Poland’s cross wars revive debate on role of Catholic Church

By Reuters Staff
August 18, 2010

cross 2 (Photo: Protesters urging removal of the cross at the presidential palace. The road sign reads “Attention! Cross defenders.” August 9, 2010/Kacper Pempel)

A simple wooden cross honouring victims of a plane crash that killed Poland’s president in April has spurred demands that the influence of the powerful Roman Catholic Church be pared back to forge a more secular Poland.

Malaysia fines Muslims for brandishing cow’s head in Hindu temple protest

July 29, 2010

MALAYSIA-POLITICS/TENSIONS (Photo: Protesters stomp on cow’s head, 28 Aug 2009/Samsul Said)

A Malaysian court has sentenced a Muslim to a week in jail and fined 11 others for a brandishing a cow’s head during a protest against the construction of a Hindu temple.

from India Insight:

Are there too many sacred topics in India?

July 16, 2010

Protests and television debates on the apex court's decision to OK  the publication of a book on Maratha ruler Shivaji, banned in 2004 by the Maharashtra government, has put India back in the spotlight on the question of freedom of expression.

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.”

Ethics angle missing in financial crisis debate

March 4, 2010
traders

Worried Wall Street traders watch stocks fall on September 29, 2008/Brendan McDermid

Race and religion pose risks in Malaysian politics

March 1, 2010
malaypm

Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) leaves Friday prayers at Putra Mosque in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur July 10, 2009/Bazuki Muhammad

Muslim Brotherhood to Egypt: Don’t squeeze out moderates

January 27, 2010
badie

Mohamed Badie in an interview with Reuters in Cairo, 26 Jan/Asmaa Waguih

The new leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has said that  government efforts to squeeze Egypt’s biggest opposition group out of politics would only spur on “deviant” and potentially violent Islamic movements.  Mohamed Badie, 66, told Marwa Awad and Edmund Blair of the Reuters Cairo bureau the group would campaign in this year’s parliamentary election, but a state crackdown would likely prevent a repeat of its success in 2005 when it secured a fifth of the seats.

Q+A-The Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on Egyptian politics

By Reuters Staff
January 17, 2010
badeea Mohamed Badeea at news conference in Cairo 16 Jan 2010/Asmaa Waguih

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist political group, has named a conservative as its new leader, suggesting that the country’s biggest opposition group may lower its political profile and focus on a social agenda.

from Raw Japan:

Church attacks shake Kansai

December 17, 2009

In the minds of many people, religious rivalry could occasionally be expected to  spill over into violence in places as diverse as the occupied West Bank or Glasgow's 'Old Firm' football derby.

Top Japan pol calls Christianity self-righteous, Islam hardly better

November 11, 2009

japan-buddhistA top politician in Japan’s ruling Democratic Party has praised Buddhism while calling Christianity “exclusive and self-righteous” and Islam only somewhat better.  Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa made the remarks after meeting the head of the Japan Buddhist Federation, a group traditionally close to the rival Liberal Democratic Party, which was trounced by the Democrats in an August election.