Only recently, the “Award for Courage and Understanding” was awarded to Pinar and Ender Çetin and other initiatives that have taken up the cause against racist violence in an exemplary way. Now Pinar Çetin, chairperson of the board of the German Islam Academy, and her husband Ender Çetin – a prison chaplain, imam and former community leader of the Neukölln Sehitlik Mosque – have given back the award. The background is allegations by the Cologne lawyer Ilias Uyar that Pinar Çetin had denied that there was genocide against the Armenians in the past.
“She has publicly appeared together with genocide deniers and has given speeches at a rally against the alleged ‘Armenian lie’ of the genocide,” reads a letter from Uyar to the members of the “Alliance for Courage and Understanding”.
Pinar Çetin had also condemned the Bundestag’s resolution recognising the Armenian genocide by calling it a defamation of Turkey.Pinar Çetin was honoured together with her husband Ender for their “long-standing, innovative and humorous commitment to intercultural and interreligious dialogue, their courageous, exemplary commitment to creating solutions even in conflicts, and for their passionate commitment against stereotypes and prejudices”.Katarina Niewiedzial, jury member and Berlin’s Commissioner for Integration and Migration, made it clear that the genocide of the Armenians is an indisputable crime.
The jury of the ” Award for Courage and Understanding” first learned about Pinar Çetin’s statements in February and then convened a special meeting. In a conversation with the jury, Pinar Çetin was able to “make it credible” that “she had changed her views in the course of a critical reflection process”, says the Integration Commissioner Niewiedzial.
“She made mistakes and is drawing the consequences from them,” Pinar Çetin had said in the meeting. “The selection of Pinar Çetin as a laureate was made in view of her current work in the intercultural and interreligious field with the German Islam Academy in recent years and in ignorance of her statements on the Armenia resolution,” Katarina Niewiedzial emphasised.At the same time, she announced that she would “adjust the decision-making practice of awarding prizes”.