In France, kebabs get wrapped up in identity politics and “Islamisation”

October 28, 2014
(A man cuts meat from a spit as he prepares kebab in a fast-food restaurant in Marseille October 9, 2014. In a country whose national identity is so closely connected to its cuisine, France's hard right has seized on a growing appetite for kebabs as proof of cultural "islamisation". Some 300 million kebabs at about 6 euros each are eaten in 10,200 outlets in France each year, putting the 1.5 billion euro ($1.9 billion) industry just behind burgers and pizza, according to Gira Conseil, a market research company. Picture taken October 9, 2014. To match Feature FRANCE-IMMIGRATION/KEBABS REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)

(A man cuts meat from a spit as he prepares kebab in a fast-food restaurant in Marseille October 9, 2014. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)

Man says devil told him to topple Ten Commandments at Oklahoma capitol

By Reuters Staff
October 26, 2014
(The Ten Commandments )

(The Ten Commandments monument at the Mower County courthouse in Austin, Minnesota, 20 May 2006/Jonathunder)

Dalai Lama visits Alabama Baptist church at center of civil rights movement

By Reuters Staff
October 26, 2014
(The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, talks with Birmingham mayor William Bell during an interview at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama October 25, 2014. The Dalai Lama visited the historic church on an invitation by the mayor, the site where the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders launched rallies for human rights and equality for African-Americans in the 1960's. REUTERS/Sherrel Wheeler Stewart)

(The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, talks with Birmingham mayor William Bell during an interview at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama October 25, 2014. REUTERS/Sherrel Wheeler Stewart)

Poland bids to reclaim forgotten past as haven for Jews

October 26, 2014

  (Visitors stand under the "Celestial Canopy", a reconstructed painted ceiling of a synagogue that once stood in Gwozdziec (present-day Ukraine), at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw October 21, 2014, one week before the official opening of the core exhibition. Poland, the country on whose soil Nazi Germany carried out the darkest acts of the Holocaust, is starting to re-connect with its other role in Jewish history, as a home for 1,000 years to one of the world's biggest Jewish communities. The country will take a step in that direction next week with the opening of the main exhibition at Warsaw's newly built Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a project that sets out to remember not just how Jews in Poland died, but how they lived. To match story JEWS-EUROPE/POLAND Picture taken October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

(Visitors stand under the “Celestial Canopy”, a reconstructed painted ceiling of a synagogue that once stood in Gwozdziec (present-day Ukraine), at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Political Islam tries to adapt to Tunisia’s election landscape

By Reuters Staff
October 26, 2014
(An official helps a man to mark his finger with ink before voting at a polling station during election in Tunis October 26, 2014. Tunisians voted on Sunday in parliamentary elections that bring full democracy finally within their reach, four years after their uprising cast out autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi)

(An official helps a man to mark his finger with ink before voting at a polling station during election in Tunis October 26, 2014. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi)

Saudi Arabia’s Shi’ites fear they are at mercy of region’s tumult

By Reuters Staff
October 24, 2014
(Shi'ite protesters carry posters of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa October 18, 2014. The Shi'ite Muslim minority in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province have long felt marginalised by the Sunni ruling dynasty, and protests for greater rights as part of the 2011 Arab Spring brought a crackdown on both protesters and demands for reform. But now, death sentences for three Shi'ite Muslims, including prominent dissident cleric Nimr, suggest that the region's wider turmoil is further hardening attitudes toward the sect at home. The posters (L-R) read: "He who feels dignity is restless and no power can stop him." and "We are all Sheikh Nimr al Nimr" and "Freedom for the unjustly detained Sheikh Nimr al Nimr." Picture taken October 18, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

(Shi’ite protesters carry posters of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa October 18, 2014.REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Families of executed French monks say Algiers is obstructing justice

By Reuters Staff
October 24, 2014
(Tibhirine)

(Cemetery at the monastery in Tibehirine, Algeria where the slain monks are buried, 17 Sept 2010/Ps2613)

from The Great Debate:

Sykes-Picot drew lines in the Middle East’s sand that blood is washing away

By Michael Williams
October 24, 2014

sykespicot

Last week British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said the struggle against Islamic State was “effectively Iraq’s last chance as nation state.”

from John Lloyd:

Pope Francis and his season of struggle

By John Lloyd
October 23, 2014

Pope Francis celebrates a mass in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican

This month, Pope Francis had to come clean.

Time’s Man of the Year for 2013, the object of seemingly universal affection, is a liberal: and that means a season – perhaps a papacy – of struggle. His honeymoon as the Amiable Argentinian is over.

from The Great Debate:

What the Synod of Bishops that discussed divorced, LGBT Catholics did – and didn’t – do

By James Martin
October 23, 2014

RTR48YVP.jpg

If you told me a few years ago that a synod of bishops would make the front page of almost every newspaper, be featured prominently on almost every news website, and be the topic of heated conversation among Catholics worldwide, I would have said that you were -- to use a theological term -- crazy.