FaithWorld

Putin says unnamed foreign foes use radical Islam to weaken Russia

(Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) takes part in a meeting with Muslim clerics in Ufa October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

President Vladimir Putin accused foreign rivals on Tuesday of using radical Islam to weaken Russia and appealed to Muslim clerics to help reduce tensions after a deadly suicide bombing and nationalist riots.

The comments, his first on this month’s riots in Moscow, were delivered in the mainly Muslim region of Bashkortostan and underlined Kremlin concerns that ethnic or religious tensions could threaten the unity of the Russian state.

Monday’s suicide bombing, blamed on a Muslim woman from the North Caucasus, killed six people on a bus in Volgograd and raised fears about attacks as Russia prepares for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“Some political forces use Islam, the radical currents within it … to weaken our state and create conflicts on Russian soil that can be managed from abroad,” Putin told Muslim clerics meeting in Ufa, Bashkortostan’s capital, in southern Russia.

Malaysia’s curbs on use of the term ‘Allah’ hurting its moderate Muslim image

(A Muslim demonstrator stands outside Malaysia’s Court of Appeal, along with others, in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Samsul Said)

Malaysia’s self-styled image as a global leader of moderate Islam has been undermined by a court ruling that only Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to God, with a growing number of Muslim scholars and commentators condemning the decision.

A Malaysian court ruled last week that the word was “not an integral part of the faith in Christianity”, overturning a previous ruling that allowed a Malay-language Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word.

Pope Francis banishes Germany’s ‘bishop de luxe’ from Limburg diocese

(Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, August 20, 2012/Christliches Medienmagazin pro)

Pope Francis banished a German Roman Catholic prelate known as the “luxury bishop” from his diocese on Wednesday for spending 31 million euros ($43 million) of Church funds on his residence at a time when the pontiff is stressing austerity.

But the pontiff stopped short of dismissing him outright, a step which many German Catholics and the media had called for.

Germany’s big-spending bishop calls meeting with Pope Francis “heartening”

(An aerial view shows Limburg cathedral (R) and to the left the ensemble of the bishop of Limburg’s residence along the river Lahn October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay )

A German bishop under pressure to resign for spending around 31 million euros ($42 million) on a luxurious residence said he had been heartened by a private audience with Pope Francis in Rome on Monday.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg arrived in Rome more than a week ago after cost overruns on his residence stirred anger among German Catholics and protests outside his cathedral, at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.

Egyptian Christians fear chaos after Cairo wedding attack

(Relatives of four victims killed in an attack at a wedding on Sunday, attend their funerals at Virgin Church in Cairo October 21, 2013. REUTERS/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Egyptian Coptic Christians joyfully waited outside the Virgin Church in Cairo for the bride to arrive to join the groom for their wedding.

Instead, bearded men on a motorcycle pulled up and fired on the crowd, deepening the fears of many Christians that their minority community will pay the bloodiest price following the ouster of elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July.

Vatican aims to defeat the Church of England — on the cricket pitch

(England’s Graham Onions (4th R) celebrates after dismissing South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (near lower stumps) during the third cricket test match at Newlands in Cape Town, January 4, 2010. REUTERS/Philip Brown)

The Vatican officially declared its intention to defeat the Church of England on Tuesday – not in a theological re-match nearly 500 years after they split, but on the cricket pitch.

The challenge was launched at the baptism of the St. Peter’s Cricket Club.

Finance scandal spurs German Catholic bishops to reveal secret funds

(Cologne cathedral and the Hohenzollern train bridge over the Rhine river in this October 16, 2005 picture. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/)

German Catholic bishops are scrapping centuries of secrecy and reporting the value of their private endowments as a scandal caused by a free-spending prelate puts pressure on them for more financial transparency.

Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst – dubbed “the luxury bishop” – has shocked the Church by admitting six-fold cost overruns on construction of his luxurious new residence, which is now priced at 31 million euros, most of which will be paid from his ample reserves.

Italian Jews laud protests against funeral of Nazi war criminal Priebke

(Supporters of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke shout slogans after the hearse carrying his coffin arrived in Albano Laziale near Rome October 15, 2013. REUTERS/Yara Nardi)

The head of Rome’s Jewish community praised protesters who blocked the funeral of a convicted Nazi war criminal as Italy marked on Wednesday the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from the Rome ghetto.

Erich Priebke’s final resting place is now unclear after the protesters forced a suspension of his funeral on Tuesday in the Italian town of Albano Laziale. His body is lying at a military airport near Rome pending a decision from the authorities.

As Belfast riots, Northern Ireland’s second city tastes sectarian peace

(The “Hands Across The Divide” peace statue by a local sculptor Maurice Harron stands in front of a backdrop of the Waterside area of Derry City, also known as Londonderry, in this October 3, 2013 picture. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton )

While cars burned on the streets of Belfast this summer in its worst year of rioting for a decade, Northern Ireland’s second city of Londonderry was filled with tourists as its once bitterly divided population celebrated a stunning rejuvenation.

Some 40 years after Londonderry became the centre of the “Troubles” when British troops shot dead 13 people at a civil rights protest on what became known as Bloody Sunday, Catholics and Protestants watched calmly as some of the city’s most entrenched taboos were broken.

Malaysian court rules use of the word ‘Allah’ reserved for Muslims

(Muslim demonstrators chant slogans outside Malaysia’s Court of Appeal in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Samsul Said )

A Malaysian court has ruled that a Christian newspaper may not use the word “Allah” to refer to God, a landmark decision on an issue that has fanned religious tension and raised questions over minority rights in the mainly Muslim country.

The unanimous decision by three Muslim judges in Malaysia’s appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court that allowed the Malay-language version of the newspaper, The Herald, to use the word Allah – as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the case for centuries.