05:31 GMT +322 September 2019
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    A handicapped man dressed as Father Christmas participates in the Nikolaus Lauf (Santa Claus Run) in the east German town of Michendorf, southwest of Berlin, Germany, December 6, 2015

    'Nazi Father Christmas'? German Santa Fired Over Alleged Ties to Far-Right Group

    © REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke
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    The mayor of the small Bavarian town of Mühldorf dismissed its local “Father Christmas” after it was revealed that he supports a far-right group.

    Peter Mück had been playing the role of a Santa Claus — known as Saint Nicholas in Germany — at Mühldorf's annual Christmas celebrations for three decades. His job was to wear the signature red-and-white suit and evoke the Christmas spirit in passers-by. Accompanied by costumed angels, Mück distributed candies and good cheer to children and adults in Mühldorf.

    But celebrations were dimmed after Mück was fired by Mühldorf's mayor Marianne Zollner over allegations that he supports the far-right "Identitarian Movement," which seeks to increase immigration controls, especially relating to adherents of Islam.

    Zollner fired Mück after she read comments posted by him on Facebook in support of a post by the far-right group that criticised child marriage, not a rare occurrence among immigrants from Middle East states.

    "I explained to him that this movement, in my view, does not respect the equality and dignity of all people, or our democratic values, and that this attitude was not compatible with the work of portraying Santa Claus," Zollner said, cited by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, adding that Mück's reaction to her explanation was telling.   

    Mück claimed that he wasn't aware of the movement's white-supremacist rhetoric when he commented on the post, and supporting such views was not his intention. However, he claimed that he does believe that child marriage is synonymous to child abuse and should not be legalized, adding that he has a right to express his opinion on the issue.

    "I have never acted in thought, word or deed against the free democratic constitution," Mück posted to Facebook.

    Mühldorf's mayor has come under fire on social media by far-right blogs, which accuse her of protecting paedophiles. Mück has said he would not take the job back even if he was asked, as he does not want to be called "the Nazi Father Christmas."


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