Taxi driver challenges German authorities over Bible verse sticker

(Jalil Mashali. Image credit: ADF International)

A taxi driver in Essen, Germany, Jalil Mashali, is challenging a fine slammed on him for showing off a Bible verse on his vehicle by local authorities.

The Bible verse reads: "Jesus – I am the way, the truth, and the life." It caused an argument over religious freedom and the laws of advertising in the community.

Human rights group, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) noted that the driver, who is a Christian convert from Iran, was fined for what was described as ‘religious advertising’ and it was tagged unlawful.

Making use of ADF International's help, Mashali is contesting the fine, noting that the sticker with the Bible verse is his expression of his faith, rather than advertising.

Though the driver had gotten a notification from the Essen road traffic authority, threatening a fine of up to 1,000 Euros, or $1,085, for the sticker in October 2023, he was still adamant to take it off. This led to him getting a fine that amounted to 88.50 Euros.

He was born and raised in Iran where he was a staunch Muslim. However, he has lived in Germany for the past 22 years. His conversion from Islam to Christianity has been credited to the effect of prayer and faith. This made him carry a sign of his faith in the sticker on his vehicle.

When he suffered a bus accident in Iran, he left for Germany for medical treatment. Though he had undergone 20 surgeries, the pain did not leave him and made him attempt to take his life.

During this trying period of his life, a Christian woman prayed for him and he regained his health. This spurred him to become a Christian.

Speaking on his converted faith, the Christian Post quoted him saying: "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."

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