73 year old Pastor burns himself in Islam protest
Berlin (Germany), November 1, 2006: A retired protastant pastor Rev. Roland Weisselberg had climbed into a construction site adjacent to the Augustinerkloser church in the city of Erfurt on Tuesday, 31st of October, while Reformation Day services were being carried out. He doused himself in gasoline and then set himself alight. He died in the burns unit at the city of Halle.
At a news conference, the provost of the church, Elfried Begrich said that Rev. Ronald Weisselberg had detailed in a letter that the Protestant church should be more aware of the threat posed by the spread of Islam.
He had said before he covered himself in petrol: "Jesus and Oskar." This is assumed to be a reference to Oskar Bruesewitz, a priest who burned himself alive in 1976 to protest against the communist government of East Germany.
Reverend Weisselberg had lived under the communist regime of East Germany, and had worked as a publisher before becoming priest. Axel Noack, the bishop of Saxony said that he was shocked at Rev. Weisselberg's self-immolation. Noack stressed that Christians could not accept a "clash of cultures". He admitted that the issue of Islam had been sidelined within the church, and in the east of Germany, it was only spoken about in private. There were few Muslims there with whom they could engage in dialogue, Noack claimed.