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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Shelved Muhammad opera to return
Kirsten Harms
Director Kirsten Harms defended the cancellation
A Mozart opera cancelled for fears of protests over depicting the beheading of Muhammad is go ahead in Berlin.

The Deutsche Oper in the German capital said the production of Idomeneo will be staged after it received a new security assessment from the police.

Four performances of the opera were dropped in September after the risks of staging it were deemed "incalculable".

The decision, taken in the wake of the Danish Muhammad cartoons row, sparked a debate about free speech in Germany.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called the decision crazy and Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against "self-censorship out of fear".

'No concrete danger'

On Thursday, the police told the opera company that its staff faced "no concrete danger" if the performances went ahead, and would discuss any possible security measures ahead of the performances.

Deutsche Opera issued a statement saying it "had begun without delay the relevant preparations for reviving the opera".

The production contains a scene in which the severed heads of Muhammad, Buddha, Jesus and Greek sea god Poseidon are presented by the king.

It was an addition by director Hans Neuenfels, who said it was a protest against organised religion.

Kirsten Harms, director of the opera house, refused to go ahead with the production after security officials warned of possible risks.

"We know the consequences of the conflict over the [Muhammad] caricatures," the opera company said in a statement.

Protests around the world erupted last year after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons which depicted Muhammad as a terrorist.

Why the opera was cancelled

Beheaded prophet opera dropped
26 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Cash boost saves Berlin opera
03 Jul 03 |  Entertainment

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