Because of an incident in the run-up to the Easter service in the Nidda town church (photo above), the State Security Service is investigating three as yet unknown perpetrators. They had allegedly drunkenly insulted churchgoers and shouted Islamic slogans. Although a police patrol arrived during the service, the perpetrators have not yet been identified.
Contrary to widespread belief, Easter, not Christmas, is the most important festival in Christianity. In this context, the Easter services on early Sunday morning have an outstanding significance. For the second year in a row, it is made difficult for the congregations to celebrate this most important service of the year.
In Nidda, it was at least possible for a limited number of churchgoers who had registered in advance to attend the beginning of Easter morning together in the church. But while the preparations were still underway, three young men apparently disturbed them so massively that the effects also overshadowed the service and the following hours.
First, according to a press release from the church congregation, two confirmation candidates who came to the church with their relatives noticed the three men who had come from the street Schlossgasse and settled down by the fountain. Shortly afterwards, they insulted another person attending the service.
Apparently, the young men were attracted to the upcoming service by the arriving visitors and the illuminated church, the congregation describes the further events. Two of them entered the church through the side entrance. They pointed their mobile phones at the worshippers and apparently filmed them. They also had bottles, presumably containing alcohol, with them.
Pastor Hanne Allmansberger asked the young men to leave the church because they were neither registered for the service, as Allmansberger explained to them, nor were they wearing a face mask. But instead of following the request, the disruptors repeatedly shouted “There is only one God, and that is Allah” and “Allah is the greatest”. They apparently continued to record the event.
Only when Pastor Allmansberger again energetically asked them to leave the church and in the meantime other visitors also got up and went to the side entrance through which the young men had come in, did they leave the church again. Together with the third young man who had been waiting outside the door, they left.
The children and young people in particular perceived the situation as threatening, the church congregation reported. But adult participants in the service were also very shocked by the incident. “The Easter Vigil service was overshadowed by the events, and the shock at the cross-border, inappropriate and threatening behaviour of the young men continued for some time. Fortunately, the service itself, as well as the other Easter services, passed without incident.” However, there were concerns that the troublemakers would come back later, perhaps during the service which started at 6am. Therefore, a visitor informed the police, who also arrived during the service. The press office of the Central Hesse police confirmed the incident and that the State Security Service had started an investigation into disturbance of the practice of religion. Witnesses are currently being questioned.
Mayor Hans-Peter Seum explained that he had not been informed about the incident by the police or the municipality so far. The Nidda police station had confirmed the events to him on request. The Protestant parish emphasises “that Christianity demands and also lives tolerance towards other religions. This must also be expected from people who belong to another religious community.”