Jesus Christ was blond

Whenever I travel, I go to temples that are on my way - be it a church, a synagogue or an Islamic temple, i.e. a mosque. For me, all temples are havens for those who seek peace and tranquility. Whenever I'm in Turkey, I visit mosques and use this as a chance to listen to me in their soft and calming atmosphere. In other countries churches and synagogues are the alternative to mosques. Why not? I am a Muslim and we Muslims believe that prayer can be said in any temple. Those who know the difficulties faced by the Turks in this country may still remember that several years ago, when there were no Islamic temples in Germany, Turkish workers asked for permission and they were given permission to hold their divine service on the occasion of the Bayram To be able to celebrate a festival in a church in Munich. This seems natural to all who can distinguish religion from extreme conservatism and superstition. Well, this is not our subject now, it is Jesus Christ.

When my wife and I were on a trip to Finland a few years ago, we also went into a Lutheran church to hear something inside. As I looked at the picture of Jesus above the altar, I immediately noticed that Jesus Christ looked very much like the blond Finns I had seen outside. At that moment I remembered a short story by John Clark, a colored writer. In that story, which takes place in a primary school for children of color, one of the boys gave the teacher a picture he had painted for her birthday, in which Jesus Christ was just as dark-skinned as the teacher and the students. For the teacher, this gift came unexpectedly and she was confused about it, but she praised the little boy to make him happy and asked him to tell the class how and why he had painted the picture like this. The boy said, “My uncle, who lives in New York, is a teacher of black history. When he visited us last year, he told us about great blacks who made history. He also told us that once the blacks were the most developed race on earth and that no one had ever been able to prove that Jesus Christ was not as colorful as we were. That's why I painted the picture as it was inside of me, I mean how I felt it ... «

In that story by John Henrik Clark, the teacher's birthday is also the last day of the school year on which pictures of students are displayed in the auditorium. As every year on this occasion, a white school inspector visits the school. He is led into the hall in which the student pictures are exhibited. When he notices the picture with the colored Christ, he becomes very angry and asks the director to explain what he calls the "scandal". The director shows a lot of moral courage in his answer. “I encouraged the student to take this picture. I don't see any fault in that. To artists of other races, God looks like one of your own. I am sure you understand that painters of color have the same right. Perhaps Jesus was really a colored man; for we know that the country in which he lived at that time was inhabited by blacks. 'According to this declaration, the director of this story loses his post on the same day; he is fired.

A close English friend, Mr. Alan Spencer Hindle, gave me as a very personal gift an icon that he had brought back from Ethiopia. He was a Catholic, but has since passed away. I have always particularly valued and respected this charming gift. When I first opened the icon, I was as confused as the teacher in the story, but only for a few minutes; because here Jesus is depicted as dark-skinned, and I had never seen that before. What the colored director said in the story is indeed plausible to me and very human. The ancient Greek philosopher Xenophon said: “An Ethiopian imagines Jesus to be as dark-skinned as he is, while a Thracian sees him with blue eyes. If oxen and horses had the faculty of imagination, they would imagine him in shape. "

I have never been to the Far East, but I assume that Japanese and Chinese Christians kneel before a Jesus with slanting eyes. I'm afraid the white school inspector in the story is not an unrealistic, made-up person. In the so-called "Great Democracy" of this world, America, there were many of its kind. And I wonder if the civilized West, which speaks so vehemently of human equality and human rights, will ever endure a colored Jesus Christ behind the altar would, even if only for two days ...

translated by Gerhild Yalç1n