Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Member of the European Parliament, in this opinion piece comments on the Nigerian-born clergyman, Father Dr Patrick Asomugha, who was forced to resign from his position in the Catholic parish of Queidersbach, a small town in Germany, last month.
After months of hostilities, Nigerian-born Pastor Father Dr Patrick Asomugha was forced to resign from his position in the Catholic parish of Queidersbach, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on 18 April 2020. Since 2019, the pastor had been the target of racist attacks. Multiple incidents have occurred in the parish including damage to property and most recently, a death threat. These are just some of the terrible and heinous attacks he has suffered.
For his own protection, his diocese has now decided to withdraw him from his service. The increasing attacks on his person make parish life in Queidersbach impossible. The first and only concern of the church is for the protection of the pastor.
I am dismayed by these events. I am deeply saddened to learn that, once again, a member of our society, a member of the clergy, is being treated in such an unworthy manner simply because of the colour of his skin.
Even more so due to the fact that the authors of this violence come from a Christian congregation whose fundamental values such as charity and fraternity seem to be nothing more than words in a book.
It is with a heavy heart that I must conclude that the perpetrators have now got what they wanted. They sought to expel Father Dr. Patrick Asomugha from their community and they finally succeeded, thanks to their systematic use of physical aggression.
Following the attacks in Halle and also Hanau, we have to face the fact that Germany has a big problem. We are not immune from the growing wave of racism.
Furthermore, this is a problem that is growing and which feeds on the silence of the society.
Where are the expressions of solidarity, where is the outcry? How can hatred and racism flourish in today’s society without meeting any real resistance? These are the questions we must ask ourselves and with which we must begin to break the silence and end the appeasement.
Yes, it’s unpleasant, yes, it’s ugly, but only by looking the monster directly in the eye do we have a chance of defeating it. That is why I would like to say to you, Mr Asomugha, please do not give up. Do not lose faith in your fellow human beings. We are at your side and we encourage you to continue to practice your faith with devotion and joy and above all without fear.
May the Almighty bless you in your mission wherever you may be!
Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, MEP
Member of the European Parliament