FaithWorld

Nigeria’s ex-central bank governor takes throne as Muslim monarch

(Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth )

(Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Nigeria’s ousted central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, was named Emir of Kano on Sunday, making an outspoken government critic one of the most influential leaders in the largely Muslim north.

Sanusi, who regularly railed against the government’s record on corruption, was suspended from his post at the bank in February by President Goodluck Jonathan in a decision that alarmed international investors.

His move into such a revered position, after the death of his great-uncle the last emir on Friday, could unsettle some in Jonathan’s administration which rules over a religiously divided country and is facing national elections in 2015. The emir is the second-highest Muslim authority in Nigeria.

Underlining local politics also raging behind the decision, several hundred supporters of another hopeful candidate – the late emir’s oldest son – massed outside the state government building, destroying street signs until police fired in the air to disperse them, witnesses said.

from Photographers' Blog:

Daily life in Shi’ite Baghdad

Baghdad, Iraq

By Ahmed Jadallah

When people mention Sunnis and Shi'ites, the topic is often sectarian violence.

This is certainly true in Iraq. The country’s former ruler Saddam Hussain came from the Iraq’s Sunni minority, but since he was overthrown, Shi’ites have dominated Iraqi politics. Now, over the past year, Sunni insurgents who target Shi'ites have been gaining ground and violence has spiraled.

With the government battling Sunni rebels, I wanted to take a step back and show the human face of the divided communities. So in Baghdad I went to photograph daily life inside some of its poor, Shi’ite neighbourhoods.

I saw buildings crumbling, people keeping chickens in their kitchen, and children playing by an open sewer outside school. It made me sad to think that people still live this way in 2014, in a country that is now the world’s fastest-growing oil exporter.

Spanish draft law allows dual nationality for Sephardic Jews

(Synagogue in Toledo, Spain)

(Synagogue in Toledo, Spain, June 30, 2007/Tilo 2006)

The Spanish government approved a draft law on Friday allowing descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the country in 1492 to seek Spanish nationality without giving up their current citizenship.

Although the law must be approved by Spanish parliament before it can become the law of the land, there was little doubt that it would be passed, with the ruling conservatives holding an absolute parliamentary majority.

“This law establishes the criteria for the concession of (Spanish) nationality for the Sephardic citizens,” Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said during a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Russian FSB men steal and try to sell priceless Gutenberg Bible

(A Gutenberg Bible page, showing

(A Gutenberg Bible page)

A colonel in Russia’s FSB security service has been jailed for stealing a rare bible by 15th century German printer Johannes Gutenberg and trying to sell it for about $1.15 million (683,560 pounds), a fraction of its true value, a court spokeswoman said on Friday.

Sergei Vedishchev was sentenced on Thursday to 3-1/2 years in a penal colony, and two other FSB officers received lesser terms for helping him seek a buyer for the two-volume bible, spokeswoman Irina Zhirnova said.

She said Vedishchev had stolen the bible from a safe at Moscow University, where he was responsible for security.

New PM Modi’s nationalist foot soldiers take center-stage in India

(Activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu hardline group, hold bamboo sticks as they take part in a march in the central Indian city of Bhopal February 23, 2014. Standing with Narendra Modi as he was sworn in as prime minister on the majestic forecourt of India's presidential palace was a cabinet made up almost entirely of ministers whose careers started in a hardline Hindu nationalist movement. After the stunning majority won by Modi's party in the general election, the movement that believes multi-faith India should be recognized first and foremost as a Hindu nation feels closer than ever before to achieving its goals. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers from the movement led by the RSS actively campaigned in the election, using technology and sheer manpower to mobilize voters in regions where Modi's party has traditionally been weak. Picture taken February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Raj Patidar)

(Activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu hardline group, march in the central Indian city of Bhopal February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Raj Patidar)

Standing with Narendra Modi as he was sworn in as prime minister on the majestic forecourt of India’s presidential palace was a cabinet made up almost entirely of ministers whose careers started in a hardline Hindu nationalist movement.

After the stunning majority won by Modi’s party in the general election, the movement that believes multi-faith India should be recognized first and foremost as a Hindu nation feels closer than ever before to achieving its goals.

