Religion news from around the world in brief

Published: Sunday, Dec. 4 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

Jewish group applauds arrest of former KKK leader David Duke

BERLIN — An American Jewish group is applauding German police for taking former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke into custody before he could address a far-right gathering.

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said Wednesday the move "sends an important signal that firm action against those who advocate hate must remain central to Germany's moral and legal agenda."

Cologne police say Duke, 61, was taken into custody Friday before his speech for breaking a travel ban to many European nations, including Germany.

They say the U.S. resident was released and forced to leave the country and they do not know where he is now.

Duke's website called the incident "thuggish communist-style oppression to suppress the right-wing."

— Associated Press

Santa Fe archdiocese agian opposes any driver's license repeal effort

SANTA FE, N.M. — The city's Roman Catholic archbishop said he will oppose any further attempt by Gov. Susana Martinez to repeal a state law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan said Tuesday the archdiocese does not condone people breaking the law, but state residents should welcome those who are already here.

Sheehan believes the archdiocese's position helped sway public opinion in favor of keeping the law. Martinez has tried twice to repeal the law and has vowed to try again during the next session.

New Mexico is one of only three U.S. states to issue driver's licenses to people in the country illegally.

— Associated Press

Court rules students in berlin don't have right to pray in school

BERLIN — Germany's top administrative court ruled Wednesday that students don't have the right to pray while in school if a conflict is created.

The court upheld a decision by a lower court which had denied that right to a Muslim student who had demanded a private prayer room at his Berlin high school.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig said while the decision did not prohibit students in general from praying during breaks, the Berlin student did not have a right to pray.

The court said praying should be banned if the religious act can cause religious conflicts at the school — which it said was the case at the Berlin school. The court also said the creation of a separate prayer room would go beyond the capacities of the Berlin school.

— Associated Press

Jailed Muslims say they've had to push for their religious needs

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A group of Muslim inmates say they have had to push prison staff to accommodate Islamic religious observance even though state policy requires the prisons to meet special religious needs.

Gregory Sierras, an inmate, said he had to pressure staff at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport to hold Friday prayer services and allow Muslim inmates to receive pre-dawn and after-dusk meals during Ramadan.

"They have this backward idea of what Islam is," said Sierras, who has since been transferred to the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. "We're not allowed to make our prayers together, we're not allowed to congregate."

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