German aims to read Satanic Verses in mosque

11th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 July 2007, Cologne, Germany (dpa) - A maverick German book author said Wednesday he wants to read aloud inside a mosque from The Satanic Verses, the 1988 novel by Salman Rushdie which some Muslims consider blasphemous.

11 July 2007

Cologne, Germany (dpa) - A maverick German book author said Wednesday he wants to read aloud inside a mosque from The Satanic Verses, the 1988 novel by Salman Rushdie which some Muslims consider blasphemous.

Guenter Wallraff, 64, said he proposed to do the reading at a landmark mosque which is to be built in Cologne by the western city's Turkish community.

He said the Ankara-funded Ditib religious foundation had not been insulted and was discussing his proposal.

Asked for comment, Bekir Alboga, the secretary for dialogue at Ditib, said Wallraff's request had not been rejected outright, but it was up to Ditib's board, not himself, to respond.

Plans to build the mosque have been opposed in recent months by some Cologne residents and an atheist novelist of Jewish heritage, Ralph Giordano, 85, who said Muslims should learn secular values and integrate into Germany.

"I'm not a passionate supporter of the new mosque," said Wallraff. "But we have freedom of religion here. What I respect are the efforts of German Muslims to integrate into society."

Wallraff, a gadfly writer who often attacks the German establishment, said he would demand police protection if need be so that he could read the Rushdie book aloud.

"I'm not a scared person," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. He first made his proposal in a radio interview.

Rushdie, who stayed in Wallraff's apartment in Cologne during visits to Cologne in the 1990s, was put under police protection after the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran called in 1989 for him to be killed.

Britain announced last month that Rushdie would be knighted, but the ceremony has yet to take place.


DPA

Subject: German news

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