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Religion News

Muslims caught in Austrian election crossfire

Vienna - As Austrians grow more openly hostile towards Muslims, major political parties are deliberately brandishing Islamophobia in the Catholic majority country ahead of next month's parliamentary election.

Afghanistan arms civilians to protect mosques during holy month

Kabul - Afghanistan is arming hundreds of civilians nationwide to help protect mosques during one of the holiest months on the Islamic calendar after several deadly attacks on Shiite religious sites.

Condom ad featuring ex-porn star Sunny Leone stokes anger in India

Ahmedabad - Indian authorities tore down dozens of billboards Tuesday after a slew of complaints over an advertisement depicting a former porn star promoting condoms ahead of a major Hindu festival.

Baha'is welcome release of member imprisoned in Iran

Geneva - The Baha'i community on Tuesday welcomed the release of a member serving a 10-year prison term in Iran, but expressed concern for six co-religionists tried alongside her.

Brazil's economy needs your prayers: minister

Rio De Janeiro - Brazil's economy has taken such a battering that veteran Economy Minister Henrique Meirelles wants serious help: your prayers.

Shanghai temple moves 2,000-tonne hall on rails

Shanghai - The main hall and statues of a century-old Buddhist temple in central Shanghai have been moved 30 metres (100 feet) on rails to ease crowding at the popular site.

Indian priest thankful, even to abductors, after release from Yemen

Rome - An Indian priest kidnapped last year during a deadly attack by Islamist militants in Yemen thanked on Saturday all those involved in his release, and even had a kind word for his abductors for not harming him.

Vatican recalls diplomat from US in child porn probe

Vatican City - The Vatican has recalled a priest serving as an envoy in Washington and opened a child pornography investigation after US officials asked the church to lift his diplomatic immunity.

Russia's 'Orthodox Taliban' sows fear over racy tsar biopic

Moscow - Few in Russia took it seriously when hardline conservatives began protesting an upcoming biopic about an affair between tsar Nicholas II and a ballerina.

Israeli MP quits under fire after attending gay wedding

Jerusalem - An ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israeli lawmaker quit his seat on Wednesday under fire from religious colleagues and rabbis for attending a gay relative's wedding, his daughter said.

Israel ruling on army service for religious sparks anger, debate

Jerusalem - An Israeli Supreme Court decision that could force ultra-Orthodox citizens to serve in the army like their secular counterparts sparked anger from religious leaders Wednesday and reignited a sensitive political debate.

India complains over 'offensive' Australian lamb commercial

Sydney - India has lodged an official complaint over an Australian advertisement that features the Hindu god Ganesha and other religious icons endorsing lamb.

Myanmar mob stones Muslim home amid Rohingya crisis

Yangon - Police fired rubber bullets to break up a mob which stoned the home of a Muslim butcher in central Myanmar, authorities said Monday, as religious tensions rise amid a surge of violence in the west.

Christchurch's quake-hit cathedral to be rebuilt

Wellington - Heritage groups in New Zealand on Monday welcomed a decision to rebuild Christchurch's Anglican cathedral, six years after it was extensively damaged in a deadly earthquake.Much of the late 19th Century neo-Gothic structure collapsed in the 6.

Australia gay marriage debate highlights church divisions

Sydney - As Australia prepares for a contentious postal vote on legalising gay marriage, fierce divisions have emerged within the church, with many Christians disregarding traditional religious views as outdated.

Muslim nations condemn Myanmar's 'brutal acts'

Astana - The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday condemned Myanmar for "systematic brutal acts" against its Muslim Rohingya minority and asked it to accept international monitors.

French pranksters replace holy water with alcohol

Besan - Tourists visiting a church in the picturesque French town of Chateau-Chalon were surprised to discover that local pranksters had replaced the fonts' holy water with alcohol, the local tourism office said Friday.

Philippine cardinal condemns drug killings, orders bells rung

Manila - The Philippines' most senior Catholic Church leader on Friday denounced thousands of killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war and ordered the ringing of church bells each night to honour the dead.

China tightens restrictions on religious freedom

Bejing - China has tightened regulations on religious freedom, intensifying punishments for unsanctioned activities and increasing its supervision of certain groups in a bid to "block extremism" and tackle what it sees as internal threats.

Thousands marry in Unification Church wedding

Gapyeong - Thousands of Unification Church couples took part in a mass wedding Thursday to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of its founder Sun Myung Moon, revered as a messiah by his followers.

Washington National Cathedral to remove windows of Confederate generals

Washington - The Washington National Cathedral is to remove two stained glass windows honoring Confederate generals following last month's deadly violence at a white supremacists' rally, church leaders said on Wednesday.

Hardline Colombia Catholics shun 'false prophet' pope

Bogota - Though millions may turn out to wave at Pope Francis when his popemobile rolls through Colombia's streets this week, one group of people will not be smiling -- or even watching.

India's top court tells government to stop cow vigilantes

New Delhi - India's top court proposed measures Wednesday to stem what it called growing violence by vigilantes who claim to be protecting cows, revered as holy by Hindus.

Rioting video sparks anti-Muslim rage in China

Bejing - Chinese internet users bombarded government social media accounts Wednesday with thousands of anti-Islamic messages in response to unverified videos showing rioting involving Muslims.

Churches condemn attempts to 'weaken' Christians in Jerusalem

Jerusalem - The leading churches in Jerusalem issued a rare joint statement Tuesday condemning what they called "systematic" Israeli attempts to "weaken the Christian presence" in the city.

Majority of Britons have no religion: survey

London - Britain is becoming an increasingly faithless society, according to a new survey that found 53 percent of people now describe themselves as having no religion.

Straight outta Colombia: nun raps for pope

Cali - A Colombian nun-turned-rapper in sports sneakers will perform for Pope Francis when he visits her country this week.

Buddhists and Hindus flee Myanmar's sectarian clashes

Cox's Bazar - Village chief San Tun's remote Mro tribe used to get by foraging in the Myanmar jungle, living among the patchwork of ethnic groups who co-existed imperfectly in Rakhine state.But last month murder visited his community.

Pope Francis: 5 key causes in Latin America

Vatican City - Pope Francis visits Colombia next week on the latest in a series of emotionally charged trips to his home region of Latin America.

Venezuela official calls on pope to pressure Maduro

Caracas - Venezuela's legislative speaker called on Pope Francis on Thursday to plead with President Nicolas Maduro to allow food aid to reach the country's destitute.
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The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo  Chile.
The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo, Chile.
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The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo  Chile.
The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo, Chile.
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A billboard advertising The Freedom From Religion Foundation
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The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo, Chile.
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The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo, Chile.
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The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo  Chile.
The “Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations” in the city of Coquimbo, Chile.