Many people in Germany still have difficulties facing the reality of modern-day Germany as a country of immigration. And sometimes, the discourse about what it means to be German, about multiculturalism, assimilation, and diversity tends towards the patently absurd.
Case in point: A German Muslim man who recently became the Shooting King at his shooting club in a town in North Rhine-Westphalia is threatened by the prospect of losing his title because the statute of that club requires the Shooting King to be a Christian.
Schützenvereine (marksmen clubs), which generally tend to be a somewhat different affair from the American gun culture, are widely seen as a tradition of rural Germany. Growing up in the north-western part of Germany, my impression was that this pastime is the essence of a rather conservative-leaning, predominantly rural culture. I never took part in it, but if you go outside of the big cities, you will certainly notice that it exists.
If you were to assemble a stereotypical if benevolent image of ‘the Germans’ north of Bavaria, those shooting clubs and their parades from village to village in celebration of the new Shooting King and Queen would be a perfect ingredient.
Fun memory from my youth: Schützenvereine may parade through several nearby villages with a marching band very early on a Saturday morning to pick up the shooting king. Good luck with getting some sleep.
So what we have here is a ‘new German’ guy who in some respects is out-Germaning the ‘Biodeutschen’—a fairly new term describing those other Germans without a relatively recent family history of migration, without ‘funny-sounding’ (to the majority) names, and/or a different religion.
And yet, some people still see a problem in someone like him successfully pursuing this ultra-German hobby.
Just as other, larger institutions in German society need to attune to the reality of an increasingly diverse population, smaller ones on a communal level should go in that direction as well.
Germany should become more welcoming and open towards all people who wish to participate in civil society in a positive manner, and not discriminate against somebody just because they differ in some aspect from the majority of society.
I say that Germany has nothing to fear from a shooting king who happens to be Muslim, too.
[Update (link in German)]:
The shooting club is now making “an exception” so that he is allowed to keep his title but he is not allowed to shoot. Not much better, if you ask me.
“Muslim shooting king could be stripped of title.” The Local Germany, 2014/08/04.
“Muslimischer Schützenkönig: “Er muss nicht zurücktreten”.” Spiegel Online, 04.08.2014.