Pope Francis takes centre stage in new Filipino musical

By Reuters Staff
December 2, 2014
(Pope Francis gestures as he speaks with journalists on the flight back from Istanbul to Rome, November 30, 2014. Pope Francis said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype. REUTERS/Filippo Monteforte/Pool)

(Pope Francis gestures as he speaks with journalists on the flight back from Istanbul to Rome, November 30, 2014. REUTERS/Filippo Monteforte/Pool)

Sharp rise in Turkish Islamic schooling upsets secular parents

By Reuters Staff
December 2, 2014
(Students of Tevfik Ileri Imam Hatip School hold a scarf as they wait for the arrival of President Tayyip Erdogan for the opening ceremony in Ankara November 18, 2014. Turkey has seen a sharp rise in religious schooling under reforms which Erdogan casts as a defence against moral decay, but which opponents see as an unwanted drive to shape a more Islamic nation. Almost a million students are enrolled in "imam hatip" schools this year, up from just 65,000 in 2002 when Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party first came to power, he told the opening of one of the schools in Ankara last month. The scarf reads, "Stand tall! Turkey is with you." Picture taken November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

(Students of Tevfik Ileri Imam Hatip School hold a scarf as they wait for the arrival of President Tayyip Erdogan for the opening ceremony in Ankara November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

World religious leaders pledge to fight modern slavery

By Reuters Staff
December 2, 2014
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(Pope Francis (front 3rd R) poses with religious leaders during a meeting at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican, 2 Dec 2014. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

from The Great Debate:

What’s behind the effort to make Israel, the ‘Jewish State,’ more ‘Jewish’

By Matt Duss
December 2, 2014

Israel's PM Netanyahu delivers a statement to the media in Jerusalem

With the myriad challenges the Israeli government currently faces – regional turmoil, unrest in Jerusalem, and opposition to a highly contentious budget -- this might seem like an interesting time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promulgate a new law defining Israel’s identity as “the nation state of the Jewish people.” The bill, which was supposed to have been voted on this Wednesday but has now been delayed, would recognize Jewish religious law as an inspiration for legislation, and affirm that, “The right to the fulfillment of national self-determination within the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

Pope Francis says it is wrong to equate Islam with violence

December 1, 2014
(Pope Francis shakes hands with a journalist on the flight back from Istanbul to Rome, November 30, 2014. Pope Francis said Islamic militants were carrying out a "profoundly grave sin against God" in Syria and Iraq, calling on Sunday for inter-religious dialogue and action against poverty to help end the conflicts there. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Pope Francis shakes hands with a journalist on the flight back from Istanbul to Rome, November 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Arab-Jewish “Hand in Hand” school, symbol of Jerusalem co-existence, torched

By Reuters Staff
November 30, 2014
(A worker cleans up in a torched classroom in an Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem November 30, 2014. Suspected Jewish extremists set fire to the classroom, police said on Sunday, targeting a symbol of co-existence in a city on edge over a recent surge in violence. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

(A worker cleans up in a torched classroom in an Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem November 30, 2014. 
REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Pope Francis prays in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

November 30, 2014
(Pope Francis is shown Sultan Ahmet mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque by Mufti of Istanbul, Rahmi Yaran, during his visit to Istanbul November 29, 2014. Pope Francis began a visit to Turkey on Friday with the delicate mission of strengthening ties with Muslim leaders while condemning violence against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Pope Francis is shown Sultan Ahmet mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque by Mufti of Istanbul, Rahmi Yaran, during his visit to Istanbul November 29, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis in Istanbul condemns ‘barbaric violence’ of Islamic State

November 30, 2014
(Pope Francis addresses during a meeting with Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, (not pictured), in Ankara November 28, 2014. Pope Francis begins a visit to Turkey with the delicate mission of strengthening ties with Muslim leaders while condemning violence against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov)

(Pope Francis addresses during a meeting with Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, (not pictured), in Ankara November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov)

Pope Francis slams all forms of fundamentalism and Syria, Iraq persecution

November 28, 2014
(Pope Francis prepares to shake hands with Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, in Ankara November 28, 2014. Pope Francis begins a visit to Turkey with the delicate mission of strengthening ties with Muslim leaders while condemning violence against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov)

(Pope Francis prepares to shake hands with Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, in Ankara November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov)

Nepal devotees sacrifice thousands of animals in Hindu ritual

November 28, 2014
(Sacrificed buffalos lie on the ground of an enclosed compound during the sacrificial ceremony of the "Gadhimai Mela" festival held in Bariyapur November 28, 2014. Sword-wielding Hindu devotees in Nepal began slaughtering thousands of animals and birds in a ritual sacrifice on Friday, ignoring calls by animal rights activists to halt what they described as the world's largest such exercise. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)

(Sacrificed buffalos lie on the ground of an enclosed compound during the sacrificial ceremony of the “Gadhimai Mela” festival held in Bariyapur November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)