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Islamic State refugees grow disgruntled: ‘We loved them so much’

SANLIURFA, Turkey (RNS) Hassan, a chain-smoking 20-year-old from Syria, sits in a cafe across the border from his homeland, one of thousands who escaped the clutches of the Islamic State group. Not so long ago, he was one of their recruits, having undergone four months of religion tra...
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Islamic State militant ‘Jihadi John’ named by media

LONDON (RNS) The Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John,” who has been seen in videos of hostages’ beheadings, was identified Thursday (Feb. 26) by the BBC and The Washington Post. Mohammed Emwazi, who is in his mid-20s, is believed to be a Kuwaiti-born British man from west Lon...
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Separated by violence, Muslims and Buddhists seek to be reunited in Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar (RNS) Buddhists and Muslims in the central city of Meiktila were separated along faith lines after interreligious violence destroyed roughly 800 homes in 2013. Now residents have petitioned the government to allow them to reintegrate, but some remain skeptical about the...
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New online atlas ‘heat-maps’ views on abortion, gay marriage, immigration

WASHINGTON (RNS) Anyone from politicians to scholars to the simply curious can now see just how deeply the nation is divided on abortion or same-sex marriage — and discover there’s significant consensus on immigration — with a new online mapping tool. The latest edition of the America...
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What ISIS really is: Sham Muslims, real criminals (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Less than six months ago, few outside the Middle East knew much about a group called ISIS or ISIL or the Islamic State. It was not till mid-June that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed himself the caliph, and ISIS the territory he ruled. As a movement, however, ISIS ha...
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Theological purity tests will ruin presidents and the presidency (ANALYSIS)

WASHINGTON (RNS) American presidents need wisdom, integrity, good judgment and humility. They should, if they are inclined, be free to draw strength from belief in and devotion to God. What’s more, Americans prefer their presidents to have religious faith. Yet pundits, conservative re...
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The ‘Splainer: Martyr or terrorist? It depends ...

The ‘Splainer (as in, “You’ve got some ‘splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which RNS gives you everything you need to know about current events to help you hold your own at a cocktail party. (RNS) “Martyr” is an old word getting new attention. Earlier this month, Pope Franc...
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Mayor: ‘Without Jews Paris would not be city that it is’

WASHINGTON (RNS) Jews and Muslims are part of the fabric of French society, despite recent terror attacks in Paris that shined a light on long-running discrimination and attacks aimed at both groups, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Thursday (Feb. 19). “Without Jews Paris would not be th...
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Obama: Alleged war on Islam is ‘an ugly lie’

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama said Thursday (Feb. 19)  that governments across the globe are obligated to confront the “warped ideologies” that lead to terrorism, “especially their attempt to use Islam to justify their violence.” National leaders must also dispute claims that there...
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Onward, Christian Soldiers: The complicated legacy of the Crusades (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) It used to be that Social Security reform was the “third rail” of American politics. Touch it and you got zapped. The same could be said for discussing religion — it’s just something you didn’t talk about in polite company. President Obama recently stumbled into a third. The “C...
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