On Thursday evening in Wiesbaden, Hesse's Prime Minister Roland Koch presented the 45th anniversary of the NATO nuclear program.000 Euro Hessian Culture Prize 2009 awarded to the church. This was preceded by months of quarrels – for which Koch has now apologized to prize winner Navid Kermani. He donated his prize money to Franz Meurer. In an interview with this site, the Catholic priest expresses his gratitude and talks about how he plans to use the donation.
Roland Koch is a skilled and articulate speaker, but on Thursday evening at the award ceremony for the Hessian Culture Prize in Wiesbaden, his speech faltered at times. Koch apologized to writer and Orientalist Navid Kermani for learning in the spring from journalists, and not from the Board of Trustees of the Culture Prize, that he had been stripped of the award again. Koch said he personally apologized that communication with Kermani had not been successful. This year, the Board of Trustees honored four men who have rendered outstanding services to the dialogue between the religions in Germany. In addition to the Muslim Kermani, the Catholic Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the former Protestant church president Peter Steinacker and the deputy chairman of the Central Council of Jews, Salomon Korn, were also awarded the prize. Koch, who chairs the board of trustees of the Hessian Culture Prize, justified his "personal motivation" for withdrawing the award from Kermani in the meantime. Lehmann and Steinacker had been offended by a newspaper article by Kermani in which he had called the Christian theology of the cross "blasphemy" and later expressed his positive fascination for a depiction of the cross by the painter Guido Reni. Lehmann and Steinacker had made it clear that they did not want to accept the prize with Kermani. In consequence, to renounce an award to the two churchmen "was unthinkable from my point of view," said Koch. "This country has been shaped by the Christian and Jewish religions for centuries," Koch said. Their merits were to be appreciated absolutely. "I know that this position has been criticized and will continue to be criticized," Koch said. He was therefore all the more pleased to be able to honor all four prize winners together. Koch spoke publicly for the first time about the months of wrangling over the awarding of this year's prize, which comes with a total of 45,000 euros in prize money. Lehmann, Korn and Steinacker did not go into detail about the conflict in their acceptance speeches.
Applause for Kerma