FaithWorld

Nigeria opens its long-awaited battle of ideas against Boko Haram

(A teacher at Maska Road Islamic School teaches Hadith excerpts in a classroom in Kaduna, July 16, 2014. In classrooms facing a sandy courtyard in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, Maska Road Islamic School teaches a creed that condemns the violent ideology of groups like Boko Haram. The school is steadfast in preaching tolerance to its pupils, and the government is about to adopt this message in a new strategy for containing Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in a five-year campaign for an Islamic state. Picture taken July 16, 2014. To match Insight NIGERIA-BOKO HARAM/ REUTERS/Joe Penney)

(A teacher at Maska Road Islamic School teaches Hadith excerpts in a classroom in Kaduna, July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Penney)

In classrooms facing a sandy courtyard in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, Maska Road Islamic School teaches a creed that condemns the violent ideology of groups like Boko Haram.

Not everyone has got its message. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, known as the “Pants Bomber”, spent his youth in this school – and ended up trying unsuccessfully to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear.

But the school is steadfast in preaching tolerance to its pupils, and the government is about to adopt this message in a new strategy for containing Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in a five-year campaign for an Islamic state.

“We teach them that what they (Boko Haram) are doing is a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion, that Prophet Mohammed was compassionate, he even lived together with the non-Muslims in Medina,” said headmaster Sulaiman Saiki.

U.S. says millions forced to flee for religious beliefs in 2013

(Christians set up tent shelters at Raikia village, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa August 31, 2008. Thousands of people, most of them Christians, have sought shelter in makeshift government camps in eastern India, driven from their homes by religious violence which has killed at least 13 people this week. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal)

(Christians set up tent shelters at Raikia village, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa August 31, 2008. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal)

More members of religious communities around the world were forced to flee their homes last year than at any time in recent memory, the United States said on Monday, in its annual report on religious freedom.

“In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs,” the report said.

Gold and diamonds feed Central African Republic’s religious violence

(Mine worker Jimmy Adoum weighs gold on a scale balance in a hut at the foot of the Ndassima gold mine in Central African Republic, May 22, 2014. At Ndassima, 60 km north of Seleka's military headquarters in the northern town of Bambari, sweat-soaked labourers toil beneath the gaze of Seleka gunmen to produce some 15 kilos of gold a month - worth roughly $350,000 on the local market, or double that in international trade. Picture taken May 22, 2014. To match Insight CENTRALAFRICA-RESOURCES/ REUTERS/Daniel Flynn )

(Mine worker Jimmy Adoum weighs gold on a scale balance in a hut at the foot of the Ndassima gold mine in Central African Republic, May 22, 2014. REUTERS/Daniel Flynn )

Three young rebels, their AK47s propped against wooden stools in the afternoon heat, guard the entrance to the giant Ndassima goldmine carved deep into a forested hilltop in Central African Republic.

Sat in a thatched shack at the edge of a muddy shantytown, the gunmen keep the peace – for a price – among hundreds of illegal miners who swarm over the steep sides of the glittering open pit, scratching out a living.

September 11 museum allowed to display Ground Zero cross-shaped beam

(Father Brian Jordan (L), a Franciscan Priest, blesses The World Trade Center Cross, made of intersecting steel beams found in the rubble of buildings destroyed in the September 11 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, before it is transported and lowered by a crane into an opening in the World Trade Center site below ground level where it will become part of the permanent installation exhibit in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, in New York, July 23, 2011. Frank Silecchia (3rd R), a construction worker who found the cross, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (2nd R) and Richard Sheirer (R), director of the Office of Emergency Management listen to the prayer. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site will open on the 10 year anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2011. REUTERS/Chip East )

(Father Brian Jordan (L), a Franciscan Priest, blesses The World Trade Center Cross, made of intersecting steel beams found in the rubble of buildings destroyed in the September 11 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, New York, July 23, 2011. REUTERS/Chip East )

A cross-shaped steel beam pulled from the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center in New York days after the September 11, 2001, attacks can be displayed in the national memorial museum at the site, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.

An atheist group in 2011 sued the museum and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey seeking to block the display as unconstitutional, arguing that the cross was a religious symbol that had no place in a government-sponsored institution.

