Vision Logo Circle
Vision Logo Circle

German City Bans Jesus Bumper Sticker

by | Mon, Feb 26 2024

Text size: A- A+

A taxi driver in Germany has been fined around A$1,600 for displaying a bumper sticker with a Bible verse and a small cross on his taxi. The words are so tiny that an observer could only see from close-up that they are written in German and translate as Jesus – I am the way. The truth. And the life.

Despite the words being indiscernible to any other drivers and passers-by, the city of Essen claims it is still religious advertising on a taxi which is illegal.

The driver Jalil Mashali is challenging the fine, arguing the sticker is a personal expression of his faith. He’s a Christian convert from Islam who arrived in Germany from Iran 22-years-ago for medical treatment after being critically injured in a bus accident.

His conversion to Christianity followed a significant personal experience that he attributes to the power of prayer and faith, making the sticker a symbol of his spiritual journey.

After he lost his lower left leg in the accident, Mr. Mashali suffered from chronic pain. When he was 33, he sought medical treatment in Germany. After 20 surgeries, the pain remained and he asked himself whether it was worth continuing trying to live with the suffering. He then found healing after a Christian woman prayed for him. He says the pain in his leg ceased after the prayer, inspiring him to become a Christian.

“Jesus is the best thing I could recommend to anyone because He changed my life. That’s why I have the sticker on my car for anyone who is interested to see. I’m not looking to cause trouble, but I haven’t done anything wrong. I am grateful for this country where everyone should be free to share their faith. I hope to be able to continue to do so by appealing the unjust fine,” he explained.

Mr. Mashali is represented by Christian legal advocates ADF International whose legal officer Dr. Lidia Rieder declared: “In a free society, the government should not be silencing peaceful expressions of faith. Jalil’s actions are protected by the basic human right to freedom of religion, which includes the right to share one’s deeply held convictions with others. The state must refrain from unjustly interfering with this freedom.”

Human Rights group The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved conceded: “The repercussions for Mr. Mashali are significant, with the possibility of his dismissal as a taxi driver if he refuses to remove the text, as his car would be deemed unfit for German roads.” His fine could also be increased to A$16,500.

Photo: ADF International