FaithWorld

Pope summons Mideast envoys to Rome over Islamist advance

(A woman prays near pictures of victims who were killed in an attack at the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation, during Christmas eve in Baghdad, in this photo taken December 24, 2010. A French mission to rescue victims of the church massacre in Baghdad has raised questions about the fairness of such operations, with rights groups calling for the rescue of all Iraq's threatened groups, not just Christians. Picture taken December 24, 2010. To match Feature FRANCE-IRAQ/CHRISTIANS REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen )

(A woman prays near pictures of victims who were killed in an attack at the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation, during Christmas eve in Baghdad, in this photo taken December 24, 2010. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen)

Pope Francis, who has expressed alarm over the rise of Islamic State militants and the plight of Christians in the Middle East, has summoned his envoys in the region to a rare meeting to discuss a response to the crisis, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

The Oct. 2-4 gathering will include Vatican ambassadors to Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinians as well as representatives to the United Nations and the European Union.

They will hold talks with more than a dozen top Vatican officials, including Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who addressed the United Nations on the Middle East crisis on Monday.

Earlier this month during a visit to predominantly Muslim Albania, Francis issued a strong criticism of Islamist militants, saying no religious group which used violence and oppression could claim to be “the armor of God”.

Hindu temple in India purified after low-caste chief minister visits

(A temple priest adjusts the shield on a Goddess Durga statue at Veeramakaliamman Hindu temple in Singapore October 31, 2013. The Hindu community will celebrate the Festival of Lights known as Diwali or Deepavali, on November 2. REUTERS/Edgar Su )

(A temple priest adjusts the shield on a Goddess Durga statue at a Hindu temple in Singapore October 31, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su )

The government in the Indian state of Bihar has ordered an investigation after reports that a Hindu temple was cleaned and its idols washed after a visit by the state’s chief minister (governor), who belongs to a lower caste community.

Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, a member of the Musahar community, said he had been told the shrine in Bihar’s Madhubani district was “purified” after he visited it last month.

NFL admits mistake in penalizing Muslim player for post-touchdown prayer

(Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Husain Abdullah (39) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

(Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Husain Abdullah (39) plays against the Oakland Raiders in Kansas City on Oct. 13, 2013. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

The National Football League admitted on Tuesday that Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for sliding on his knees and bowing in prayer after scoring a touchdown.

Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after his touchdown during the Chiefs’ 41-14 rout of the New England Patriots on Monday night.

James Foley photo removed from anti-Islamic bus ads in New York

(People ride a bus through Union Square Park in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York October 30, 2012. Millions of people were left reeling in the aftermath of the whipping winds and heavy rains of the massive storm Sandy on Tuesday as New York City and many parts of the eastern United States struggled with epic flooding and extensive power outages. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

(People ride a bus through Union Square Park in New York October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

A photo of American journalist James Foley shortly before his beheading by the Islamic state militant group is being removed from anti-Islam advertisements appearing on Monday on 100 New York City buses and two subway stations.

In response to a complaint from the Foley family, the advertisement is being altered to include an unidentifiable severed head held by the masked militant seen wielding a knife in the video of Foley’s beheading, said David Yerushalmi, lawyer for Pamela Geller, whose group is sponsoring the ads.

Repeal law punishing gay sex, adultery with lashes in Indonesia’s Aceh, says Amnesty

(People watch as an Acehnese man, one of eight who was found guilty of gambling by a Sharia court, receives a public flogging outside a mosque in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh September 19, 2014. Aceh is Indonesia's only province to have implemented Sharia, or Islamic laws. REUTERS/Junaidi Hanafiah)

(People watch as an Acehnese man, one of eight who was found guilty of gambling by a Sharia court, receives a public flogging outside a mosque in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh September 19, 2014. REUTERS/Junaidi Hanafiah)

Amnesty International called for an immediate repeal of a new law in the Indonesian province of Aceh punishing anyone caught having gay sex or extramarital sex with 100 lashes, saying the legislation would stoke homophobia and harassment.

The law punishes anybody caught engaging in consensual gay sex with 100 lashes, 100 months in jail or a fine of 1,000 grams of gold. It also sets out punishment for sex crimes, unmarried people engaging in displays of affection, adulterous relationships and underage sex.

India arrests 140 for Hindu-Muslim clashes as PM Modi tours U.S.

