Malaysia: Committed Christians Promote Harmony in Multireligious Society

The representatives of the “Perkasa” human rights group, together with the youth wing of the PAS Islamist party, were among the various Malay-Muslim groups present at a Christmas celebration organized during the Christmas season by the “Christians for Peace and Harmony in Malaysia Movement, CPHM”. The event also included groups such as Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim), the Selangor Islamic Religious Council, the Malaysian Missionary Buddhist Society, the Malaysian Buddhist Association of Malaysia and the Bahai Malay Community, along with other Christian leaders.

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Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: Annual Meeting with World Council of Churches

The annual meeting with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches was held in Rome from 10-11 January. Staff of both the PCID and the Office of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation of the World Council of Churches participated.

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‘McJesus’ exhibit featuring crucified Ronald McDonald sparks violent protests in Israel

A sculpture of Ronald McDonald nailed to a cross — a spoof of the crucifixion of Jesus — has sparked violent protests in Israel, with rioters hurling a firebomb at the museum. Hundreds of Christians calling for the removal of the sculpture, entitled “McJesus,” demonstrated at the museum in the northern city of Haifa last week.

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Egypt’s Sisi opens mega-mosque and Middle East’s largest cathedral in New Capital

CAIRO (Reuters) – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated Egypt’s largest church and mosque in the New Administrative Capital on Sunday, the eve of Coptic Christmas, in a message of tolerance in the predominantly Muslim country.

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China passes law to make Islam ‘compatible with socialism’

China’s main English newspaper, Global Times, reported on Saturday that after a meeting with representatives from eight Islamic associations, government officials “agreed to guide Islam to be compatible with socialism and implement measures to Sinicize the religion.”

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Thailand’s rebel female Buddhist monks defy tradition


NAKHON PATHOM, Thailand (Reuters) – Boodsabann Chanthawong recently joined a growing number of women defying generations of Thai Buddhist tradition by becoming ordained as novice monks at an unrecognized all-female monastery outside Bangkok.

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Goodwill Opening Speech – Religions for Peace Bangladesh Seminar

Religions for Peace Bangladesh is holding this symposium on the need for world and regional peace and the importance of dialogue, not only between religions but also within religions. We in Australia commend their initiative. I thank you for your invitation and gracious welcome. It is eight years since my first visit to Dhaka and in that time Bangladesh has made good economic progress which will continue into the future.

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Indonesia’s interfaith figures call for fight against ‘religious exclusivism’

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A number of Indonesian religious, cultural and interfaith figures have formulated a document called the Jakarta Treatise in response to the rising tide of religious conservatism sweeping the country. The document, prepared by former Constitution Court Chief Justice and Catholic Priests, is an attempt to play down the religion card in the forthcoming elections.

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Europe: Addressing Global Challenges: Thinking and Acting Together

Over 30 senior leaders of different faith communities from MENA and the European countries, together with experts on migration, held two days of intensive conversation about mass migration in MENA and its impact in EU regions. The key focus was understanding and collaboration on urgent needs with regards to migration and patterns of migration movements. This event was co-sponsored by the European Council of Religious Leaders.

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German politicians propose a ‘religion tax’ for Muslims to counter extremism

BERLIN — When Germans file their annual tax returns, religion matters a great deal. If you’re Catholic, tax authorities will likely collect an income tax surcharge of about 10 percent on behalf of your local church. The same applies to most Protestants. The tax applies to almost all baptized Christians, and church representatives say that the state-enforced payments are crucial in financing cemeteries and community work. So far, practicing Muslims have been excluded from that rule, but some leading members of the German government’s coalition parties appear determined to change that.

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