Germany's conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday led political and arts world uproar at the scrapping of a Mozart opera that features the head of the prophet Mohammed rolling across the stage. The performances were cancelled amid fears the scene could trigger violence among the nationâs Muslim community. But Mrs Merkel denounced "self-censorship out of fear" as unacceptable, reflecting a mood of national indignation that was not limited to the arts set but cut right across all social lines. And last night there were hopes that increased government pressure might get the show put back on. A groundbreaking "integration" summit between government ministers and leaders of Germany's three million Muslims held yesterday could lead to the production being staged at a later date. Interior minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said all present had agreed that the shelved opera "Idomeneoâ should go ahead - and they might even all go together to see it. At the Deutsche Oper in Berlin a spokesman said the company was considering developments. Hours before Schaeubleâs statement the gulf between western liberalism and Islamic intransigence appeared as wide as ever as the leader of Germany's Islamic Council welcomed the ban, saying a depiction of Mohammed with a severed head "could certainly offend Muslims." The Deutsche Oper announced on Tuesday that it had scratched the Mozart opera "Idomeneo" from its programme this season because one scene â the severed head of the prophet Mohammed rolling on to the stage â risked triggering an "incalculable security risk" for the theatre. It feared the kind of violent outbursts that erupted earlier this month when the Pope offended Muslims in a speech which quoted a medieval writer's view of Islam as "evil and inhuman." His words led to worldwide protests and a nun was shot dead in Somalia. "To avoid endangering the public and its employees, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin has decided to refrain from showing 'Idomeneo' in November," the opera house said. As early as July, police officials had warned of the security risk associated with the opera. A risk analysis was prepared, which formed the basis of the opera house's decision to cancel "Idomeneo." "We have advised that a performance could result in disturbances," said police spokesman Bernhard Schodrowski. In the epilogue, Idomeneo, the king of Crete, comes on stage with a bloody sack in his hand. He then pulls the heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed out of the sack and places them triumphantly on four chairs. The opera, set in the capital of Crete just after the Trojan War, addresses human resistance to making sacrifices to the gods. Mozart's original version premiered in 1781. Four performances were planned for the production in November but will be replaced by "The Marriage of Figaro" and "La Traviata." The countryâs artistic and cultural elite are outraged â along with ordinary people who feel minority sensibilities should not interfere with a cultural icon as big as Mozart. They are emotions shared by Mrs. Merkel on the day of Germanyâs first government-sponsored summit about the countryâs three million Muslims and their integration. "We must be careful that we do not flinch out of fear of radicals who are prepared to use violence," she said. "Self-censorship for reasons of fear is not acceptable. It should only be allowed when it is done responsibly within a genuine and completely violence-free dialogue of cultures." Mr Schaeuble, ahead of yesterdayâs conference aimed at bringing Muslims and Christians closer together, branded the decision to ditch the opera "crazy." The delegates from Germanyâs Muslim communities â including those from Hamburg where the Islamic cell which carried out the 9/11 atrocities was based â met with the interior minister in Berlinâs Charlottenburg Palace all day yesterday. "Three million Muslims live in Germany. They are a part of Germany's present and future, just as Islam is, after all, a part of Europe," he said. One of his express aims is to get imams educated in Germany and have their sermons conducted in German â a recommendation from the secret services to stop coded messages about terror being passed on to worshippers. He said the conference was not just about "niceties," adding: "We were not here to exchange pleasantries but to achieve results." Last night he said the meeting had been "intensive." "It would be a signal of dishonesty if there hadn't been clashes," Mr Schaeuble said, adding that the atmosphere was constructive. "That is what distinguishes democratic culture."