German churches mark third Hanau anniversary with call for protest against racism


The two major Christian denominations in Germany have called for people to protest against racism in everyday life in an appeal marking the third anniversary of the racist attack in Hanau in the German state of Hesse.

Resistance was needed “against every form of misanthropy,” the council president of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Annette Kurschus, said in a memorial service in Hanau. The local Catholic priest Andreas Weber expressed similar sentiments.

On 19 February 2020, 43-year-old Tobias R. shot dead nine people in Hanau in six minutes in a racially motivated attack. He then killed his mother and himself.

Countering hatred remains a daily task for each and every one of us,” Kurschus said according to the text of her speech, adding: “And not just when racism becomes particularly obtrusive and spectacular. It starts much earlier, in very small everyday situations.” Resisting racism often didn’t require that much courage, she added.

“But it does take courage to counter a contemptuous remark or to contradict a populist slogan. Every contradiction has an effect,” said Kurschus, who is the president of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia. She said it helped to have as many encounters as possible and “as much love for our fellow humans as possible.”

The Catholic priest Weber told the Cologne Catholic news site that the church was promoting the anti-racism initiatives launched after the attack, for example in schools, in religious education or in preparing children for their first communion. “We remind people that racism has no place in our sphere,” he said.

Hanau has always been “a colourful city,” Weber said, adding: “That’s why it also hit us right in the heart that something like this should happen here, where people are connected from childhood with many cultures and different views, different looks, and live well together.”    (KNA)

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