Retired pastor burns himself alive to protest spread of Islam

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

A 73-year old retired pastor, Reverend Roland Weisselberg, burned himself alive during Reformation Day services on Tuesday]in Erfurt, Germany. His self-immolation was apparently in protest against the spread of Islam, which he felt the Protestant church should take more seriously.

His last words were "Jesus and Oskar,", believed to a reference to Oskar Bruesewitz, a priest who burned himself alive to protest the Communist government of East Germany. He was transported to a burns unit in Halle but died en route.

Rev. Weisselberg had lived under Communism in East Germany, and had been a publisher in his former vocation.

Axel Noack, Bishop of Saxony, said that he was shocked at Rev. Weisselberg's self-immolation, stressing that Christians could not accept a "clash of cultures". He confessed that the issue of Islam had been sidelined within the Church and was only spoken about in private. There were few Muslims there with whom they could engage in dialogue, Noack said.