BERLIN: A retired Protestant minister died Wednesday of burns after setting himself on fire, apparently to express his concern over the spread of Islam, a church official said.
The Rev. Roland Weisselberg, 73, climbed into a construction site next to the Augustinerkloser church in the city of Erfurt, poured gasoline over himself and set himself on fire Tuesday during Reformation Day church services, said church provost Elfried Begrich at a news conference.
Weisselberg said in a letter that Germany’s Protestant church should take the problem of the spread of Islam more seriously, said Begrich. He had spoken about the issue more and more over the past several years, according to Begrich.
Before dousing himself, she said Weisselberg shouted “Jesus and Oskar,” which was taken as an apparent reference to the Rev. Oskar Bruesewitz, who set himself on fire in 1976 as an apparent protest against the communist government then in power in East Germany.
Weisselberg was taken to a burn clinic in the city of Halle, where he died.