According to two extensive recent opinion polls, majorities across Europe are deeply concerned about Muslim immigration and support an immediate end to it, even as Europeans vastly overestimate the actual Muslim populations of their countries.
Voters in several countries back a complete immigration ban at levels notably higher than those in the United States. Anti-immigration politicians in Poland, Hungary, and elsewhere are gaining ground in Western Europe.
Swastikas found in a children’s playground in London are the latest sign of anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe.
The hand-drawn swastikas appeared on four consecutive days, June 14-17, in a park in the Stamford Hill neighborhood, The Guardian newspaper reported June 20. A home for British Jewish veterans is nearby.
Londoners have elected the son of a Pakistani-born London bus driver as their mayor, making him the first Muslim to govern this city of 8.5 million residents. Sadiq Khan, a 45-year-old Labour Party member, trounced his opponent, the Conservative Party’s Zac Goldsmith, 41, a well-known writer on ecological affairs and son of one of Britain’s wealthiest Jewish businessmen.
A London theater is refusing to host the UK Jewish Film Festival because it receives partial funding from the Israeli Embassy.
But the theater’s artistic director, Indhu Rubasingham, the English-born daughter of Sri Lankan parents, issued a statement Tuesday saying that because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the theater’s board decided not to host the festival under its current sponsorship arrangement.
“The festival receives funding from the Israeli embassy and given the current conflict in Israel and Gaza, we feel it inappropriate to accept financial support from any government agency involved,” she said in a statement. “We offered to provide alternative funding to cover the loss of the contribution from the Israeli embassy. However, the UKJFF decided it was not willing to decline sponsorship from the Israeli embassy and, to our regret, withdrew the festival from The Tricycle.”
The Christian cross has become little more than a piece of jewelry worn around the necks of celebrities, said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
In the foreword to a new book about Christianity, the head of the world’s 85 million Anglicans presents the symbol of Roman torture upon which Jesus died as “the moment of deepest encounter with radical change.”
And he regrets that after 2000 years, the cross has become trivialized.
Prince George is now officially named and an Anglican.
The 3-month old royal baby was christened Wednesday, ritually welcomed into the Church of England as Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, in a private ceremony for close family and friends in the historic chapel of a London royal palace.
His parents, Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge, grandparents, great-grandparents, and seven godparents looked on as the baby was baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in an antique silver font in the Chapel Royal of St. James’s Palace as a small scarlet-and-gold-clad choir sang hymns.
LONDON — Justin Welby was confirmed Monday as the new archbishop of Canterbury at a centuries-old service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, six weeks before his formal enthronement inside Canterbury Cathedral on March 21.
Welby, 57, was a banker and oil executive before his ordination as a priest in 1992, and has served as a bishop for less than a year.
He takes over from Rowan Williams, 62, who returned to academic life at Cambridge University after a decade of turmoil throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion over questions of human sexuality and inside the Church of England over the role of women bishops.
The new archbishop had been the bishop of Durham in northern England for eight months when he was ordered by a still unnamed person in the Church of England to apply for the church’s top job.
Billions will tune into the Summer Olympics in London over the coming weeks, excited to see their favorite athletes competing for those coveted Gold Medals.
Hundreds of thousands more will brave the wind and rain of the traditional British ‘summer’ (this year, summer will officially be on August 13 if you’re interested) to enjoy the Games in person and literally some people will watch the Trampolining (because those were the only tickets that were left, let’s be honest).
Everyone is anticipating a wonderful event with great excitement, which will display the very best of what Britain has to offer.
Excuse me, did you say excitement? Are you having a bubble? [Editor’s note: “bubble” is Cockney rhyming slang for laugh…]
Hear what "average" Londoner Brick-laying Bertha (with an assist from Monty Python's Terry Jones) has to say about this year's games inside the blog.
A 600-foot footrace was the only athletic event at the first Olympics, a festival held in 776 B.C. and dedicated to Zeus, the chief Greek god.
For the next millennium, Greeks gathered every four years in Olympia to honor Zeus through sports, sacrifices and hymns. The five-day festival brought the Greek world together in devotion to one deity.
What began in ancient Greece as a festival to honor a single god, Zeus, has now become an almost Olympian task, as organizers of the games navigate dozens of sacred fasts, religious rituals and holy days.
The London Olympics will try to accommodate religious athletes with 193 chaplains, a prayer room in every venue and a multifaith center in the Olympic Village.
