The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing from Limburg, expressed his ” grief ” and ” horror ” and proclaimed a political morality in which there was no room for either the word “Islam” or the word “Catholic”: “Europe was and is a great project of peaceful coexistence. We must not allow this vision to be destroyed by assassination attempts”. Who the hell is “we”? And who has actually disturbed the peace? It was an Islamist who murdered Christian believers.Bätzing does not want to know anything about the general attack on his own religion and therefore plays it down.His colleague from Bamberg, Ludwig Schick, makes a bold step towards the reversal of perpetrators and victims when he states: “Without freedom of religion, human life is fundamentally damaged. Religions must also allow themselves freedom and tolerance. Insults to religions must be ruled out”. A Catholic bishop calls out to Christian murder victims that one should not insult Islam either. Does Schick see the beheaded woman as the understandable result of an insult to Islam of which someone has previously been guilty? With such a lunatic twist, the bishop is ultimately insulting the victims.If you look at the official websites of the churches on the Internet, you will learn little or nothing about the Christian brothers and sisters murdered in southern France. On the day of the assassination attempt, the diocese of Augsburg put a video online in which the children’s reporters Antonia and Marie interview the “climate protection manager of the diocese”. The current articles of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia are concerned with the collection bag at Christmas, the refugees on Lesbos and the dangers of conspiracy theories. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, President of the Council of the Evangelical Church, speaks of a senseless crime and a cowardly attack, as if he had fewer problems with meaningful crimes and courageous attacks. The murder, he says, “strikes at the core of all religions which work for peaceful coexistence”. From an Islamist assassination attempt on Christians, the theologian thus builds a bridge to any number of other religions, for example Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism. This is another way of covering up responsibility and putting the crime into perspective.Already in the case of the Islamist attack in Nice in 2016, when a man, also from Tunisia, killed almost ninety people, it was said from both the political and the church authorities that they were saddened and shocked and that they were on the side of the victims because it was an “attack on all of us”. Then as today, inconsequential cliches replace the precise naming. But problems do not disappear when they are rephrased. This is especially true in the case of Islamism, which has declared war on the West and murdered people.

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