Brazil’s Catholic Church gives World Cup organizers a ‘red card’

(An aerial shot shows the Arena Fonte Nova stadium, one of the stadiums hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer matches, in Salvador, in the state of Bahia, northern Brazil March 28, 2014. Picture taken March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Valter Pontes )

(Arena Fonte Nova stadium, one of the stadiums hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer matches, in Salvador, in the state of Bahia, northern Brazil March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Valter Pontes )

Pope Francis may be a die-hard soccer fan, but the Catholic church has given Brazil’s World Cup organizers a “red card” for spending billions of dollars on stadiums while failing to improve the country’s notoriously poor public services.

In a red card-shaped brochure distributed this week in churches and parishes across the world’s biggest Roman Catholic country, Brazil’s Bishops Conference urged the Brazilian government to respect people’s right to demonstrate against the month-long tournament that kicks off next Thursday.

Pope Francis fires entire board of Vatican financial watchdog

(New recruits of the Vatican's elite Swiss Guard march in front of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) during the swearing-in ceremony at the Vatican May 6, 2014. The Swiss Guard, founded in 1506, consist of 100 volunteers who must be of Swiss nationality, Catholic, single, at least 174 cm (5.7 ft) tall and without a beard. New recruits are sworn in every year on May 6 to commemorate the day where 147 Swiss soldiers died defending the Pope during an attack on Rome in 1527. REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

(New recruits of the Vatican’s elite Swiss Guard march in front of the tower of the Vatican’s bank, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) on May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

Pope Francis sacked the five-man board of the Vatican’s financial watchdog on Thursday – all Italians – in the latest move to break with an old guard associated with a murky past under his predecessor.

The Vatican said the pope named four experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace them on the board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the Holy See’s internal regulatory office. The new board includes a woman for the first time.

Irish Catholic Church says horrified by children’s mass grave

(The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway June 4, 2014. Local residents on Tuesday said they hoped a campaign is making headway to commemorate the unmarked mass grave of nearly 800 babies found in Tuam. The infants were buried without coffins in the grounds of a former home for unmarried mothers between 1925 and 1961. A total of 796 babies toddlers and children were buried in this mass grave. Death records show the children died from malnutrition and infectious disease. REUTERS/Stringer )

(The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bon Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

Ireland’s Roman Catholic Church told the order of nuns who ran the former home where a mass grave of almost 800 children was found that it must co-operate with any inquiry into the discovery.

Ireland is considering an investigation into what the government called a “deeply disturbing” discovery of an unmarked graveyard at a former home run by the Bon Secours Sister where 796 children died between 1925 and 1961.

Sword-wielding Sikhs clash at India’s Golden Temple

Sikhs hold swords as they protest during a clash inside the complex of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in the northern Indian city of Amritsar June 6, 2014. Sikhs wielding swords clashed inside the compound of their religion's holiest shrine on Friday, the 30th anniversary of a controversial raid by Indian security forces that flushed out separatist militants holed up in the temple. REUTERS/Munish Sharma

(Sikhs hold swords as they protest during a clash inside the complex of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in the northern Indian city of Amritsar June 6, 2014. REUTERS/Munish Sharma)

Sikhs wielding swords clashed inside the compound of their religion’s holiest shrine on Friday, the 30th anniversary of a controversial raid by Indian security forces that flushed out separatist militants holed up in the temple.

Television showed dramatic footage of Sikhs rushing out of the Golden Temple in Amritsar in northern India, brandishing their swords against each other in a violent confrontation in which several people were injured.

Muslims pray to turn Turkey’s greatest monument back into a mosque

(Local and foreign visitors, with the Byzantine-era monument of Hagia Sophia in the background, stroll at Sultanahmet square in Istanbul August 23, 2013. The number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey grew at its slowest pace for eight months in July, as the impact of anti-government protests and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan took their toll, data showed on Friday. Foreign arrivals rose 0.48 percent year-on-year last month to 4.59 million people, according to the Tourism Ministry figures, the lowest rise since November. The number of visitors rose 4.93 percent the previous month. REUTERS/Murad Sezer )

(Hagia Sophia in Istanbul August 23, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer )

It has served as the exalted seat of two faiths since its vast dome and lustrous gold mosaics first levitated above Istanbul in the 6th Century: Christendom’s greatest cathedral for 900 years and one of Islam’s greatest mosques for another 500.

Today, the Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya in Turkish, is officially a museum: Turkey’s most-visited monument, whose formally neutral status symbolizes the secular nature of the modern Turkish state.

But tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers gathering there on Saturday hope it will again be a mosque, a dream they believe Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan can fulfill.