Athletes at the ancient Olympics believed their training honored the gods, and victory was a sign of favor from a deity. As contests like wrestling, boxing, and horse racing were added to the Olympic roster, they supplemented devotional sacrifices, hymns, and ceremonies.
“The idea was that you were training to please Zeus. But part of the festival would be to visit the temple, visit the cult statues, making offerings, celebrating and seeing your family,” said David Gilman Romano, a professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona.
The combination of Greek sport and worship led the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, to ban the Olympics in 393 A.D.
JERUSALEM — Despite international pressure — including support from both U.S. presidential candidates — the International Olympic Committee has refused to include a moment of silence at Friday's (July 27) opening ceremony for Israeli athletes killed by terrorists at the games 40 years ago.
President Obama and his likely GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, have both called for the IOC to honor the 11 Israelis murdered in Munich in 1972.
"We absolutely support the campaign for a moment of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich," Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.
IOC President Jacques Rogge said a smaller, more somber ceremony would better memorialize the tragedy.
IOC officials made a brief statement and held a moment of silence on Monday during a pre-Olympics event in London, where the 2012 games begin on Friday.
"I would like to start today's ceremony by honoring the memory of 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals that have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic Village," Rogge said.
With the Olympics just a few weeks away, Time reports on the fight that has broken out over security for the Games:
"Policing the world’s biggest peacetime logistics operation is a herculean task, and Britain’s intelligence and military officials are preparing for every eventuality — even if it means festooning a few apartment buildings with Rapier missiles.
Nicholas Watt writes for The Guardian:
"Nick Clegg's hopes of reforming the House of Lords, completing a journey begun a century ago by his Liberal predecessors, ran into severe trouble on Tuesday when 91 Tory MPs defied a three line whip to vote against the measure in the largest rebellion of the parliament. A furious David Cameron confronted the leader of the Tory rebellion just outside the House of Commons division lobbies late on Tuesday night as it became clear that normally loyal Tory MPs were determined to register their opposition to House of Lords reform."
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LONDON — Christianity is waning in England and could be outnumbered by nonbelievers within 20 years, according to a new study.
The study conducted by the British Parliament showed there were 41 million Christians in Britain, down nearly 8 percent since 2004. Meanwhile, the number of nonbelievers stood at 13.4 million, up 49 percent over the same period.
Researchers at the House of Commons Library concluded that Christianity had declined to 69 percent of the population while those with no religion increased to 22 percent.
"If these populations continue to shrink and grow by the same number of people each year," the study said, "the number of people with no religion will overtake the number of Christians in Great Britain in 20 years."
The barricades that have kept them out since the park was cleared November 15 are gone and steady streams of protestors are returning to their adopted home.
It remains to be seen whether the camp will be allowed to return to its former glory, or whether the security guards who have been controlling entry to the plaza will keep the returning protestors on a tight leash. According to The Associated Press
One security guard told a group of protesters: "No sleeping bags allowed, either, OK, folks?"
With the opening of the G20 Summit in Cannes, France today, an idea that's been around for awhile is in the news again and gaining more attention as a result of the #OWS movement: The so-called "Robin Hood tax," a minimal tax on all financial transactions with the resulting revenue dedicated to anti-poverty programs....Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, in his response to the occupation of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, endorsed the Vatican proposals. Williams observed that "people are frustrated beyond measure at what they see as the disastrous effects of global capitalism," and urged a full debate on "a Financial Transaction Tax
Baby steppin': Economy grew 2.5 percent in the third quarter. Democrats first offer: $3 trillion for debt. Immigration is a faith issue. Harsh rhetoric to derail the GOP? The canon of St. Paul's Cathedral in London resigns over plans to evict Occupy London protesters. Elizabeth Warren and the #OccupyWallStreet election test.
I prefer my revolutions to be simple: A corrupt dictator/tyrant, an oppressed population, inspired reformers who risk their lives, calls for democracy, waves of marchers in the streets, background music from Les Misérables. The stories from Tunis and Cairo were epochal. The Arab spring was in full bloom as calls for participatory government could be heard from every corner of the Middle East.
Then there was Syria. The Assad government has been infamous in its intolerance to dissent. It is a military regime whose 30-year leadership under Hafez al-Assad (1930-2000) established it as one of the most severe in the region. In 2,000, after the death of Hafez, the world was intrigued to see his second son -- Bashar al-Assad -- ascend the throne. Bashar was an ophthalmologist who had studied in London, but because of his older brother's death in a car accident in 1994, he was called to follow his father. Bashar speaks English and French fluently and has been as critical of the U.S. as he has been of Israel.