FaithWorld

Mideast Christians urge Arabs lead the fight against Islamic State

(Displaced Iraq Christians who fled from Islamic State militants in Mosul, pray at a school acting as a refugee camp in Erbil September 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

(Displaced Iraq Christians who fled from Islamic State militants in Mosul, pray at a school acting as a refugee camp in Erbil September 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

Middle East Christian leaders called on Muslim governments and religious authorities on Tuesday to condemn Islamic State for its assault on minority religious communities and to take the lead in efforts to destroy its power in Iraq and Syria.

They told a news conference that the reaction so far from Arab countries had been “timid” to the militant group’s killings and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Christians in mnassacres against all religious and ethnic minorities.

“The situation of Christians and other minorities amid the massacres and atrocities of (Islamic State) is dire and our future in the region is at stake,” said Patriarch Ignace III of the Syrian Catholic Church of Antioch.

“The leaders of Arab countries and the Arab League have to stand up and do something.”

Saudi Arabia’s top clerics speak out against Islamist militancy

(An aerial view of the Grand Mosque on the second day of Eid al-Adha in the holy city of Mecca October 16, 2013. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the Haj by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows and camels to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God's command. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

(An aerial view of the Grand Mosque in Mecca October 16, 2013. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Saudi Arabia’s top clerical council, the only body in the country authorised to issue fatwas or Islamic legal opinions, declared on Wednesday that “terrorism is a heinous crime” under Sharia, and perpetrators should be made an example of.

The statement, days after Saudi Arabia and other Arab states pledged in Jeddah to combat militant ideology, was the most comprehensive attack the kingdom’s conservative clergy have made so far on Islamist radicalism and the Islamic State group.

Factory gives SU-35 fighter jet to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill

(Aerobatic teams Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) flying Sukhoi Su-27 and Strizhi flying MiG-29 set off flares above the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Kremlin during a rehearsal for the May 9 victory parade in Moscow May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin )

(Aerobatic teams Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) flying Sukhoi Su-27 and Strizhi flying MiG-29 set off flares above the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Kremlin in Moscow May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin )

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was presented with an unlikely gift for a religious leader this week as he toured a factory in Russia’s far-east – a single-seater fighter jet SU-35.

Kirill was presented with the jet after giving workers at the civilian and military aircraft plant icons blessed by himself, the church said in a statement on its official website on Tuesday.

German Muslims invite all faiths to day of prayer against Islamic State

(A woman watches during her visit at the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab-Moschee mosque at Islamic Maschari-Center at Berlin's Kreuzberg district October 3, 2011. Mosques around Germany participate traditionally on the German unity day to open their mosques to the public. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch )

(A Muslim woman visit s the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab-Moschee mosque at Islamic Maschari-Center in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch )

More than 2,000 German mosques have invited Germans of all religions to join their Friday prayers to present a united front against the Islamic State to try to dissuade young Muslims from traveling to fight with radical Islamists in Syria and Iraq.

Germany’s four main Muslim groups announced their plan on Tuesday in response to concerns that German Muslims are joining IS and returning home with radical ideas and combat experience, posing a domestic security threat.

Chief Rabbi Korsia says French society has turned indifferent to anti-Semitism

(French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia meets with the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris, Sept.. 16, 2014//Tom Heneghan)

(French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia meets with the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris, Sept.. 16, 2014//Tom Heneghan)

France’s government has reacted strongly to a rising tide of anti-Semitic acts this year but French society seems indifferent to the threat they present, the country’s newly elected chief rabbi said on Tuesday.

Haim Korsia, who was elected in June, recalled the huge crowds that demonstrated in Paris in 1990 after a Jewish cemetery was desecrated in the southeastern town of Carpentras.

Philadelphia planning as if Pope Francis is coming in 2015, Chaput says

(Archibishop of Philadelphia Charles Joseph Chaput attends a news conference at the Vatican September 16, 2014. Chaput announced officially that the next World Meeting of Families will be held in Philadelphia from 22 to 27 September in 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Archibishop of Philadelphia Charles Joseph Chaput attends a news conference at the Vatican September 16, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is planning and raising funds as if Pope Francis will visit the city next year for the World Meeting of Families, the city’s Roman Catholic leader, Archbishop Charles Chaput said on Tuesday.

“The Holy Father has expressed an interest in attending if he can do that but we won’t have any official decision until several months prior to the event,” Chaput told a news conference at the Vatican on plans for the meeting.

from The Great Debate:

Avoid a classic blunder: Stay out of religious wars in the Middle East

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Muslims in the Middle East are fighting wars of religion. Like the carnage between Protestants and Catholics that haunted Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century, there is little anyone can do until local peoples crave peace so intensely they are willing to cultivate it.

History shows that outside meddling only intensifies sectarian fury. Stopping internecine war begins at home. President Barack Obama imperils Americans by trying to excise an abscess that can be cured only from the inside out. The decision to re-engage in Iraq, and the wider Middle East, also contradicts the president’s other, bigger objective: to exit the nanny business.

Shi'ite Muslims attend Friday prayers at the Imam Hussein shrine in the holy city of KerbalaThe last time religious aggression swept an entire subcontinent was during the Reformation four centuries ago, when Christians hashed out their hatreds much as Muslims of the Middle East are doing today.

At landmark Berlin rally, German Chancellor Merkel vows to fight anti-Semitism

(German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes an address during an anti-Semitism demo at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate September 14, 2014. Background reads ' Stand up !'. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch )

(German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes an address during an anti-Semitism demo at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate September 14, 2014. Background reads ‘”Stand up ! Never again hatred of Jews! REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

Germany will do all it can to fight anti-Semitism, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech on Sunday, following a surge of abuse against Jews and spreading anti-Israeli sentiment aroused by the Gaza conflict.

Merkel made her pledge to thousands at a landmark rally protesting a rise in anti-Semitism that authorities and Jewish leaders blame mainly on Muslim extremists and young immigrants, saying anyone who attacks Jews is attacking all of Germany.

Pope Francis marries couples who have cohabited, had children

(Pope Francis officiates a mass at the wedding of 20 couples in St.Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, September 14, 2014. REUTERS/Alberto Pizzoli/)

(Pope Francis officiates a mass at the wedding of 20 couples in St.Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, September 14, 2014. REUTERS/Alberto Pizzoli)

Pope Francis married 20 couples on Sunday, some of whom had already lived together and had children, in the latest sign that the Argentine pontiff wants the Catholic church to be more open and inclusive.

In the first wedding he has performed in his 18-month-old papacy, Francis took each couple through their vows in turn — including Gabriella and Guido, who already had children and thought such a marriage would be impossible, official broadcasting service Radio Vaticana said.

Scotland’s ‘Kirk’ appeals for reconciliation after independence vote

(DATE IMPORTED:September 12, 2014The Scottish Saltire flag (L) and the British Union flag are seen outside a shop in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland September 12, 2014. The referendum on Scottish independence will take place on September 18, when Scotland will vote whether or not to end the 307-year-old union with the rest of the United Kingdom. REUTERS/Paul Hackett )

(The Scottish Saltire flag (L) and the British Union flag are seen outside a shop in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland September 12, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hackett )

On the last Sunday before Scotland votes on independence, minister urged Scots from the pulpit to work for reconciliation and avoid recrimination after the referendum.

They offered no guidance, heavenly or otherwise, on which way to vote. But they said it was important that Scots did not shirk from casting a ballot and shaping their future.