Thursday, May 21, 2015
No Joke: German Satirist Who Sends Up Islam Can be Called A Hate Preacher, Court Rules
by Donna Rachel Edmunds
A German court has ruled that a comedian and satirist who jokes about Islam can be called a “preacher of hate.” Dieter Nuhr has made a name for himself in Germany with his satirical take on Islam. Jokes such as “In Islam, a woman is free, but free primarily of having to decide anything,” and “If you did not know that the Qur’an is the word of God, you’d think a man had written it” have provoked a debate in Germany over what constitutes satire and what is blasphemy.
But for Erhat Toka, a Muslim from Osnabrück, the distinction was clear: he branded Nuhr a hate preacher, shared clips of Nuhr’s satirical jibes at Islam on social media, and organised protests outside his shows, the Local has reported.
Nuhr consequently took Toka to court, arguing before the state court in Stuttgart that Toka shouldn’t be allowed to call him a “preacher of hate” in online comments, and appealing for a warning and injunction against Toka.
The court disagreed. A court spokesman has said that the words “hate preacher” were covered by Freedom of Speech rules and rejected the applications.
However, they did uphold a request to place restrictions on an image that Toka had created showing Nuhr’s face superimposed on a stop sign. Toka must desist in using the image or face a fine.
This is not the first time the two men have had a run in over Nuhr’s work. Last October Toka filed a complaint against Nuhr, accusing him of abusing religious communities. In response, Nuhr said that it bothers him “when a Salafist thinks I shouldn’t be able to make jokes about him and his behavior, just because he holds a particular religious belief. I find that ridiculous. I believe that tolerance is necessary, as is satire.”
Following the Charlie Hebdo attack in January, he told the Frantfurter Allgemeine “Fact: You can do any joke you like about Nazis, the Pope, medicinal ideologies and religions, only Islam stops it.”