Photo: Orthodox Easter Marks Essence of Life

Time: 6:53 p.m. CEST

Photography by Aleksandra Dukovska

Believers prayed during morning liturgy in the Orthodox churches in Macedonia to mark Orthodox Easter after 40 days of lent fasting. Gathered people listened to the canonical gospels of John (John 1:1-17) and Luke (Luke 1:1-8) before Holy Communion. In the message for the Orthodox Easter, Archbishop Stephen of Ohrid and Macedonia said, “Macedonian people knew that without God and without the Church would not make anything. They knew and firmly believed that only with God’s help everything can be endured and that only with God’s blessing the good for all is possible. Therefore, we, today’s children of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, we should not forget that reverence and virtuousness are two basic rules we need to act upon.”


US President Trump Calls Anti-Semitic Threats ‘Horrible’

Time: 7:34 p.m. CEST

Latest information about damaged headstones at a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis provoked reactions to condemn the anti-Semitic actions. The U.S. President Donald Trump called the actions “horrible,” responding to criticism that the White House did not denounce the threats to Jewish institutions.

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible, are painful, and a very sad remainder of the work that still must be done to rude out hate and prejudices and evil,” Trump said after the visit to Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Hillary Clinton reacted calling Trump mentioning presidential official handle on Twitter. “Jewish Community Centers threats, cemetery desecration and online attacks are so troubling and they need to be stopped,” Clinton tweeted.

More than 170 Jewish graves were toppled at a cemetery in Missouri and on Monday, the Anti-Defamation League reported on threats against the Jewish Community Centers in different states. Police in University City launched an investigation. A groundskeeper found gravestones overturned when he arrived at the cemetery on Monday. The site, established in 1888, represents historic evidence for the activities and help by the Russian Jewish community in St. Louis.

President Obama Praised Muslim Americans In Speech at Islamic Society In Baltimore

Time: 9:25 p.m. CEST

President Barack Obama entered into Islamic Society in Baltimore during his first visit ever to a Muslim religious place inside the United States. In Baltimore, Maryland, on Wednesday, Obama explained the contribution of Muslims to the United States and made it as a counterpoint to heated rhetoric created after recent events involving Muslims across the U.S.

During a speech before the Muslim Americans in Baltimore, Obama tried as a president, not only to appeal to one of the basic principles of the American society – religious freedom – but also to share his view as a Christian for the importance to overcome differences and work on diversity.

President Obama pointed out that, “a lot of Americans have never visited a mosque.” He appealed to the residents of the United States, “to the folks watching this today who have think of your own church, or synagogue, or temple. And a mosque like this will be very familiar. This is where families come to worship and express their love for God and for each other.”

Deep connection with Islam religion and the United States Obama located even in the thinking of the Founding Fathers. “Thomas Jefferson explained that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom he wrote was designed to protect all fates. And I am quoting Thomas Jefferson now: “The Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan.” Jefferson and John Adams have their own copies of the Koran, Obama said.

The President expressed the gratitude for the generations of Muslim Americans who “helped to build our nations. They were part of the flow of immigrants who became farmers and merchants.”

Obama referred to the news and movies, which sometimes does not reflect the Muslim characters.

“Our television shows should have the Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security. It is not hard thing to do. Although, there was a time when there were no Black people on television, and you can tell good stories while representing the reality of our communities,” Obama said.

But, the centerpiece of the address at the Islamic Society of Baltimore was the common fight against religious extremism. “Even though overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims embraces Islam as a source of peace, it is undeniable that a small fraction propagates a perverted interpretation of Islam,” Obama explained.

“This is the truth. Force like al-Qaida, ISIL are not first extremists in history to misuse God’s name. We have seen across faiths, but right now, there is organized, extremist element that draw selectively from Islamic tests, twist them in order to justify their killing and their terror,” Obama said.

“Groups like ISIL are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders and holy warriors who speak for Islam.  I refuse to give them legitimacy.  We must never give them that legitimacy. They’re not defending Islam.  They’re not defending Muslims.  The vast majority of the people they kill are innocent Muslim men, women and children, ” Obama explained.

 Obama appealed to the freedom of religion. “If we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country — we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths,” Obama said.

The tragedies in Boston, Chattanooga, and San Bernardino echoed in Obama’s address. Obama said that those extremist elements “combine with false claims that west and America are at War with Islam.” Even though, this warped thinking is there and crates pressures and tensions that burden the overwhelming majority of citizens, Obama emphasized that majority of the Muslim Americans are most resilient and patriotic Americans you will ever meet.

The President appealed to Muslims around the world. “Across the Islamic world, influential voices should consistently speak out with an affirmative vision of their faith. And it’s happening.  These are the voices of Muslim clerics who teach that Islam prohibits terrorism, for the Koran says whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind,” Obama said.

In the United States, according to Pew Research Center, live 2.75 million Muslims.

Related remarks:

President Obama to Visit Mosque in Baltimore

Time: 9:22 p.m. CEST

President Barack Obama on Wednesday will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque, the White House says, as Reuters reports. It will be a first visit as a president to a U.S. mosque in a defense of religious freedom. Obama will have a roundtable with the community and deliver remarks, according to White House official on Saturday. At the mosque, the president will “reiterate the importance of staying true to our core values – welcoming our fellow Americans, speaking out against bigotry, rejecting indifference, and protecting our nation’s tradition of religious freedom,” the official said, as Reuters says. Obama visited mosques during foreign trips. The President appealed to Americans to refute anti-Muslim comments.

