A far-right Facebook post denigrating Nuremberg's pick to play the "Christ Child" at its Christmas market has prompted a wave of solidarity for Benigna Munsi. The Bavarian premier has also backed her.
Bavarian Premier Markus Söder said Friday that Bavaria would not tolerate "this rabble-rousing" as he referred to a Facebook post by a district branch of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Thursday's post, since deleted, had slurred Nuremberg-born Benigna Munsi, the daughter of Indian-German parents, saying: "One day we'll go the way of the Indians" — an allusion to colonial subjugation of North America's native peoples, but in reverse.
"Here we're witnessing the malicious grimace of racism," responded Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, also of Söder's Christian Social Union (CSU) — the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), which was relegated to third place in last weekend's Thuringia state election.
On Wednesday in Nuremberg, a jury had unanimously picked 17-year-old Munsi from among 25 women candidates to act as the northern Bavarian city's "Christ Child" (Christkind) for two years. Munsi is a pupil at the city's Labenwolf high school (Gymnasium).
Söder, himself from Nuremberg, had congratulated Munsi, writing on Twitter that he was delighted about her selection. Hundreds of internet users also defended Munsi after the AfD barb.
Benigna Munsi's key role is to open Nuremberg's famed Christmas market on November 29 but also to tour numerous kindergartens, retirement homes and visit the northern Bavarian hub's partner twin cities.
Upon her selection, she said she was "mega thrilled," adding that all of the candidates could have got the job.
Munsi listed her hobbies as theater, playing the oboe and singing in a choir.
Her mother said Benigna, aside from mastering German and English, also spoke Portuguese and Spanish. Her mother is German, her father originally Indian.
Belated apology from AfD
When questioned about the post, the chairwoman of the AfD branch covering outlying Munich, Christina Specht, apologized, saying Thursday's AfD remark did not reflect the party's values.
The AfD media person, who made the post "autonomously," had since resigned, said Specht, adding that in future AfD branch statements would be double-checked.
ipj/aw (dpa, AFP, epd)