from The Great Debate:

Why Iran, U.S. aren’t on quite the same side in fight against Islamic State

By Davoud Hermidas Bavand
October 8, 2014

Iraqi women walk past a poster depicting images of Shi'ite Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at al-Firdous Square in Baghdad

It might seem counter-intuitive to think that attacking the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, would damage Iran or Shi’ite interests in the Middle East. After all, Iran shares the West’s concerns about the radical Sunni group and is in a tacit alliance with the United States when it comes to defeating their common enemy. And yet, Iran fears it might end up being the loser in this battle.

Hobby Lobby executive’s Bible museum: priceless artifacts and scholarly doubts

By Reuters Staff
October 7, 2014
(An artist's rendering shows the exterior of the proposed Museum of the Bible, located two blocks from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in this undated handout image. Hobby Lobby President Steve Green is planning to begin construction on the $800 million 8-storey Bible museum in the fall of 2014, according to local media.  REUTERS/Smith Group JJR/Handout via Reuters)

(An artist’s rendering shows the exterior of the proposed Museum of the Bible, located two blocks from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in this undated handout image. 
REUTERS/Smith Group JJR)

Pope Francis ditches Latin as official language of Vatican synod

October 7, 2014
(Cicero

(The legendary Latin orator Cicero addresses the Roman Senate  in 63 BC/”Cicero Accuses Catiline” by Cesare Maccari, 1888, now in Palazzo Madama in Rome)

Mecca pilgrims snap selfies between prayers, some Saudi clerics frown

By Reuters Staff
October 6, 2014
(A Muslim pilgrim prays as another takes a photo with his mobile phone at the Grand Mosque during Tawaf al-Wadaa (Farewell Tawaf) on the last day of the annual haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

(A Muslim pilgrim prays as another takes a photo with his mobile phone at the Grand Mosque during Tawaf al-Wadaa (Farewell Tawaf) on the last day of the annual haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Saudi Arabia relieved as well-protected haj nears close without incident

By Reuters Staff
October 6, 2014
(Muslim pilgrims walk on a bridge as they head to cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan during the final day of the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina on the third day of Eid al-Adha, near the holy city of Mecca, October 6, 2014. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the haj pilgrimage by slaughtering sheep, goats, camels and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

(Muslim pilgrims walk on a bridge as they head to cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan during the final day of the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina on the third day of Eid al-Adha, near the holy city of Mecca, October 6, 2014.REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Pope Francis, opening Catholic gathering at Vatican, tells bishops to speak frankly

October 6, 2014
(Pope Francis leads the synod of bishops in Paul VI's hall at the Vatican October 6, 2014. Pope Francis opened a global Roman Catholic assembly on Sunday showing his apparent irritation with Church leaders who have waged a sometimes bitter public battle between progressives and conservatives on family issues. REUTERS/Claudio Peri/Pool )

(Pope Francis leads the synod of bishops in Paul VI’s hall at the Vatican October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Claudio Peri/Pool )

How the Russian Orthodox Church answers Putin’s prayers in Ukraine

October 6, 2014
(Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill arrive for the meeting with Russian Orthodox church bishops in Moscow February 1, 2013. As troops loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin were seizing control of Crimea, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow deduced that an "internal political crisis" in Ukraine was threatening its territorial integrity. Picture taken February 1, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Gunyeev/Ria Novosti)

(Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill arrive for the meeting with Russian Orthodox church bishops in Moscow February 1, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Gunyeev/Ria Novosti)

In historic homeland, Pakistan’s Sikhs live under constant threat

By Reuters Staff
October 3, 2014
(Members of the Sikh community walk through the narrow streets of Peshawar with Gorvindar Singh (C), one of three Sikhs who was kidnapped for ransom, after his return home March 1, 2010. Pakistani security forces on Monday recovered two Sikhs kidnapped for ransom in the country's volatile northwest, days after one of their colleagues was killed by kidnappers. The three Sikhs were abducted from the Khyber region on the Afghan border in January. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz )

(Members of the Sikh community walk through the narrow streets of Peshawar with Gorvindar Singh (C), one of three Sikhs who was kidnapped for ransom, after his return home March 1, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz )

Nobel Laureates condemn South Africa visa denial to Dalai Lama

By Reuters Staff
October 3, 2014
(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 )

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

October 3, 2014
(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.