Muslims Could Be Majority in Macedonia by 2050, Study Reveals

Time: 9:33 a.m. CEST

Muslims in the Republic of Macedonia could outnumber the Christians in the country by 2050, according to a report published by the Pew Research Center in April 2015.

With 59, 3 % of most Christian population in 2010, Macedonia could gain majority of Muslim population of 56.2 % by 2050, as the study The future of world religion: Population world projections, 2010-2050 reveals.

However, Macedonia is not alone in sharing this trend, where the countries could have a different religious majority in 2050 than they did in 2010.

Countries That Will No Longer Have a Christian Majority in 2050

As the study show, the some countries with Christian majorities could decline from 159 to 151, as the Christians will drop below 50% of the population in Australia, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom.

The study of the Pew Research Center reveals that Muslims in 2050 could be more than 50% of the population in 51 countries, two more than 2010, as both the Republic of Macedonia and Nigeria are projected to have a very large Christian population.

However, the study notifies Nigeria will have a very large Christian population, as it is projected to have third largest Christian population in the world by 2050, after the United States and Brazil. But, France, New Zealand and the Netherlands are expected to be unaffiliated in terms of the religious dominance in the countries.

Overall, as the National Public Radio writes, by the end of the century, Muslims could outnumber Christians for the first time in history, as Pew Research Center says. NPR says, Christianity is the world’s largest religion and represents a third of the world’s population with 2.2 billion adherents.

Long-Term Projections of Christian and Muslim Shares of World’s Population

The study informs that Islam grows faster than other religions and by 2050 it will make up 30 percent of the world population. As Pew Research Center explains, Muslims could nearly equal the number of Christians by 2050, and if Islam’s growth spurt continues, Muslims could outnumber Christians soon after the year 2070.

As the study explains, “by 2050, nearly a quarter of Europeans (23%) are expected to have no religious affiliation, and Muslims will make up about 10% of the region’s population, up from 5.9% in 2010.” The Christianity would shift toward sub-Saharan Africa, with nearly 40 percent of the world’s Christianity by 2050, which is different from 2010, when 25.5 percent of the Christian population populated Europe.

Report acknowledges that Jews are tiny part of the global population with projected decline not visible “when percentages are rounded to one decimal place.” According to the study, Jews comprised 0.20% of the world’s population in 2010 and are projected on 0.17% in 2050.

A Rally at Phoenix Islamic Community Center Instigates National Media Attention

Time: 9:13 a.m. CEST

Peaceful, but heated atmosphere marked the rally in front of the Islamic Center in Phoenix were police separated two groups of protesters and activists.

A rally targeting the Islamic faith altered occasional immigration protests in Phoenix. On Friday, relatively peaceful community of 1,5 million populated Phoenix attracted national media attention in the United States with a rally organized by a former Marine.

Jon Ritzheimer, who organized the event on Facebook and his supporters protested across the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, but faced counter protesters with slogans about religious tolerance. Ritzheimer goal was to “expose the true colors of Islam.”

Police was in the middle of the street and keep both groups separated. CNN affiliate KPHO said police chief Joe Yahner worked to arrange the public safety of the event. “There are a lot of things in the works. The intelligence related to the crowd is changing all the time,” Yahner told KPHO.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appealed for “common sense to prevail in the event.”

On Friday, AZ Central, the online edition of the main newspaper in Arizona reports, Ritzheimer said on Friday, “that he was hoping to inspire more freedom of speech rallies.” He justified his cause “this is about freedom of speech across America.” But, only a part of those expressed willingness to attend to the event on the Facebook page, really responded to appear.

Ritzheimer and his supporters witnessed counter protesters who in turn responded to the calls on social media content with the hashtag #NotMyAmerica and #PhxMosque. Counter protesters expressed solidarity with the Muslim community.

Usama Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, near Interstate 17 and Glendale Avenue advised ignoring people “who try to provoke you,” AZ Central writes. Shami expressed the worries of the Arizona Muslim leaders demonstration could represent another form of the anti-Muslim sentiment in America.

But, the Islamic community said is not intimidated.

“The Muslim community in America is here to stay and we are also well aware of the right to speak out our mind and worship how we please,” CNN reported the statement of Dr. Yasir Shareef, a board member of the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

However, Imraan Siddiqi another member of this organization, said that recently the mosques in Phoenix received “threatening letters.”

According to the Facebook page of the event, the protest was “in response to the recent attack in Texas.” The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix is the mosque, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi visited, reports CNN. Both drove to Dallas from Arizona and shoot during the Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest. But, police killed them both.

On Friday, the White House also said they are monitoring the situation in Phoenix. Asked by the ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl about situation in Phoenix, the White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, “The Department of Homeland Security has been in touch with state and local law enforcement authorities to monitor the situation in Phoenix.”

“Even expressions that are offensive, that are distasteful, and intended to sow divisions in an otherwise tight-knit, diverse community like Phoenix, cannot be used as a justification to carry out an act of violence, and certainly can’t be used as a justification to carry out an act of terrorism,” Earnest said on Friday.

In parallel events away of Phoenix, an activist and conservative blogger Pamela Geller of New York engaged herself with showing cartoons of Mohammed in the transit system, but the Washington Metro voted to stop “showing issue-oriented ads throughout its system.” Geller organized the contest in Dallas for Mohhamed cartoons, where Simpson and Soofi died by the police.

Islam mostly forbids painting or showing of the face of the prophet Mohhamed.