A stage adaptation of a French novel depicting a future in which a Muslim becomes president of France has opened in Germany to wide popularity, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday. "Submission," by French author Michel Houellebecq, depicts a dystopia where traditional secular French culture is superseded by Islam, and its controversial themes have resonated with many Germans as they face an influx of Muslim asylum-seekers.
"It seems like it's a very timely story because everybody, each in their own way, picks up on a point of the topic that concerns them," actor Edgar Selge, who plays the lead role in the Hamburg theater production, told AFP.
Houellebecq’s novel was released in France on Jan. 7, 2015. By coincidence, that was the same day as the fatal attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which was carried out by self-proclaimed Islamic terrorists. The two gunmen stormed the offices of the magazine in Paris and opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring several more in retribution for cartoons the magazine had published of the Prophet Muhammad, among other things that offended them.
"Submission" tells the story of a France in the near future where a Muslim political party espousing traditional values rises to power with the help of the left, which is desperate to head off the right-wing National Front. Accused of being anti-Islam or racist by its critics, the book depicts a culture war between Western Europe and the religion of Islam.
The book quickly became a best-seller in France and was translated into German a week after its publication. German stage adaptations of the novel have begun or are slated to open in Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin in the coming months.
Germany has welcomed more than 1 million refugees in 2015, with many of them fleeing violent conflict in Iraq, Syria and other Middle Eastern nations. Following an New Year’s Eve incident in Cologne in which a group of men, reportedly Arab or North African, attempted to sexually assault or rob dozens of women, German fears of the influx heightened.