This Sunday, March6, 2016, Congo native Catholic priests Olivier Ndjimbi-Tshiende had resigned as parish priest in Munich suburb Zorneding after receiving several racist death threats. The following day, the moved 66-year-old moved out from the rectory.
Yesterday, Wednesday March 9, 2016, some 3,000 people from the district took part in a demonstration against racism and to show support and solidarity with the priest, whose problems and threats against him began after local CSU politician Sylvia Boher criticised the country’s refugee policy in a local CSU newsletter. The priest publicly took a stand against her views, which triggered the threats.
The party reacted only meekly towards Bohler’s statements and in a way supported her views by not reacting adequately. All these ingredients have prepared the soil for hatred against a priest who became a target because he criticized the local CSU and stood up for Christian brotherly love, as Michael Acker wrote for Merkur.de.
The demonstrations held yesterday included church bells from both, the Catholic and the Protestant churches at Zorneding ringing and the people forming a light chain in support of Olivier Ndjimbi-Tshiende. Local politicians also took part in the protest and held speeches. The messages written on banners read “Oliver we are behind you” or “Zorneding is colourful”. Zorneding (Ebersberg District, 9,000 inhabitants) Mayor Piet Mayr from the CSU said in his speech that they weren’t a xenophobic community, as they are pictured in the media and stressed that most of the people were tolerant (“quite a normal community” and “not a Nazi-spot”).
All of this hasn’t caused the priest to change his mind, even though he had previously also reconciled with Sylvia Boher, he has decided not to return to the parish and is now located at a secret and safe location. Ndjimbi-Tshiende is planning to leave in April, according to a statement from the Munich Archdiocese, which expressed regret at his decision. Explaining that the priest does not want to give any interviews, the statement further says that he abandons his post with a “feeling of relief,” but having no “bitterness about his time in Zorneding.”
He came to the parish in 2012. Prosecutors are investigating on threat and insult charges against persons unknown.