Reuters blog archive
(Photo: The Reichstag building in Berlin, November 22, 2010/Pawel Kopczynski)
A rousing welcome in Berlin it may not be.
Pope Benedict’s invitation to address German parliament during his visit to his homeland next September 22-25 has not sat well with some members of the opposition. Volker Beck, the Green party floor leader, has protested that inviting a religious leader to address parliament, the Bundestag, is unprecedented and the wrong place to speak about religion.
“The German Bundestag is justifiably cautious when inviting a foreign head of state,” Beck told the German daily Die Welt. “Firstly the pope is the head of a religion and secondly the head of a state.”
Only foreign heads of state are invited to address the Bundestag. Earlier this year Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke to German parliament. Benedict is a head of state, so he fits the qualification, but Beck argued that he was first and foremost a religious leader and a head of state after that. He added that he didn’t know which other religious leaders would then need to be invited to address parliament in the interest of religious diversity if Benedict speaks.
Jewish leaders reacted with dismay Sunday to comments in Pope Benedict's new book that his wartime predecessor Pius was a "great, righteous" man who "saved more Jews than anyone else."
Many Jews accuse Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of having turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. The Vatican says he worked quietly behind the scenes because speaking out would have prompted Nazi reprisals against Catholics and Jews in Europe.
from Oddly Enough Blog:
Blog Guy, I'm guessing you lived through the 1960s, a decade known for political turmoil. What's the most important weapon when the people want to protest against the establishment?
Gosh, the '60s were long ago, but I'd say the best weapon is cool logic. When the whole world is watching, argue your points eloquently and factually.
(Photo: Muslim immigrants pray during Eid al-Adha celebrations in front of Athens university November 16, 2010/Yannis Behrakis)
Dozens of far-right activists and local residents threw eggs and taunted hundreds of Muslim immigrants as they gathered to pray in a central square for Eid al-Adha surrounded by a protective cordon of riot police.
Greece, which has become the main immigrant gateway to the European Union, has a growing Muslim community and tensions between locals and incomers have run high in some Athens areas such as Attiki square, the scene of Tuesday's incident.
from Oddly Enough Blog:
Okay lads, it's time we make our protest heard by those bloody politicians. They can't raise our university tuition and get away with it!
Blimey, Nigel, you don't mean... Not the plank!
Yes. You fellows know the drill. Bring me a long wooden plank and a rope. And I need some really stupid chap, stripped naked.
from UK News:
Two events highlighted the past week's Best of Britain photos: Remembrance Day and the protests that made their way inside the Conservative Party headquarters. In a simultaneous mirror of war and peace, there were the somber Remembrance Day vigils honoring those who'd given their lives in war, contrasted with the chaos of student protesters, angry at the Conservative Party's plans for higher tuition fees and cuts to education.
Also included are photos of a girl celebrating Diwali and a scientist showing a new high tech material that can manipulate visible light.
Cost to the taxpayer seems to be the latest target for protesters when Pope Benedict comes to town. After a lively debate about the price the public had to pay for his visit to Britain in September, Spanish protesters have picked up the torch with complaints about the estimated 3.7 million to 5 million euros the state will spend on logistics and security for the pope. And this at a time when Spain is burdened with 20 percent unemployment and is struggling to emerge from recession and austerity measures that have slashed public sector wages.
“I think it’s bad, I mean really bad, to spend so much money on a guy who comes, gives a speech, stays an hour and leaves,” said Pedro Barral Gonzalez, 18, in Santiago de Compostela, the city in northwestern Spain that the pope visited on Saturday.
Muslims in southern Malawi have been burning Bibles in protest against their distribution in Islamic schools by Gideons International, a senior Muslim Association of Malawi official said on Tuesday.
Sheikh Imran Sharif, the association's secretary general, said the burning of Bibles was carried out by a few Muslim fanatics and the association has ordered them to stop. The Muslim protest has been widely criticised in secular Malawi, which has had little religious friction.
(Photo: Supporters and protestors hold a signs while waiting for Pope Benedict to arrive at Westminster Abbey in London September 17, 2010./Suzanne Plunkett)
Pope Benedict is usually greeted by adulating crowds when he travels in Italy and other Catholic countries but he was treated to a mixed reception in London. Protesters, many angered by a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide, shouted "anti-Christ" and "Pope will go to hell" as the pope drove through the heart of London on Friday in a bullet-proof popemobile.
Hundreds booed aggressively as he arrived at Westminster Abbey in London's historic core to celebrate Evening Prayer -- one of the religious focal points of his four-day visit to Britain. Papal supporters at times tried to steal the momentum by chanting "We love you pope" but in most cases were quickly drowned out by boos and whistles.