New Russian holiday marked as Kremlin boosts Orthodox Church

By Reuters Staff
July 29, 2010

russia holiday (Photo: Soldier holds candle at ceremony for adoption of Christianity, in Stavropol, July 28, 2010/Eduard Korniyenko)

Russia marked its adoption of Christianity in 988 on Wednesday with a new public holiday, the latest show of Kremlin support for the Russian Orthodox Church that has grown increasingly powerful since the fall of Communism.

Saudis say Muslim women exempted from wearing face veils in France

By Reuters Staff
July 27, 2010

saudi niqabTwo Saudi clerics have declared Muslim women are exempt from wearing full veils in France, which is planning to ban them, but added they should avoid visiting it as tourists.

Pakistan court frees mentally ill blasphemy suspect after 14 years

July 23, 2010

blasphemyA Pakistani court ordered the release of a mentally ill women accused of blasphemy who has been held without trial for 14 years, a court official and her lawyer said on Thursday. Police arrested Zaibun Nisa, now 55, in 1996 outside Islamabad after a Muslim cleric registered a complaint about the desecration of a copy of the Koran.

Turkey offers citizenship to Orthodox archbishops to help patriarch succession

July 23, 2010

bartholomewTurkey has offered citizenship to Orthodox Christian archbishops from abroad to help the next election of the ecumenical patriarch, the spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox faithful, officials said.  Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has quietly led the gesture to the Orthodox, who face a shortage of candidates to succeed Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, 70, and serve on the Holy Synod, which administers patriarchate affairs.

INTERVIEW – NY imam plans a “Muslim Y,” not a “Ground Zero mosque”

By Reuters Staff
July 23, 2010

nyc mosque 1When Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf decided to build a Muslim cultural centre in lower Manhattan, the model he chose couldn’t have been more mainstream American — the Young Men’s Christian Association chapters found in cities across the United States.

from Tales from the Trail:

Sarah Palin, the Bard of Wasilla

By Reuters Staff
July 19, 2010

USA/PALINWashington's Emma Ashburn had some thoughts today on Sarah Palin's latest literary stylings:

Two US broadcasters reject ad against mosque near 9/11 site in New York

July 15, 2010

USA/Two major United States broadcasters have rejected an advertisement that urges viewers to protest against a mosque planned two blocks from Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York.  The ad by the National Republican Trust PAC– labeled inflammatory by critics — mixes images of 9/11 and Muslim militants while slamming a controversial proposal to build a mosque and Muslim community center in lower Manhattan.

from India Insight:

Hindu pilgrims brave Kashmir violence to seek salvation at cave shrine

July 14, 2010

A combination photo shows Hindu holy men and pilgrims during their trek to the cave of Lord Shiva in Amarnath, 141 km southeast of Srinagar June 21, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files

Protest strikes, curfews and violent demonstrations have paralysed Muslim-majority Kashmir valley over the killing of 15 civilians in the past month and the deaths blamed on government forces.

Muslims seek to add Islamic holidays to New York school calendar

By Reuters Staff
July 14, 2010

new york (Photo:  New York City skyline, December 12, 2009/Jessica Rinaldi)

Muslim parents, students and civic groups are campaigning to add two of their religious holidays to the New York City public school calendar, pinning their hopes on state lawmakers after failing to win over Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the idea. Supporters say there are more than 100,000 Muslim students in the public schools, or about 12 percent of the enrollment.

French lawmakers vote to ban full face veils in public

By Reuters Staff
July 13, 2010

national assemblyMuslim women could be fined for wearing full face veils in public in France under a bill approved overwhelmingly on Tuesday by the lower house of parliament. Offenders would be fined 150 euros ($189) or required to take part in a citizenship class. The bill, which critics say stigmatizes immigrants, bans people “from wearing, in a public place, garments designed to cover the face.”