Putin’s elevation of Crimea to Russia’s Holy Land status baffles historians

President Vladimir Putin’s elevation of Crimea to the status of Russia’s Holy Land has prompted puzzlement and scorn from historians and commentators. Crimea for Russians is “like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem” for Muslims and Jews, Putin said, and would be regarded this way “from now on and forever.” Vladimir the Great was baptized in […]

Pope says it is wrong to equate Islam with violence

Pope Francis said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype. Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, told reporters aboard his plane returning from a visit to Turkey that he understood why Muslims were offended […]

Pope Francis visits Istanbul Mosques

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Pope Francis continues his visit to Turkey this morning, a Muslim nation that has been a crossroads of religious faith, and sometimes conflict, for centuries. It’s the second-day of his three-day visit. Francis is only the fourth pope to have made the trip. He was greeted at Istanbul airport by the Orthodox […]

Nigeria mosque blasts death toll tops 102

Kano, Nigeria – More than 102 people were killed in the bomb explosions at the central mosque in this city, said a hospital worker. A mortuary attendant at the Murtala specialist hospital Kano, Malam Isa Labaran, on Saturday told Associated Press that he counted over 102 dead bodies deposited inside the mortuary on Friday after […]

In Turkey Pope Calls for Muslim Opposition to Islamic State

In his first visit as pope to a predominantly Muslim country, Pope Francis said in Turkey on Friday that inter-religious dialogue, more than just military action, was required to combat Islamic State militants who are attacking Christians and other religious minorities along the country’s southern border. “To this end, it is essential that all citizens […]

What Pope Francis Hopes To Accomplish In his visit to Turkey

By Josephine McKenna VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis leaves on Friday (Nov. 28) for a three-day visit to Turkey and, given the issues on his plate and the troubles in the neighborhood, it is expected to be his most challenging and potentially most dangerous trip yet. There are so few Christians — around 120,000 — […]

The Struggle to Erase Saudi Extremism

The rise of the Islamic State has once again turned the spotlight on Saudi Arabia, which is accused of supplying the theological foundation of the movement’s brutal ideology, as well as many of its fighters and funders. The kingdom faced similar criticism in 2001 after 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 terrorist attacks […]

Jerusalem violence: Fear of deadly ‘religious war’ between Jews and Muslims

JERUSALEM —Israelis and Palestinians expressed fear Wednesday that their decades-old conflict was moving beyond the traditional nationalist struggle between two peoples fighting for their homelands and spiraling into a raw and far-reaching religious confrontation between Jews and Muslims. The threat — perhaps more accurately the dread — of an incipient but deadly “religious war” was […]

Islamic State video fuels concerns about foreign jihadis

Several of the jihadis appearing in a new Islamic State video of the beheadings of a dozen captives, including American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, appear to be French and British. The European residence of the jihadis is likely to add further pressure on European governments to crack down on their citizens fighting in the Middle […]

Muslims, not Columbus, discovered Americas, says Turkish president

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century, nearly three centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot there. “Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” the conservative president said in a televised speech […]