• Germany's news in English

Director Fatih Akin boycotts Switzerland after minaret ban

AFP · 4 Dec 2009, 08:24

Published: 04 Dec 2009 08:24 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"This referendum conflicts with my understanding of humanism, tolerance and the belief that harmonious co-existence of peoples of differing backgrounds, races and religions must be possible," Akin said in an open letter on Thursday.

"As a child of Muslim parents who do not see minarets as symbols of political Islam but rather simply the complete architecture of their houses of worship, I feel personally affected by the referendum. That is why I refuse to travel to Switzerland," he said.

Akin was to have presented his new comedy "Soul Kitchen" in Zurich on December 16. The film, a light-hearted look at the multicultural mix in Akin's hometown Hamburg, won the Special Jury Prize in September at the Venice Film Festival.

Akin is one of German-speaking world's hottest filmmakers, winning a screenwriting award for his drama "The Edge of Heaven" in 2007 at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Bear top prize in Berlin in 2004 for "Head-On."

Story continues below…

The Swiss vote Sunday saw more than 57 percent back a proposition by a right-wing party for a constitutional ban on the construction of new minarets, overriding opposition from the government and most Swiss political parties.

The outcome inflamed tempers throughout the Muslim world, with a Turkish minister saying in an interview published Wednesday that he expected Muslims to withdraw their money from Swiss banks in response.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:08 December 4, 2009 by Portnoy
Now if we can just keep him out of Berlin we'll be making progress.
10:28 December 4, 2009 by Jibzy
Progress will begin when we stop being racist or plain-down-right ignorant..like the commenter before me. =)
10:43 December 4, 2009 by LancashireLad
Sorry to be so pessimistic but the peace we hope for will never happen. Man is a tribal animal (yes he's still an animal). It's an instinctive part of our survival mechanism. Man has to feel that he belongs.

It doesn't matter what we use to differentiate ourselves - religion is just the most convenient one (this, by the way, is why I am a humanist). If we didn't have religion, man would find something else.

I prefer to consider this "realism" instead of "pessimism".

That's not to say I condone any form of racism or intolerance, anybody succumbing to that is just succumbing to our base animal instincts and not allowing for higher, intelligent, "civillised" thought and reasoning - which is what separates us from those beings that we call animals.
11:37 December 4, 2009 by victor laslo
Portnoy ,judging by your cheap comment,you and your type will never make progress.
11:45 December 4, 2009 by berlinski
Never heard of him. I doubt the Swiss will be disturbed by this.
12:00 December 4, 2009 by Fredfeldman
Maybe if we all pull together we can persuade Mr. Akin and his film to stay away from Europe entirely.
12:23 December 4, 2009 by mprulez
Well...Mr. Akin does make good and inspiring films (like: Im Juli).

One can respect his personal beliefs and decision but as @berlinski puts it, I do not think this action will have any effect on anything in Switzerland. A country voted on a referendum which the world opposes, now the world does not like to push switzerland much because it houses all the money of all biggies around the world. Nobody is gonna mess with it!
16:56 December 4, 2009 by Al uk
Victor laslo what is portnoys type?

As for progress we have seen it, it's in Switzerland!
17:19 December 4, 2009 by lordkorner
Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Al uk
17:33 December 4, 2009 by Raccoons31
I'm very, very much against minirets ruining the beautiful Swiss countryside and cities. When in Europe, follow the trend that has been there for hundreds of years. Until the Muslim countries even ALLOW a Christian church with a tall spire to be built, there should be no question regarding Muslim minarets in Switzerland or any other country in Europe. EUROPE,.....WAKE UP!!! You are losing your identity.
17:36 December 4, 2009 by Jibzy
@portnoy, al uk, fred feldman: Its disgusting how you guys, hiding behind your computer screens, think its very okay to be racist. Are you like that in Public too? I think people might stone you to death if you speak such idiocity in open. You have your reservations with 'militant islam' and so do others but being ignorant and blatant like this is.. just disgusting. You are no different from the animal taliban guys who kill any white person they see. you should go and join their ranks.
17:50 December 4, 2009 by ironman294
Oh No What will Switzerland do? This guy is the most well known second generation turkish german director ever which amounts to a hill of beans.

He should talk about how intolerant the Islamic world is. Christians arent even allowed in parts of Saudi Arabia. Muslim converts are jailed or executed in soem countries and if you are caught with a Bible you are arrested or have it confiscated or destroyed on spot.

