Far-right anti-mosque rally flops in Germany

September 22, 2008

Poster for anti-mosque protest surrounded by Cologne police, 20 Sept 2008/Ina FassbenderA far-right movement opposed to the construction of a large mosque in Cologne, Germany planned a “Stop Islam” rally there on Saturday. About 1,500 protesters were expected from across Germany, but also from France, Belgium and Austria. Muslim and left-wing groups mobilised. Iran and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference protested. Cologne deployed about 3,000 police. It looked like a major clash was looming.

Split decision in Germany’s “kosher anti-Semitism” case

September 4, 2008

Berlin’s reopened New Synagogue, 10 Oct 2005/Amanda AndersenGermany’s “kosher anti-Semitism” case has ended with a partial victory for the defendant. A court in the western city of Cologne has upheld an injunction banning the prominent German-Jewish writer Henryk Broder from calling another German Jew an anti-Semite. But it said the ban only applied to his blistering personal attack on Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, daughter of the deceased former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Heinz Galinski. If it had been expressed in a more factual way, it said, the statement would have been protected as free speech.

Why do Jews want Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” published in Germany?

April 28, 2008

Mein Kampf in English translation, Educa Books, 2006It sounds counter-intuitive. German Jews want Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf — the 1925 book that spells out his plan for a Nazi state and gives expression to his extreme anti-Semitism — to be published in Germany. The Central Council of Jews in Germany would be ready to help edit the new edition and pressure the Bavarian state government (which owns the rights and blocks publication) to issue it. As our Berlin correspondent Dave Graham reported, Stephan Kramer, the Central Council ‘s general secretary, made the suggestion in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio (here are the DLF text report and audio in German).

Is the pope planning another trip to Germany?

April 3, 2008

Bild logoWhen journalists are all looking one way, a good reporter loves to find a scoop somewhere else. Most religion journalists (uncluding us) are naturally gearing up for the first papal visit to the United States, coming up April 15-20. The popular German daily Bild seems to have scooped us all with its report today that Pope Benedict is planning to visit his native Germany next year.

Evangelical Church in Germany knocks creationism, ID in school

April 2, 2008

EKD logoThe Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has just published a booklet for school teachers urging them not to advocate creationism or intelligent design (ID). That’s “evangelical” as in the German evangelisch (meaning Protestant, mostly Lutheran), and not “evangelical” as it’s more commonly used in the United States. Still, it’s interesting to see that the EKD in Germany, where there are few U.S.-style evangelicals and almost no dispute about the theory of evolution, felt it necessary to issue a 22-page booklet about teaching evolution. It’s called “The Origin of the World, the Theory of Evolution and the Belief in Creation in School” (here in German).

Andi versus al Qaeda — in Germany

March 25, 2008

Andi comic coverIt seems a bizarre tool in the hands of security officials, but German authorities believe a cartoon comic strip can help them get their message across to young people who might be tempted to flirt with militant Islamism. The unusual experiment in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state, has stirred international interest from as far away as the United States and Japan, according to the team behind the idea.

Germany opts not to ban children’s “anti-religious” book

March 7, 2008

Are German authorities right to have decided against banning a children’s book about religion which critics say is subversive and promotes atheism? The book “How do I get to God? asks the little pig” follows a little pink pig and a hedgehog in their quest to find God. In the end, the two creatures decide God would not like any of the religions.

Germany on collision course with Scientology

December 13, 2007

Scientology in HamburgGermany has sought to nurture tolerance as a national characteristic since World War Two, but it doesn’t stretch to the Church of Scientology. A new Forsa poll shows 74 percent of Germans think Scientology should be banned. The survey comes hard on the heels of a declaration from federal and regional ministers that the movement is unconstitutional. That announcement, the culmination of a row with Scientology dating back to the 1970s, opens the way for a possible ban.

Islamic State ‘brand’ gains ground among Asian Muslim militants

September 26, 2014
(Filipino soldiers gather at a seized camp of Abu Sayyaf militants on Jolo island in southern Philippines September 21, 2009. Philippine troops killed more than 30 Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and overran the rebels' main base on a remote island in the south of the country, a top military commander said on Tuesday. Picture taken September 21, 2009. REUTERS/Handout/Western Mindanao Command )

(Filipino soldiers gather at a seized camp of Abu Sayyaf militants on Jolo island in southern Philippines September 21, 2009. REUTERS/Handout/Western Mindanao Command )

German Muslims condemn Islamic State in nationwide day of prayer

September 22, 2014
(Muslims perform Friday prayers on Skalitzer Strasse (street) in Berlin September 19, 2014. More than 2,000 German mosques have invited Germans of all religions to join their Friday prayers to present a united front against the Islamic State to try to dissuade young Muslims from travelling to fight with radical Islamists in Syria and Iraq. REUTERS/Hannibal )

(Muslims perform Friday prayers on Skalitzer Strasse (street) in Berlin September 19, 2014.  REUTERS/Hannibal )