At the bottom of page A-11 in Tuesday’s Washington Post, reporters Anthony Faiola and Stephanie Kirchner reported on what should be part of the story of the suspected terrorist truck driven through a Christmas market. A German-taxpayer-subsidized Muslim-majority academy in Istanbul put the kibosh on Christian celebrations:
BERLIN — Call it the high school that stole Christmas.
As the holiday season approached, the administration of Istanbul High School — an academy in Muslim-majority Turkey partly funded by the German government — took a highly unusual step. It instructed, according to an email obtained by Germany’s DPA news service, that Christmas this year should be kept under wraps.
No teaching of Christmas customs.
And certainly no Christmas caroling.
In fact, German officials confirmed, the school’s choir canceled its traditional Christmas concert performance at Germany’s consulate in Istanbul.
The school, at which many classes are taught in German, is prestigious in Turkey and counts at least three Turkish prime ministers as alumni. German taxpayers pay about 1 million euros annually to support it, and news of the restrictions quickly sparked an uproar in the heart of Europe, where a debate about conservative Islam is raging.
German politicians and social-media pundits were attacking the Islamic-tinged and authoritarian government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan for allegedly creating an environment in Turkey — the birthplace of Saint Nicholas — in which Christmas has become politically incorrect.
The academy lamely argued there was no "ban," just a response to some Christian teachers who were guilty of what "could seem to be promoting Christianity." The Post reporters called it a "four-alarm fire in the 24-hour news cycle," but this Germany report was seven pages away from the continuation of the Berlin truck rampage story (which the Post put on A-18, the back of the front section). Apparently, readers are not supposed to be connecting dots about Islamic tolerance for other religions in the Middle East.
Even the Left Party protested:
Speaking to Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel on Sunday, Left Party lawmaker Sevim Dagdelen called on Berlin to summon the Turkish ambassador and to send an official protest to Ankara.
“It shows how far the AKP’s Islamist madness is going, if even Christmas is declared a taboo at a school, which is sponsored with German tax money,” Dagdelen said, referring to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party.
For a German media report, see this Deutsche Welle dispatch.
PS: On Friday, Kirchner reported on another attempt -- by a 12-year-old boy -- to kill Germans at a Christmas market, which was prevented:
BERLIN — German prosecutors are investigating an incident in which a 12-year-old boy allegedly plotted a nail bomb attack at a Christmas market in the southern city of Ludwigshafen, officials said Friday.
According to German media, investigators said that they think the boy, who holds dual German and Iraqi citizenship, was guided by a member of the Islamic State terrorist organization.