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Religion News

No room for Virgin Mary in French public park

Grenoble - A town in eastern France has been ordered to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary to comply with a national ban on religious symbols in public, the local mayor said Saturday.

Polish lawmakers approve change to freedom of assembly

Varsovia - Polish lawmakers on Friday voted to amend the freedom of assembly law to give preference to rallies organised by religious and state institutions over citizen initiatives, sparking human rights concerns at home and abroad.

200,000 Indonesian Muslims protest against Christian governor

Jakarta - More than 200,000 Indonesian Muslims prayed in unison and chanted Koranic verses Friday in the second major demonstration against Jakarta's Christian governor, as conservative groups push for his arrest for allegedly insulting Islam.

Pope Francis urges 'responsible behaviour' to stop AIDS spread

Vatican City - Pope Francis on Wednesday issued a call for "responsible behaviour" to prevent the spread of AIDS without specifying whether that included wearing condoms.

Dutch MPs approve partial ban on burqa wearing in public

Den Haag - Dutch MPs on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to ban the Islamic full-face burqa from some public places such as schools and hospitals, the latest such move in a European country.

US authorities seek authors of hateful letters to mosques

Los Angeles - Authorities in Los Angeles say they are seeking the authors of a series of threatening letters sent to area mosques and urged anyone who had received similar messages to come forward.

Pope to visit Ireland in 2018 says PM Kenny

Vatican City - Pope Francis will visit Ireland in August 2018 for the World Meeting of Families, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Monday after meeting the pontiff in Rome.

Indonesian woman flogged for close proximity with a man

Banda Aceh - An Indonesian woman screamed in agony Monday as she was caned in Aceh, the latest in a growing number of women to be publicly flogged for breaking the province's strict Islamic laws.

Indonesian woman flogged for close proximity with a man

Banda Aceh - An Indonesian woman screamed in agony Monday as she was caned in Aceh, the latest in a growing number of women to be publicly flogged for breaking the province's strict Islamic laws.

Indonesian woman flogged for close proximity with a man

Banda Aceh - An Indonesian woman screamed in agony Monday as she was caned in Aceh, the latest in a growing number of women to be publicly flogged for breaking the province's strict Islamic laws.

Reform hopes as Vatican panel studies female deacons

Vatican City - A papal commission on the role of female deacons met for the first time Friday in a move reformers hope could open the door to women eventually entering the Catholic clergy.As things stand only men can serve as priests or as deacons.

Hooded attacker kills woman in French missionary retirement home

Montferrier-sur-lez - A hooded man wielding a knife murdered a woman at a retirement home for missionaries in southern France triggering a manhunt, with the country still on edge following a string of jihadist attacks.

Pakistan province criminalises 'forced conversions'

Karachi - A Pakistan province Thursday passed a law making "forced conversions" punishable with a life sentence and forbidding minors from changing their religion, a bid to protect minorities in the conservative Muslim country.

Pope and Vietnam president meet in bid to warm ties

Vatican City - Pope Francis hosted Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang at the Vatican as the two work towards warming long-strained ties, a press release from the Holy See said.

Presidential rivals battle for soul of French family

Paris - The battle for France's coveted right-wing presidential nomination has become a contest among two visions of French society: one traditionalist, the other more progressive, but both claiming the mantle of Pope Francis.

Arrest warrants for Iraq journalists over false report

Baghdad - A Baghdad court has issued arrest warrants for two correspondents with a Saudi newspaper over a false news report accusing Iranian pilgrims of sexually harassing Iraqi women.

Prayers return to Iraqi monastery ravaged by IS

- Father Charbel Issu stands before a shattered altar, spreads out his hands and begins leading a group of Kalashnikov-wielding militia fighters in prayer."Our father who art in heaven," they chant."Hallowed be thy name.

Jakarta governor faces grilling over blasphemy allegations

Jakarta - Jakarta's Christian governor was questioned by police Tuesday for the first time since being named a suspect in a blasphemy investigation seen by critics as a test of religious tolerance in Indonesia.

Bid to quieten Muslim call to prayer amplifies Israel tensions

Jerusalem - It is 4:30 am and Mufeed Shawana is rushing to Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the first Muslim call to prayer of the day rings out across the Old City of east Jerusalem.

Turkey blasts Israeli mosque prayer call bill 'insult'

Ankara - Turkey on Monday denounced as "unacceptable" and an "insult" a bill being discussed in the Israeli parliament to limit the volume of calls to prayer at mosques.

Pope gives priests permanent right to pardon abortion

Vatican City - Pope Francis declared Monday that all priests would have the right to forgive abortion, making permanent a temporary measure put in place for the Vatican's jubilee year.

Pope shuts Holy Door after jubilee of hope for sinners

Vatican City - Pope Francis on Sunday brought to a close the Catholic Church's "Year of Mercy," shutting the Holy Door at Saint Peter's after a year in which he raised Mother Teresa to sainthood and took in Syrian Muslim refugees.

Pope's panel on female deacons to meet: report

Vatican City - A commission set up by Pope Francis to study the issue of female Church deacons will meet in Rome for the first time as a full group next week, the National Catholic Reporter said Saturday.

Pope creates 17 cardinals, 'Princes of the Church'

Vatican City - Pope Francis created 17 new cardinals from across the globe on Saturday, elevating them in a time-honoured ceremony to an elite body that advises and elects popes.

Israeli Arabs, Gazans protest against 'quiet mosques' bill

Jerusalem - Hundreds of Muslims in Israel and the Gaza Strip demonstrated on Friday against a bill to limit the volume of calls to prayer at mosques in the Jewish state.

Pope Francis 'not losing sleep' over conservative challengers

Vatican City - Pope Francis has said he is not losing any sleep over a challenge from a group of conservative cardinals who have accused the Argentine of contradicting Church teaching.

Myanmar 'exorcist' in court over deaths of three children

A self-proclaimed sorcerer who allegedly beat three children to death in an exorcism ritual appeared in a Yangon court on Friday, telling reporters he was possessed by a "dark spirit" at the time of the killings.

Argentines wrestle demons at 'exorcism school'

Buenos Aires - Manuel Acuna sprinkles holy water and waves his crucifix, then lays his hand on the sweating, shrieking woman before him.This is not a horror movie.

Israel bid to limit mosque calls to prayer may be revived

Jerusalem - A controversial Israeli bill to limit the volume of calls to prayer at mosques may be revived after it appeared to have been buried thanks to opposition from ultra-Orthodox Jews, reports said Thursday.

Jakarta governor named suspect in blasphemy case

Jakarta - Jakarta's Christian governor was formally named a suspect in a blasphemy investigation on Wednesday, after allegations that he insulted Islam sparked a violent mass protest by Muslim hardliners in the Indonesian capital.
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Muslims protest against insults to Islam.
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