Unknown perpetrators beheaded baby Jesus and other figures in a Christmas nativity scene over the weekend in the city of Rüsselsheim.
The attack featured the figures, primarily made out of Styrofoam, having their hands severed and their heads removed; some of them were also knocked over. The figures, which were displayed in the town’s market square, were found by a passerby on Sunday morning.
All the figures lost their heads, including baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three kings, and a donkey.
Police have opened an investigation into property damage and are looking into a possible religious motive. However, some are expressing anger at the Rüsselsheim trade association that funded the nativity scene, with one of its officials attempting to make light of the situation.
“This situation should be approached with humor and the Christmas story should be used as an analogy for solidarity and cohesion,” wrote the association on Facebook. “Similar to the Holy Night, which was marked by unexpected twists and challenges, we see this ‘Headless Night’ as an opportunity to stand together and bring light into the darkness together.”
However, police are not taking the incident lightly.
“For us, this is not a joke,” said Bernd Hochstädter from the south Hesse police headquarters, adding that they are looking into “a possible religious background,” regarding the motive.
As Remix News previously reported, earlier this month, a group of Muslims beat a middle-aged man dressed as Santa Claus. The 54-year-old victim was due to perform at the Königsalm on Königsplatz in the city of Kassel on Dec. 6 when he was approached by a gang of youths who crossed the street and confronted him.
According to the victim, Rainer B., the gang comprised several teenagers of a migrant background around 15 years of age. He told police they insulted him, calling him a “son of a bitch” and a “fat man” and ordered him to remove his Santa Claus costume.
They said they were Muslim and that Germany was “their country,” the victim said, as reported by the Hessische Allgemeine newspaper.
A terror attack directed at a Christmas market by a supporter of the Islamic State in Paris led to the death of a German citizen earlier this month, and although the nativity scene attack may be minor, EU officials are warning of an elevated risk of terror attacks during the Christmas season.
“With the war between Israel and Hamas and the polarization it causes in our society, with the upcoming holiday season, there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union. We saw recently in Paris, unfortunately we have seen it earlier as well,” said Ylva Johansson, EU commissioner for home affairs.