Amid all the issues that divide Germany and its Muslims – from women’s rights to the teaching of Islam in schools – there was one point on which all 30 participants in a landmark Islamic conference held here Wednesday could agree, according to its organizer.
They would like to see the Deutsche Oper of Berlin reinstate the Mozart opera it canceled this week after receiving an anonymous threat that the production, which features a scene with the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad, could put the opera house at risk.
The 30 representatives, drawn equally from the German government and its Muslim population, could even go see the opera together, said Wolfgang Schäuble, the interior minister, who organized and led the conference in an 18th-century baroque palace.
That’s what the government says. Here’s what one of the Muslim spokesmen present had to say:
“There was general agreement that we would like to see the opera come back,” said Mehmet Yildirim, general secretary of the Turkish-Islamic Union. “But there were different perspectives on the issue.”
He said that while the atmosphere on Wednesday was positive, he was less sure that Germany and its Muslim population would be able to work together over a period of years to solve their more basic differences.
Anyone else been watching Fox today? They’ve run video of the controversial scene with the four decapitated religious icons several times — but they always seem to cut away before Mohammed’s head appears onscreen. I’ve seen the Buddha head, the Jesus head, and the Poseidon head, but no Mohammed. Did I just miss that when they ran it or is something more cowardly at work here?
If so, it wouldn’t be the first time.