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Controversial Berlin Opera Opens Under Tight Security

German police on patrol outside the Deutsche Oper on December 18 (epa) December 19, 2006 -- An opera containing a scene in which the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad is depicted has opened under heavy security in Germany's capital, Berlin.

Police reported no incidents in connection with the Deutsche Oper's staging on December 18 of Mozart's "Idomeneo."

The opera -- which ends with a scene featuring the severed heads of Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, and the Greek god Poseidon -- had been rescheduled after originally being cancelled in September over fears of reprisals by angered Muslims.

(compiled from agency reports)

Islam In A Pluralistic World

Islam In A Pluralistic World

A Muslim woman (left) watches a Christian procession in Madrid in March (AFP)


CONFERENCE ON ISLAM: A major international conference on Islam concluded in Vienna in November 2005 with strong appeals from prominent Muslim leaders to recognize international terrorism as simply "terrorism." Political figures from Islamic countries, including the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that it should never be labeled "Islamic" or "Muslim" terrorism because Islam is based on peace, dialogue, and tolerance. "Salaam" -- meaning "peace" -- was the key word of the three-day conference, titled "ISLAM IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD."
Iraqi President Jalal Talibani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the word in their remarks to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam. Other speakers quoted passages from the Koran to the effect that all men and women, regardless of faith, are creatures of God and should live in peace with each other without discrimination...(more)


Listen to Afghan President HAMID KARZAI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media


Listen to UN special envoy LAKHDAR BRAHIMI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view a thematic webpage devoted to issues of religious tolerance in RFE/RL's broadcast region and around the globe.