Continuation despite tensions

Islamic instruction © Frank Rumpenhorst

Despite recent differences, North Rhine-Westphalia’s state government plans to continue cooperating with the controversial German-Turkish umbrella organization Ditib on Muslim religious instruction for now.

Pope Francis during Mass in Port Louis, Mauritius © Alessandra Tarantino

Integrity of creation, peace and interreligious dialogue – these aspects are the focus of Pope Francis’ current trip to Africa. Father Hans Vocking draws a first interim balance before the last station Mauritus.

According to the Protestant theologian Margot Kabmann, the Islamist attack in Vienna is a "serious setback," especially for liberal Muslims. "These terrorists want to strike fear into the free world," she stressed.

The children's aid organization unicef has drawn attention to the dramatic situation of children in the Gaza Strip. Every third victim in Gaza is a child, UNICEF said in Cologne on Wednesday. Children and women suffered particularly hard from the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier calls for a humanitarian ceasefire, at least for a short time.

According to the Palestinian Authority, 292 children were among the 952 killed, he said. According to the Israeli government, since 27 September. Four Israeli civilians killed and 255 injured in December, aid agency says.unicef appealed to the parties to the conflict to stop the bloodshed and remove civilians from the crossfire. Israel and the Palestinians should support the diplomatic efforts of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for an immediate ceasefire.According to unicef, humanitarian ceasefire is not enough to feed population. Child and baby food are no longer available. The aid options of the ten UNICEF staff members are limited, he said. Nevertheless, according to UNICEF, in the past three days, the staff members have sent 65.000 bottles of drinking water and water purification materials for 5.000 families provided.

Steinmeier warns of humanitarian disaster in Ga Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) warns of a humanitarian catastrophe in the face of almost three weeks of fighting in the Gaza Strip. "The fighting must stop, the weapons must be silenced," Steinmeier told the Bundestag in Berlin on Wednesday. He said this could include a short-term humanitarian ceasefire, which he plans to promote again in the Middle East starting Thursday.A prerequisite for a lasting ceasefire is to guarantee Israel an increased level of security, Steinmeier said more. The border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip must be made more secure and the smuggling of weapons for the radical Islamic Hamas must be stopped. At the same time, he said, it is important to open the border crossings from Gaza to Israel to ensure a permanent supply.Steinmeier again offered German aid to resolve Middle East conflict. The minister made clear that this was not about German participation in an international mission in the Gaza Strip, but about material and personnel aid for Egypt.

This Wednesday, former federal interdiction judge Paul Kirchhof turns 75. In the interview, he talks about the relationship between state and church in Germany and how to deal with Islam, among other things.