February 24, 2006

Global Politics from the German Backwaters

The corpus delicti. (Foto: Jürgen Peperhowe)

Yesterday, a German court convicted a man of insulting Islam by printing the word "Koran" on toilet paper and distributing it.

The 61-year-old Manfred van Hove was given a one-year jail sentence, with a probation period of five years plus 300 hours of community service by the regional court in Lüdinghausen in Westphalia.

Manfred van Hove had sheets of toilet paper stamped with the word "Koran", after the London bombings in July 2005. He sent the paper to German television stations, magazines and some 15 mosques. The prosecutor said that in a covering letter he called Islam's holy book a "cookbook for terrorists".

He also offered his toilet paper for sale on the Internet at a price of 4 Euros per roll, saying the proceeds would go toward a "memorial to all the victims of Islamic terrorism".

Manfred van Hove used to work for 15 years in Arab countries as a construction site manager and there he learned, so he said, to despise Islam. "Did you watch an execution there?" he snapped at the prosecutor.

"The importance has been considerably increased by the global political situation", the judge stated in the reasons for the judgment. The prosecutor, too, emphasised that the sentence "sends out a decisive signal". "Out", I guess, is Iran and the rest of the Muslim world. After all, it must lend a new dimension to the lifes and jobs of a judge and a public prosecutor at the Amtsgericht in Lüdinghausen (23,945 residents in 2004). Global Politics from the German backwaters at their finest! The judge spoke, too, of a "considerable delusion" of the defendant.

The article from which I gathered some of the above facts is headed "Bewährung für einen Hasserfüllten" -- Probation for a Hate-Filled One.

Manfred van Hove, the prankster, Manfred van Hove, traumatised by his time in Muslim countries, is still receiving death threats and remains under police protection. Yet HE is the one considered deluded and hate-filled by his judges, including the media. Why do I get a creepy the-patients-have-taken-over-the-insitution-feeling here?

God help us! Our country won't.