(A Rapid Action Force (RAF) member fires a tear gas shell to disperse a mob after clashes in Vadodara in the western Indian state of Gujarat September 26, 2014. Authorities in India's Gujarat state arrested at least 40 people after late-night clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the city of Vadodara and suspended mobile phone Internet and bulk text messaging services for four days, officials said on Sunday. Picture taken September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

(A Rapid Action Force (RAF) member fires a tear gas shell to disperse a mob after clashes in Vadodara in the western Indian state of Gujarat September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer)

Police in western India have arrested 140 people after two men were stabbed during violence between Hindus and Muslims that left more than a dozen injured and was triggered by an image posted on Facebook, officials said on Monday.

The violence in the state of Gujarat coincides with a visit to the United States by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is set to meet President Barack Obama later on Monday on a trip emphasizing India’s economic potential.

Two popes attend gathering of the wise and wrinkled at the Vatican

(Pope Francis (R) greets Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before a mass in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican September 28, 2014. Former Pope Benedict will take part in a gathering of elderly people at the Vatican on Sunday, only his third appearance at a public event since he resigned in February 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Pope Francis (R) greets Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before a mass in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican September 28, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Elderly people, including former Pope Benedict, attended a gathering of the wise and wrinkled at the Vatican on Sunday, where Pope Francis denounced the neglect and abandonment of the old as “hidden euthanasia”.

During the festive event in St. Peter’s Square, Francis addressed some 40,000 elderly people — grandfathers, grandmothers, widows and widowers.

Radical Myanmar monk joins hands with Sri Lankan Buddhists

(Buddhist monk Wirathu (C), leader of the 969 movement, talks to media during Venerable U Uttara's hearing, a leader of Buddhists in Britain (not pictured ), at Tarmway court in Yangon June 20, 2014. A Yangon Court today freed five monks, detained and defrocked after raiding a disputed Yangon monastery last week, on bail and allowed them to rejoin Holy Order. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

(Buddhist monk Wirathu (C), leader of the 969 movement, talks to media  in Yangon June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

A radical monk who heads a movement accused of stirring violence against Muslims in Myanmar has announced a partnership with a hardline Buddhist group in Sri Lanka to defend their religion.

The declaration by Ashin Wirathu, who once called himself “the Burmese bin Laden”, was the clearest signal to date of a push to spread the ideology of his controversial 969 movement beyond Myanmar to build a front against Islamist militancy.

Brazil’s evangelicals gain clout and get close to electing first president

(Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Marina Silva waves to journalists as she arrives for a TV debate, in Sao Paulo September 28, 2014. Brazil will be holding its general elections on October 5, 2014, to elect the country's National Congress, president, state governors and state legislatures. REUTERS/Nacho Doce)

(Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Marina Silva waves to journalists as she arrives for a TV debate, in Sao Paulo September 28, 2014. REUTERS/Nacho Doce)

Brazil’s increasingly powerful evangelical Christians are tantalizingly close to electing one of their own as president next month in what would be a historic shift for the world’s largest Catholic nation.

Marina Silva, an environmentalist running neck and neck in polls with incumbent President Dilma Rousseff, is a Pentecostal Christian who often invokes God on the campaign trail and has said she sometimes consults the Bible for inspiration when making important political decisions.

French Muslims denounce “cowardly murder” of tour guide in Algeria

(Muslims, holding French and Algerian flags, attend a gathering in front of the Paris Mosque after Friday prayers September 26, 2014 to pay tribute to Herve Gourdel, a French mountain guide who was beheaded by an Algerian Islamist group. Thousands of French Muslims, who at 5 million make up about eight percent of the population, are set to rally across the country on Friday to protest Islamic State, which many say does not represent their religion. The placards read "# Not in my name". REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen)

(Muslims, holding French and Algerian flags, attend a gathering in front of the Paris Mosque after Friday prayers September 26, 2014 to pay tribute to Herve Gourdel, a French mountain guide who was beheaded by an Algerian Islamist group. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen)

Thousands of Muslims gathered across France on Friday to denounce the beheading of tourist Herve Gourdel by militants in Algeria who said their act was a response to French strikes against Islamic State fighters.

France’s five-million-strong Muslim population is the largest in Europe. Some on the French right have suggested the community has not condemned Gourdel’s murder this week strongly enough, a charge its leaders reject.