Gaza residents see no joy in Muslim Eid holiday at end of Ramadan

(Palestinians perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer at al-Farouk mosque, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 28, 2014. The U.N. Security Council agreed on a statement on Sunday urging Israel, Palestinians and Islamist Hamas militants to implement a humanitarian truce beyond the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr and engage in efforts to achieve a durable ceasefire. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

(Palestinians perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer at al-Farouk mosque, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 28, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

One of the most joyous days in the Muslim calendar, the holiday of Eid al-Fitr was marked on Monday by tears and sorrow in the Gaza Strip, left battered by three weeks of merciless fighting between Israel and Hamas Islamists.

Marking the end of the holy Ramadan month of fasting, Eid is normally a time of feasts and fun, presents and parties, even in this impoverished and isolated Palestinian coastal enclave.

Pakistan mob kills woman and 2 girls over ‘blasphemous’ Facebook post

A Pakistani mob killed a woman member of a religious sect and two of her granddaughters after a sect member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook, police said Monday, the latest instance of growing violence against minorities.

The dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and many Pakistanis consider them heretics.

Police said the late Sunday violence in the town of Gujranwala, 220 km (140 miles) southeast of the capital, Islamabad, started with an altercation between young men, one of whom was an Ahmadi accused of posting “objectionable material”.

Pope Francis renews attack on mafia in Italian region scarred by toxic waste

(ope Francis waves as he arrives at the palace of Caserta, former residences of the Royal House of Bourbon, before leading a mass, in Caserta, southern Italy July 26, 2014. A banner behind the Pope reads " Against Camorra and Racism". REUTERS/Max Rossi )

(Pope Francis waves as he arrives in Caserta, southern Italy July 26, 2014. A banner behind the Pope reads ” Against Camorra and Racism”. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

Pope Francis called for nature to be protected from criminal abuse on Saturday during a visit in the southern Italian town of Caserta, near Naples, in a region long blighted by illegal toxic waste dumps and the pervasive grip of the Camorra mafia.

During a televised open air mass before around 200,000 people, Francis said that the love of God meant respecting life, the environment and nature.

India’s PM Modi under fire for silence over religious incidents

(DATE IMPORTED:July 04, 2014Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to a crowd at a gathering after inaugurating a train on a new stretch of railway to the town of Katra, northwest of Jammu July 4, 2014. Modi saw off the inaugural train on a new stretch of railway to Katra, allowing easier access to the a Hindu shrine there that is one of India's most popular pilgrimage sites and receives upwards of 10 million visitors each year. Modi said the train, in addition to making it easier for pilgrims to reach the shrine, would help connect the state with the rest of India. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta )

(Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to a crowd at a gathering after inaugurating a train on a new stretch of railway to the town of Katra, northwest of Jammu July 4, 2014. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta )

India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for remaining silent about incidents deemed anti-Muslim in the past week, underscoring fears that his Hindu nationalist followers will upset religious relations in the multi-faith nation.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in May after an election campaign that mainly focused on promises to revive the economy but that also made reference to India’s majority Hindu identity.

Pool, phones, yoga: world intrudes on U.S. Amish now home in Ohio after prison

(The horse-drawn carriage used by Kathryn and Raymond Miller to travel is pictured in Bergholz, Ohio June 6, 2014. The Millers, members of an Amish breakaway sect from eastern Ohio at the center of shocking 2011 hair-cutting attacks on other Amish followers, are trying to settle back into life at home after being exposed in prison to a world their religion is focused on locking out. Picture taken June 6, 2014. To match feature USA-AMISH/ REUTERS/Kim Palmer )

(The horse-drawn carriage used by Kathryn and Raymond Miller to travel is pictured in Bergholz, Ohio June 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Palmer )

Amish farmer Raymond Miller developed a taste for Mountain Dew soda, got his GED, and wonders if he should get a pool table after learning to play in prison.

His wife, Kathryn, who had never ridden a public bus before boarding one last year to go to prison for forcibly cutting the hair of her relatives, was introduced to yoga and step classes while behind bars.

U.N. rights body criticizes Ireland on abortion, church homes

(A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland's government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. Thousands held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament on Wednesday after news broke of the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian Hindu, following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy. Activists in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on abortion, say a lack of legal clarity about when terminations are justified may have contributed to her death.REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

(A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland’s government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

A United Nations human rights panel has told Ireland it should revise its highly restrictive abortion laws and that allegations of abuse of women and children at Catholic-run homes must be better investigated.

Following months of polarizing debate in the Roman Catholic country, Ireland’s parliament voted to allow limited access to abortion for the first time last year but restricted it to cases when a woman’s life is in danger.