FaithWorld

Nobel Laureates condemn South Africa visa denial to Dalai Lama

(Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures during a speech at the 108th anniversary of Indian Merchant Chambers in Mumbai September 18, 2014. Tibet's exiled spiritual leader said on Thursday that an unsettled border with China encompassing large parts of the Tibetan plateau was a problem for India and called for talks to resolve the dispute as Chinese President Xi Jinping toured India. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui )

(Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures during a speech at the 108th anniversary of Indian Merchant Chambers in Mumbai September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui )

Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi on Wednesday slammed South Africa’s refusal to give fellow laureate and Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, a visa to attend a peace conference and said they would boycott the event.

The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India and is at loggerheads with China over Tibet, had been hoping to join a Nobel peace conference in Cape Town on Oct. 13.

This is the third time South Africa has refused the Dalai Lama a visa in the last five years, according to his representative, and has intensified speculation about China’s influence over the country.

Williams, an American anti-landmine campaigner, and Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Ebadi said they were unhappy with South Africa’s decision, particularly given its history of fighting against apartheid.

Ireland to vote on removal of blasphemy law last used in 1855

(Chamber of the Dail, the Irish parliament,

(Chamber of the Dail, the Irish parliament, 28 June 2008/AnCatDubh)

Once staunchly Catholic Ireland will hold a referendum to remove the crime of blasphemy from its constitution, an offense now punishable by a fine of up to 25,000 euros ($31,600) but which has probably not been prosecuted since the 19th century.

The Roman Catholic Church’s public influence has been on the wane in Ireland since the 1980s, particularly after a string of child sex abuse scandals.

“Blasphemous matter” is deemed an offense under Ireland’s 1937 constitution, written at a time when the Church still held a dominant role in society. Blasphemy could have led to a jail term of seven years before a change to the law five years ago that provided for fines instead.

Islamic State is committing ‘staggering’ crimes in Iraq – U.N. report

(Residents watch militant Islamist fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. The fighters held the parade to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said. Picture taken June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

(Residents watch militant Islamist fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

Islamic State insurgents in Iraq have carried out mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used child soldiers in what may amount to systematic war crimes that demand prosecution, the United Nations said on Thursday.

In a report based on 500 interviews with witnesses, also said Iraqi government air strikes on the Sunni Muslim militants had caused “significant civilian deaths” by hitting villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law.

Facing fears over extremism, Austria unveils new law on Islam

(A mosque is pictured in the Tyrolean village of Telfs in western Austria October 2, 2014. Austria called on Thursday for standardised German-language translations of the Koran and moved to prohibit foreign funding of Muslim organisations on its soil in a draft law aimed in part at tackling Islamic extremism. The bill will overhaul a 1912 law governing the status of Austrian Muslims, prompting concern from a major local Islamic body, which saw it mirroring widespread mistrust of Muslims. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler )

(A mosque is pictured in the Tyrolean village of Telfs in western Austria October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler )

Austria called on Thursday for standardised German-language translations of the Koran and moved to prohibit foreign funding of Muslim organisations on its soil in a draft law aimed in part at tackling Islamic extremism.

The bill will overhaul a 1912 law governing the status of Austrian Muslims, prompting concern from a major local Islamic body, which saw it mirroring widespread mistrust of Muslims.

Saudi authorities on Ebola watch as millions of Muslims gather for haj

(Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca October 1, 2014. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed )

(Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca October 1, 2014. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed )

Anxious to safeguard Islam’s haj pilgrimage from the threat of Ebola, Saudi authorities are screening pilgrims arriving from West Africa and have deployed mobile laboratories to test any suspected cases quickly.

The kingdom expects nearly 3 million pilgrims in Mecca this year, including 1.4 million from abroad. The health ministry said on Thursday it has been working with the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the threat of Ebola, which has killed 3,300 people in West Africa this year.

Vatican family synod will be a test case for Pope Francis’ papacy

(Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican October 1, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican October 1, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

A global assembly of Roman Catholic bishops is shaping up as the first major showdown of Pope Francis’s papacy, with conservative and progressive cardinals trading insults ahead of its start on Sunday.

The two-week synod on the theme of the family will be attended by more than 250 people — nearly all of them bishops of the 1.2 billion-member Church and also 13 married couples.

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.

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.

from The Great Debate:

We all know about jihadists, but what about those waging an ‘anti-jihad’?

Human rights activist holds a placard during an anti-Talibanisation protest in LahoreAs the UN Security Council tackles the entity claiming to be “Islamic State,” and President Barack Obama invokes global Muslim responsibility, many ask whether people of Muslim heritage do enough to counter extremism.

The fact is, away from the media spotlight, thousands wage daily battles in their own countries against what President Obama called a “network of death.”

Unfortunately, jihadists make headlines while those who wage the anti-jihad rarely do. After all, everyone has heard of Osama bin Laden, but few know of those standing up to would-be bin Ladens across the globe.