Switzerland only banned the building of minarets, not mosques. So Muslims should not speak about us non muslims practicing tolerance, when their fellow religionists don't practice it themselves!
18:01 December 4, 2009 by robidog
Switzerland is better off without the presence of this mediocre film maker and human. His films are mind numbingly awful.
18:16 December 4, 2009 by Kylerk
If he really wants to see a shining example of intolerance I suggest that he show his ¦quot;new comedy¦quot; to an audience full of Taliban and al-Qaeda members, but it would probably not be a very smart idea for him to attend the event personally.
18:33 December 4, 2009 by So36
You all missed the Portnoy's sarcasm there. He was merely referring to Akin's provincial pride preferring Hamburg to Berlin. Not Swiss bigotry.
18:57 December 4, 2009 by Beynch
Boycott Switzerland? That means that the majority of Swiss will have achieved ther goal.
19:21 December 4, 2009 by Patience a virtue
Mr Akin, you have no idea what's goin on in this world. Try a visit to the largest Moslem Country (a 'democratic country' in South East Asia). Numbers of churches have been burnt and afterwards no permit given to rebuild these churches at the same location. I won't even talk about the prosecutions of non Muslims. So if this is an issue of intolerance, than accept it!! You yourself had just made another example of a nontolerant fool.
19:43 December 4, 2009 by berlinski
He is showing his bigoted true colours by boycotting Switzerland. But nobody in Switzerland or Germany will care about this wanna be famous director using this for cheap publicity. Smacks of a cheap publicity exercise. He has his name mentioned now. Hopefully he will quietly move back to anonymity as a fringe director where he came from. If he was so hurt about this, why doesn't he go to Allahland and stay there?
21:38 December 4, 2009 by Schnuckel

but I have to agree with Switzerland on this one.
22:15 December 4, 2009 by So36
The amount of fear and prejudice on this issue is just utterly depressing. You will not be turned into a Muslim with a dumb little tower stuck on a mosque. The Swiss have bought into the argument of a bunch of virulent xenophobes. Democracy and the West should be better than this.
23:52 December 4, 2009 by DavidtheNorseman
Jibzy wrote (to everyone he disagreed with):

"I think people might stone you to death if you speak such idiocity in open."

This is precisely why the wise people of Switzerland voted the way they did. Should be EU wide.
03:32 December 5, 2009 by CalBill
And his not going to Switzerland is a problem why?
09:55 December 5, 2009 by nipa
Banning minarets is comparable to destroying mamiyan budha by theTaliban. You Swiss are so proud of your democracy and freedom but when come to Islam you are another bunch of crook. Governments in some Islamic countries do discriminate Christians. But at least they do not claim that they are championing democracy and religious freedom like the Swiss.
14:44 December 5, 2009 by Al uk
Jibzy and people like you always play the same card, racism. Since when has muslim been a race? You cannot win the argument so you use the easy option and pull out the racist card.

The people of Switzerland have spoken in a democratic vote how many other countries would follow suit given a "free" vote? Quite a few i would guess.
15:03 December 11, 2009 by Archangelo
The Swiss have banned merely the construction of an architectural element whose political characteristics were once proudly disclosed by the proclamation of Turkish PM Erdogan. Notably, the Swiss have not banned the construction or establishment of mosques. Meanwhile, Turkey and the rest of the Islamic countries maintain a ban on not only architectural elements, but complete moratoria on the construction of churches and synagogues. Where are the protests against the Turkish/Islamic ban? Do the voices of outrage rise up against the patently oppressive policies of Turkey and the rest of the Islamic world, or does the deafening silence of the protestors evidence a hidden, Islamist agenda? The answer is obvious. Fatih Akin is a crypto-Islamist, and he views inter-faith religious tolerance as a one way street.

Notably, the unaccountable, globalist politicians of Europe are moving quickly to appease their conquerors-apparent from the Islamist World. A short-sighted Calmy-Rey is unconcerned with the long-term consequences of her overtures. The protection of investments derived from 70-year old Nazi plunder is less important to the common citizens of Switzerland than it is to the highly placed beneficiaries of Hitler's Volksgemeinschaft in Swiss banking and industry. This elitist posture, based on short-term gain, will voluntarily relinquish Europe to the Islamists at the expense of her unsuspecting, unprepared citizens.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd