Church ban call in Confucius’ birthplace stokes debate

zhongxianA Confucian scholar in Qufu, the Chinese sage’s birthplace, has provoked accusations of religious exclusion after calling for Christian churches to be banned from the town. Zeng Zhenyu, a political adviser in Qufu, Shandong province, complained of plans to turn a temporary Protestant church into a permanent structure accommodating 3,000 worshipers after the Chinese New Year in February.

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Muslims Advance Consensus for Citizenship for All:

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(MARRAKESH, 27 January 2016) — At the invitation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, 250 of the world’s eminent Islamic leaders convened to discuss the rights of religious minorities and the obligation to protect them in Muslim majority states.

This position has historic roots dating to the time of Prophet Mohammed and the Medina Charter. Today’s Declaration was issued at a time of heightened social hostility fueled by violent extremism, widespread Islamophobia and the denial of rights, sometimes justified by misrepresentations of Islamic teachings.

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Americans may be getting less religious, but feelings of spirituality are on the rise

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The phrase “spiritual but not religious” has become widely used in recent years by some Americans who are trying to describe their religious identity. While Pew Research Center does not categorize survey respondents in such a way, our surveys do find that the U.S. public overall appears to be growing a bit less religious – but also somewhat more spiritual.

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Pope Francis speaks on World Communications Day

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Pope Francis gave an address on World Communications Day, and connected this observance to the Year of Mercy. Pope Francis told, ” I would like to encourage everyone to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome.”

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Vatican Official Addresses 1st Arab Thinkers Forum


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(Vatican Radio) Father Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, was speaking at the First Arab Thinkers Forum at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi. He said “to counter extremism we have to commit ourselves to a sincere dialogue.”

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Pope Francis visits Rome Synagogue




Pope Francis has made his first visit to a synagogue as pontiff, greeting Rome’s Jewish community in their house of worship in a show of interfaith friendship. Pope Francis joined a standing ovation when Holocaust survivors wearing striped scarves reminiscent of their camp uniforms were singled out for attention at the start of the ceremony.

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India: Parsi high priests condemn conversion and interfaith marriages


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Parsi high priests have condemned both conversion and interfaith marriages. While acknowledging that several issues plague the community—not the least of which is its dwindling population—they have written, “The solution to our current issue does not lie in cutting out the very basis of Zoroastrianism and allowing widespread conversion and mixed marriages thus, diluting our Zoroastrian identity.”

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Pope Francis Video shares an impassioned call for Interfaith Unity.


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On Wednesday 5th January 2016, Francis launched a monthly video prayer series with an emotional call for peace between people of different faiths.

“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways,” the pontiff said. “We are all children of God.”

Read more…Pope Francis Video shares an impassioned call for Interfaith Unity.

Mother Teresa to be a Saint


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Blessed Teresa of Calcutta will be proclaimed a saint in 2016. On Thursday afternoon, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree regarding a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa (nee Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu). The Pope’s approval for these decrees came during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

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Italian Christians establish safe Mediterranean passageways for refugees




A coalition of Protestant and Catholic organisations has reached an agreement with the Italian government to provide travel and integration services for refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. The government will provide humanitarian visas to ensure the right to take up residence; the visas will not allow passage to other countries in the European Union. Christian agencies will furnish airline tickets to Italy as well as accommodation, assistance with asylum procedures, educational opportunities and Italian language courses.

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