Germans Cancel Opera Fearing Islamic Backlash

September 27, 2006

Source: BBC News

On September 27, 2006 BBC News reported, "One of Germany's foremost opera houses has abruptly canceled a modern production of Mozart's 'Idomeneo' because of fears of a violent reaction to a scene showing the severed head of the Prophet Mohammed. The cancellation, at the urging of security officials, triggered a furious debate over freedom of expression. Muslim groups in Germany voiced satisfaction with the decision, while leading politicians and artists called it a cowardly surrender to religious extremists... The controversial contemporary version of Mozart's 225-year-old classic, which was to have opened for its third season at Berlin's Deutsche Oper in November, includes a scene in which King Idomeneo, the protagonist, lurches around the stage near the severed heads of Mohammed, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea... In the two previous seasons, some Christian and Muslim groups expressed anger at the production... There was no specific threat of attack from Islamic radical groups, German government officials said last night."