FaithWorld

Jewish Congress offers soccer organisations help to fight anti-Semitism

(Nicolas Anelka runs during a training session in Shanghai July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Aly Song)

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) offered on Tuesday to help European soccer’s governing body UEFA and the English FA to fight anti-Semitism in the sport following Nicolas Anelka’s “quenelle” salute.

It has also called on the soccer authorities to ban Anelka, 34, who is being investigated by the English FA, for the gesture.

The former France striker celebrated the first of the two goals he scored in West Bromwich Albion’s 3-3 draw at West Ham United on Saturday by making the gesture, made famous by the French comedian Dieudonne, which is linked to anti-Semitism.

The 34-year-old Anelka promised his club on Monday he would not repeat it in future.

It’s official: Vatican says Pope Francis has not abolished sin

(A panel depicting the sin of gluttony in “The Seven Mortal Sins and the Four Last Things” by Hieronymus Bosch, around 1500, now in the Prado Museum in Madrid)

The Vatican felt compelled on Tuesday to deny that Pope Francis had “abolished sin”, after a well-known Italian intellectual wrote that he had effectively done so through his words and gestures.

The singular exchange began on Sunday when Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who writes opinion pieces for the left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper, published an article titled “Francis’ Revolution: He has abolished sin”.

Outgoing top Muslim envoy seeks accord with Christians

(Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu speaks during the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha June 9, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous)

The outgoing head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said on Tuesday some Muslim states should broaden rights for religious minorities. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who stepped down on Monday after nine years as secretary general of the 57-country group representing the Islamic world, also said Western countries should do more to combat an increase of prejudice against Muslims there.

Concern among churches worldwide for fellow Christians in the Middle East has risen in recent years as wars and Islamist rebels have killed or driven many from their homes there. The Jeddah-based OIC’s religious diplomacy was long focused on a fruitless effort to have the United Nations pass a global ban on insults to Islam. The fate of Christian minorities in Muslim countries rarely figured in its declarations.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

The pope’s divisions

The political roundups of 2013 make little mention of perhaps the most important event to alter the political landscape in the last 12 months. It was not the incompetence of the Obamacare rollout -- though that will resonate beyond the November midterms. Nor was it House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) finally snapping at the Tea Party hounds who have been nipping at his heels.

No, it was the March 13 election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a cardinal from Argentina, as pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is significant the new pope chose as his name Francis, after Francis of Assisi, the 12th century saint who shunned comfort and wealth, and devoted his life to helping the poor and treating animals humanely. Pope Francis said he was inspired by a Brazilian colleague, who whispered to him, “Don’t forget the poor.” Since then he has rarely missed the chance to reprimand the rich and embrace the poor, as shown by his refusal to adopt the palatial papal lifestyle in favor of more modest accommodation.

France may ban provocative black comedian for anti-Semitic jibes

(Dieudonne M’bala M’bala (R) with anti-Zionist Party leader Yahia Gouasmi and far-right writer Alain Soral (C) in Paris on May 13, 2009 during their campaign for the European Parliament. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes )

France is considering banning performances by a black comedian whose shows have repeatedly insulted the memory of Holocaust victims and could threaten public order, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday.

He said his ministry is studying legal ways to ban shows by Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a comedian repeatedly fined for hate speech who ran in the 2009 European Parliament elections at the head of an “Anti-Zionist List” including far-right activists.

Israeli court cancels mayoral vote in town at centre of Jewish divisions

(Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli policemen as they protest against the government’s pledge to curb Jewish zealotry in Israel, in the town of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem December 26, 2011. REUTERS/Oren Nahshon )

An Israeli court dealt a blow on Thursday to the ultra-Orthodox community’s political hold over a town that has been a focus of national divisions between the Jewish state’s secular majority and its religious minority.

Citing voter fraud in Beit Shemesh, a town of 80,000, a court in nearby Jerusalem cancelled the result of an October mayoral election, won by the ultra-Orthodox incumbent Moshe Abutbul, and ordered a new ballot.

U.S. court overturns senior Catholic priest’s conviction in sex cover-up

(Monsignor William Lynn during his trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 31, 2012. REUTERS/Scott Anderson)

A Pennsylvania court overturned the conviction of the first senior U.S. Roman Catholic Church official to be found guilty of covering up child sex abuse by a priest and ordered he be freed on Thursday.

Monsignor William Lynn was convicted in June 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child by reassigning a priest with a history of sexual abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

Egypt designates the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group

(People look at the damage after an explosion near a security building in Egypt’s Nile Delta city of Mansoura in Dakahlyia province, about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Cairo December 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany )

The Egyptian government intensified its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday, formally listing the group as a terrorist organisation after accusing it of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a police station that killed 16 people.

The move marked a major escalation in the army-backed government’s campaign to suppress the Islamist movement that propelled Mohamed Mursi to the presidency 18 months ago but has been driven underground since the army toppled him in July.

Struggle for rich resources at root of Central Africa’s religious violence

(A woman sits by her wounded relative in a clinic run by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in Bangui December 23, 2013.  REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu)

Mariam watched in horror as militiamen burst through the gate of her home in Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and demanded her husband say whether he was Muslim. When he said yes, they shot him dead.

“They killed him just like that in front of our child,” said Mariam, who fled through the back door. “Then they hacked and clubbed our neighbours, a husband and wife, to death.”

Atheists should work with believers for peace, Pope Francis says on Christmas

(Pope Francis holds the baby Jesus statue at the end of the Christmas night mass in the Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican December 24, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas as Roman Catholic leader, on Wednesday called on atheists to unite with believers of all religions and work for “a homemade peace” that can spread across the world.

Speaking to about 70,000 people from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the same spot where he emerged to the world as pope when he was elected on March 13, Francis also made another appeal for the environment to be saved from “human greed and rapacity”.