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from Tales from the Trail:

State Dept: church Koran burning plan”un-American”

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There have been lots of angry words over plans by an obscure Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

But State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley pulled out the biggest gun of all on Tuesday in his effort to distance the government from the pastor's incendiary proposal -- he called it "un-American."

"We are conscious that a number of voices have come out and rejected what this pastor and this community have proposed," Crowley told a news briefing. "We would like to see more Americans stand up and say 'this is inconsistent with our American values.' In fact these actions themselves are un-American."

"Un-American" is not an epithet that trips lightly off the tongue for U.S. government spokespeople, carrying as it does the tang of the 1950's witchhunt for alleged communist sympathizers  spearheaded by the House Un-American Activities Committee.AFGHANISTAN/

from FaithWorld:

Far-right anti-mosque video game triggers outrage in Austria

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The picturesque Austrian province of Styria is overrun by huge mosques with minarets, if you are to believe an online video game designed for the far-right Freedom Party ahead of regional elections on September 26.

In a shooting range-style game, players have 60 seconds to collect points by putting a target over animated mosques and minarets that emerge from the Styria countryside and clicking a “Stop” sign. They also have the chance to eliminate bearded muezzin who call Muslims to prayer.

from Photographers' Blog:

Religious Imam, reality TV star and dream son-in-law?

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When a friend told me about the "Young Imam" reality TV show, I thought it must be just another 'preaching and nagging' religious program.

But when another friend of mine jokingly said "the young imams are dream son-in-laws", I decided I should take a peek into this phenomenon. While I could understand why Mawi became a heartthrob of teenage girls after he won the Malaysian version of American Idol but, a religious TV program doesn't usually catch on in Malaysia.

from Good, Bad, and Ugly:

Rabbi’s remarks…

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Abbas, Palestinians should die: Israeli rabbi

rabbi 280JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An influential Israeli rabbi has said God should strike the Palestinians and their leader with a plague, calling for their death in a fiery sermon before Middle East peace talks set to begin next week.

"Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this earth," Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual head of the religious Shas party in Israel's government, said in a sermon late on Saturday, using Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's popular name.

from Good, Bad, and Ugly:

Was religion relevant?

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Jakarta introduces women-only trains to avoid groping

INDONESIA/JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - Women-only train carriages were launched this week in Jakarta in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, in an attempt to avert groping and sexual harassment on packed commuter trains.

Your editors are showing their anti-Islamic bias again.

The first paragraph gratuitously labels Indonesia "the world's most populous Muslim nation." This is irrelevant to the story, unless you wanted to deliberately link "Muslims" with "groping". Why else would you include those words?

from Our Take on Your Take:

Children in the month of Ramadan

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A Muslim woman feeds her child as others pray in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 2010.  Your View/Edin Tuzlak

A girl waits to receive food during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the grand mosque in Gavzin, Iran, August 2010.  Your View/Mohammad Shiri

This week saw a wide range of submissions illustrating events marking the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. These three selected images have another common theme as they capture children involved in those events.

View this week's Your View showcase here.

A Palestinian boy walks in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem August 2010.   Your View/Shlomit Or Gama

from Tales from the Trail:

Poll shows Americans are confused on Obama’s religion

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USA-POLITICS/OBAMAA year and a half  into his presidency, Americans appear to be growing more uncertain about Barack Obama's religion.

A Pew Research Center survey shows that nearly one in five Americans -- 18 percent -- believe Obama is a Muslim, up from 11 percent in March 2009.  Meanwhile only about one third of Americans surveyed correctly describe Obama as a Christian, a sharp decrease from the 48 percent who said he was a Christian in 2009.

from Good, Bad, and Ugly:

Last rites?

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Zsa Zsa Gabor asks for last rites

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 15 (Reuters Life!) - Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, a fixture in Hollywood for six decades, asked that a priest read her the last rites on Sunday, following hospitalization two days earlier due to complications from hip surgery.

PEOPLE-GABOR/You are a little out of date - there is no longer a sacrament of the 'last rites.'

from Good, Bad, and Ugly:

Backing the mosque?

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Obama backs controversial New York mosque project USA-NEWYORK/MOSQUEWASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday backed construction of a proposed mosque and Muslim cultural center near the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York -- a project opposed by conservatives and many New Yorkers.

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," Obama said to applause at an event attended by diplomats from Islamic countries and members of the U.S. Muslim community.

It is flat-out dishonest to have a title that says "Obama backs controversial New York mosque project" but it is drawn directly from the dishonest story itself.

from FaithWorld:

Christian-themed TV shows spark complaints in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon

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saudi tv 1Television shows with Christian themes have sparked complaints in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon in recent days, but from different groups and for different reasons.

In Saudi Arabia, a popular sitcom has drawn the ire of conservative clerics over an episode portraying Arab Christians in a positive light after the kingdom sought to sell itself as a leader of dialogue between faiths.

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