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Ayaan Hirsi Ali draws criticism from fellow atheists at Yale

(RNS) A campus appearance by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the outspoken Muslim-turned-atheist activist, is being challenged again, this time at Yale University where she is scheduled to speak Monday night (Sept. 15). While her previous campus critics have included members of religious groups, esp...
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Vatican: Pope Francis not under threat from Islamic State militants

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis faces no specific threat from Islamic State militants and will not be adding extra security measures on his one-day trip to Albania next week, the Vatican said Monday (Sept 15). The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said despite rec...
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“In Defense of Christians” seeks to protect brethren from Egypt to Iraq

(RNS) Watching ancient Christian communities stand nearly defenseless as Islamic militants roll across swaths of the Middle East, coalitions of Christians are banding together to sound the alarm and demand government action. The most recent effort is a three-day conference (Sept. 9-11...
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Regensburg Redux: Was Pope Benedict XVI right about Islam? (ANALYSIS)

(RNS) Eight years ago this Friday, Sept. 12, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria in which he seemed to diagnose Islam as a religion inherently flawed by fanaticism. It was an undiplomatic assertion, to say the least — especially coming a da...
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Al-Qaida overshadowed by Islamic State’s influence

WASHINGTON (RNS) Al-Qaida's call Thursday (Sept. 4) for a holy war in India is the latest sign of how the terror group is battling to stay relevant in the face of its new rival, the Islamic State.     That rival, which began as an al-Qaida breakaway group, is overshadowing the old-guar...
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Civil rights groups to feds: Purge your anti-Muslim training materials

(RNS) Civil rights and religious groups say efforts to rid federal agencies of anti-Muslim bias have faltered and prejudice against Muslims persists, particularly in the training of anti-terrorism officers. On Thursday (Aug. 14), 75 groups — including the Council on American-Islamic R...
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US must ‘destroy’ Islamic State, say religious conservatives

(RNS) A coalition of more than 50 religious leaders, led by mostly conservative Catholic, evangelical and Jewish activists, is calling on President Obama to sharply escalate military action against Islamic extremists in Iraq. They say “nothing short of the destruction” of the Islamic St...
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Islamic State accused of capturing Yazidi women and forcing them to convert, or else

(RNS) Senior leaders in Iraq’s minority Yazidi community say their wives and daughters, forcibly held by Islamic militants, are being given a choice: Convert to Islam and marry jihadists — or else. Mirza Dinnayi, a senior Yazidi leader and a former adviser on minority affairs to the I...
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Some Nigerians call for banning the hijab to prevent female suicide bombers

(RNS) In northern Nigeria, mounting fears of militant female suicide bombers have raised calls to ban the hijab, or the veil that covers the head, chest and, in some cases, the entire body. Last week, four women believed to be members of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram carried o...
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Richard Dawkins: Atheism’s asset or liability?

(RNS) It may go down as one of the shortest-lived peace accords on record. Late last month, two heavy-hitters within organized atheism, activist Ophelia Benson and scientist Richard Dawkins, reached a detente of sorts about online debate and posted it on their separate websites. “Di...
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