“Disturbance in Easter service,” translated from “Störer im Ostergottesdienst,” by Oliver Potengowski, Wetterauer Zeitung, April 12, 2021 (thanks to Medforth):
This must also be expected from people who belong to another
Nidda (Saxony). Because of an incident in the run-up to
the Easter service in the Nidda city church, state security is
investigating three as yet unknown perpetrators. They were apparently
drunk and insulted worshipers and shouted Islamic slogans. Although a
police patrol arrived during the service, the perpetrators have not yet
Contrary to popular belief, Easter, rather than Christmas, is the
most important festival in Christianity. The Easter services on early
Sunday mornings are of paramount importance. For the second year in a
row, it has been difficult for the congregations to celebrate this most
important service of the year.
In Nidda, it was at least possible for a limited number of believers
who had registered beforehand to experience the beginning of Easter
morning together in the church. But while the preparations were still in
progress, three young men apparently disturbed them so severely that
the effects overshadowed the service and the hours that followed. First, according to a press release from the parish, two confirmands
who came to the church with their relatives noticed the three men who
had come from the Schlossgasse and had settled down by the fountain.
Shortly afterwards, they insulted another church attendee there.
Visitors filmed with cell phones
Apparently the young men became aware of the upcoming service through
the incoming visitors and the illuminated church, as the congregation
describes the ensuing events. Two of them had come into the church
through the side entrance. They pointed their cell phones at the
worshipers and apparently filmed them. They also had bottles that
presumably had alcohol with them.
Pastor Hanne Allmansberger asked the young men to leave the church
because they were not registered for the service, as Allmansberger
explained to them, nor were they wearing a face mask. But instead of
obeying the request, the troublemakers repeatedly shouted “There is only
one God and that is Allah” and “Allah is the greatest.” They apparently
continued to film what was happening.
Only when Pastor Allmansberger again energetically asked her to leave
the church and meanwhile other visitors got up and went to the side
entrance through which the young men had come in, did they leave the
church again. They went away with the third young man who had been
waiting at the door.
Perceived as threatening
Above all, the children and young people felt the situation as
threatening, reports the parish. But adult participants in the service
were also very shocked by the incident. “The Easter Vigil service was
overshadowed by the events, the horror of the young men’s over-the-line,
improper and threatening behavior persisted for some time among
participants and congregants. Fortunately, the service itself, as well
as the other Easter services, went on without incident.” But there were
concerns that the troublemakers would come back later, perhaps also
during the service that started at 6 o’clock. Therefore, a visitor
informed the police, who also arrived during the celebration. The press
office of the police in Central Hesse confirms the incident and that the
state security has started investigations into disruption of the
practice of religion. Witnesses are currently being heard.
Mayor Hans-Peter Seum stated that he had not yet been informed of the
incident by either the police or the community. The Nidda police
station confirmed the events to him on request. The Protestant parish
emphasizes “that Christianity demands and lives tolerance towards other