An estimated 40,000 German Christians marched through Berlin Saturday, September 11, and commemorated the third anniversary of the terror attacks against the United States, a German evangelical news agency reported.
"Jesus Day is an antidote against terrorism, violence and separation," Rev Axel Nehlsen, chairman of the organizing committee told IDEA news.
This year, 'Jesus Day', one of Germany's largest Christian events, saw crowds march throughout the German capital starting at Berlin's Brandenburg gate. On their way through the city, participants reportedly stopped at six political, commercial, financial, and cultural centers to offer prayers. Near the US-embassy they not only prayed for the roughly 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks, but also for those killed in other acts of terrorism, such as last week's school siege in Beslan, South Russia.
500 participants also took part in a rally of solidarity with Israel and Messianic Jews amid growing concern among both Christians and politicians over escalating anti-Semitism in Europe, including Germany.
As they gathered, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told Berlin's Inforadio he was "alarmed" by strong gains made by the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) in a regional election last Sunday, and by the prospect of the party scoring even better results in two elections on September 19.
"Germany is a free, democratic nation. And everything connecting us to the brown (Nazi) cesspool damages us, damages Germany, and damages our standing with international investors. I hope voters won't give right-wing extremists a chance, " he added.
Even though most of Germany's population of 82 million was born after 1945, the Nazi regime still haunts post-war Germans, and Christians at Berlin's Jesus Day made clear they would not accept a return to the past.