Mithat Gedik, 33, was born to Turkish parents and grew up in Werl, North Rhine-Westphalia.
On July 18th he was crowned Schützenkönig (shooting king), a traditional German title. by his local club.
Gedik studied Catholicism at school, works for a Mannheim-based company and lives with his German wife and four children in Werl.
He also volunteers at the fire department and is on the board of his local shooting club.
Gedik is a model of Turkish integration, but his new title has unleashed a wave of debate about integration and tolerance in Germany.
The Westfälische Anzeiger newspaper reported at the weekend that because he is not Christian, Gedik has been asked to return his title by the Bund der Historischen Deutschen Schützenbruderschaften (BHDS) (Historic German Shooting Federation).
The BHDS is the umbrella organization overseeing Germany’s shooting clubs of which Gedik’s is one.
Gedik is not even allowed to be a member of his shooting society because section two of the society’s statute dates that it is an “association of Christian people”.
Rolf Nieborg, a spokesman for the BHDS, said: “It should be obvious to anyone who can read. They didn’t read their own constitution.”
“No one has probably asked him about his religion because he is so well integrated,” Nieborg added. “They made a mistake and should correct it. They could ask him to abdicate.”
But Gedik said: “It is completely incomprehensible to me that we are having such a debate in the 21st Century.
“We didn’t want to provoke anyone, we just wanted to celebrate a wonderful shooting festival.”
Gedik will now decide what to do with other members of the club. They do not want to be expelled from the BHDS, but they could join the Sauerland Shooting Federation instead whose rules allow non-Christians to be members.
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