Damaged cross above Mol © Jako Klamer (KiN)

How is it determined about the worldwide religious freedom? Where are Christians discriminated against or even persecuted? Prof. Thomas Schirrmacher on unsurprising countries – and states in our neighborhood.

Islamic instruction © Marius Becker

Regensburg Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer has drawn theological opposition with his critical remarks about Islam.

Pope appoints bonner to academy top post

Agricultural scientist von Braun is the new president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The director at the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn appeared on our site surprised by the appointment.

Interviewer: How surprising was it for you that the Pope appointed you president of his scientific academy??

Joachim von Braun (President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences): Quite surprising. I have been a member of the Vatican Academy for only five years, and I was naturally delighted to receive this honorable appointment.

Decongestion necessary

Ahead of the integration summit on Thursday, the German Bishops' Conference's commissioner for interreligious dialogue, Auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, called on Muslims and Christians to show mutual consideration. Parallel societies must not exist, the Hamburg auxiliary bishop emphasized in the "Berliner Zeitung" on Tuesday. At the same time, the Catholic theologian emphasized that the larger Islamic associations are showing a great deal of willingness to integrate. Christians, too, need to help "ease the relationship".

On the possible equality of Islam with Christianity, Jaschke said Muslims still have a long way to go on this point. In the case of a public corporation, it is a matter of clear membership and a tangible catch.Germany is an open society with rights for every person and every group, Jaschke continued. At the same time, however, the "evolved culture" must be preserved. This included Sundays and holidays, churches with bells ringing and religion in the media: "A public muezzin call does not fit into our society," said Jaschke.

Church expects compromise on Cologne mosque dispute

Bishop Oster from Passau is in favor of the cross decree in Bavaria. At least it doesn't bother him – rather, Oster sees the political project as an opportunity for society as a whole; believer or not.

No demand holds as much conflict material for the Islamic-Western relationship as that for religious freedom. According to the UN Charter of Human Rights it has universal validity. Especially the harsh sentences against apostates in Islamic countries – up to executions – show that a consensus is far away.

Else Lasker-Schuler memorial in Wuppertal © Bernd Thissen

The "greatest poet Germany has ever had" – this is how Gottfried Benn once characterized his fellow poet Else Lasker-Schuler. 75 years ago the writer died in Jerusalem.

Former German President Richard von Weizsacker has accused the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit (SPD), of dividing the city after the failed referendum on upgrading religious education. Wowereit rejected the accusation on Wednesday. She said it was wrong and a distortion of the facts to speak of a division of the city in view of the clear defeat of the "Pro Reli" initiative in the referendum last Sunday.

On Friday, Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow will be received by Pope Francis. On our site interview, Ramelow spoke about Francis as a "protesting" pope and the role of the churches in the fight against xenophobia.