Pope Francis meets top Egyptian cleric, ending five-year freeze in relations

May 23, 2016
Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb (L), Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, at the Vatican May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi

(Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb (L), Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, at the Vatican May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi)

Pope Francis criticises West for trying to export own brand of democracy to Iraq and Libya

May 18, 2016
Pope Francis gestures at the end of the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSETG8

(Pope Francis gestures at the end of the weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi)

Thailand issues arrest warrant for Buddhist abbot in graft investigation

May 18, 2016
Abbot Phra Dhammachayo (C) arrives for a ceremony at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok on Makha Bucha Day, March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

(Abbot Phra Dhammachayo (C) at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok on Makha Bucha Day, March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

Muslim states block gay groups from U.N. AIDS meeting, U.S. protests

May 18, 2016
A pedestrian walks across a rainbow pedestrian crossing painted on Sydney's Oxford street, the city's main gay district April 4, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray

A pedestrian walks across a rainbow pedestrian crossing painted on Sydney’s Oxford street, the city’s main gay district April 4, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray

Buddhist monk hacked to death in Bangladesh in latest killing

May 16, 2016
(Moheshkhali Buddhist monastery in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, 8 January 2008/Muntasir Du)

(Moheshkhali Buddhist monastery in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 8 January 2008/Muntasir Du)

Vatican plays down expectations over women deacons in Catholic Church

May 16, 2016
A general view of St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis leads a mass to mark opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, at the Vatican, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/Files

(A general view of St. Peter’s Square, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

The Vatican played down on Friday expectations that Pope Francis might be ready to ordain women as deacons after he had raised hopes among liberal Catholics by promising to set up a commission to study the issue.

Islamic finance prepares rules for awqaf and zakat charitable funds

May 16, 2016
(HEH Nizam's Religious Trust and Awqaf Office in Hyderabad, India, 11 January 2016/Muzammil)

(HEH Nizam’s Religious Trust and Awqaf Office in Hyderabad, India, 11 January 2016/Muzammil)

Watchdog finds growing Catholic influence on U.S. hospitals

May 13, 2016

A growing number of U.S. hospitals are now owned or affiliated with Catholic health institutions that restrict procedures such as sterilizations or abortion, according to patients’ rights watchdog MergerWatch.

Almost two-thirds of Germans think Islam doesn’t ‘belong’ to their country – poll

May 13, 2016
Supporters of the anti-Islam movement "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West" (PEGIDA) wave flags during a demonstration in Dresden, Germany, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/Files

(Supporters of the anti-Islam movement “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West” (PEGIDA) wave flags during a demonstration in Dresden, Germany, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender)

China protests at U.S. accusations of abuse of religious groups

May 13, 2016
Ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese Muslims pray together during Friday prayers at Yang Hang mosque in the city of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region July 17, 2009. Security remains heavy in ethnic Uighur neighbourhoods of Xinjiang regional capital Urumqi after riots on July 5 between the Muslim Uighur minority and majority Han Chinese wounded more than 1,600. The official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday that 192 people were killed in the riots, and that around 1,000 people have been detained.         REUTERS/David Gray     (CHINA CONFLICT RELIGION) - RTR25R29

(Ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese Muslims pray together during Friday prayers at Yang Hang mosque in the city of Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region July 17, 2009. REUTERS/David Gray)