Monday’s Religion News Roundup

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Muslims worldwide want Islam to play a significant role in their countries’ political life, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, but have mixed feelings about militants like Hamas and Hezbollah, the LA Times reports.

Al Qaida was rejected by strong majorities in every Muslim country except Nigeria, where the group has a 49% approval rating, according to the survey.

Attackers gunned down an elderly Christian couple late Sunday in their Baghdad home, according to CNN, the latest in a deadly string of violence that has spurred international outcry. Pakistan’s minister for minorities has condemned a hard-line cleric for offering cash to anyone who kills a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy against Islam, the AP reports.

The FBI’s use of undercover informants has come under fire from some Muslims after the arrest of an Oregon man accused of trying to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. FBI technicians had supplied the device.

Ordinary Europeans are becoming increasingly vocal in opposing Muslims, ditching traditions of tolerance, reports the AP. A human rights group urged Indonesia to overturn Shariah law in Aceh, saying the application of the Islamic legal code has resulted in widespread rights abuses.

A double-amputee war veteran already accused of misdemeanors against Westboro Baptist Church now faces an aggravated battery charge after firearms were found in his vehicle, which was parked near church members.

Four pioneering female rabbis are meeting in Massachusetts for a Hanukkah celebration featuring the first ordained North American Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative female rabbis, and the first Open Orthodox rabba. Cuban President Raul Castro celebrated Hanukkah on Sunday with the country’s tiny Jewish community.

A Hasidic rabbi and three of his sons are suspected of sexually abusing at least four female relatives, after the rabbi’s eldest victim – his daughter – confided in a co-worker at a Jewish school, police told the AP. A German cardinal begged forgiveness as he presented a report that showed more than 250 priests and religion teachers abused children in a diocese that was once presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. An expert in religious texts testified that the writings of the former street preacher accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart drew heavily from the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Lawyers defending California’s Prop 8 say their rope-a-dope routine in the first federal trial was part of a strategy to win in appeals courts.

A Calgary parish has become the first Anglican church in Canada to accept Pope Benedict’s invitation to convert wholesale to the Roman Catholic faith. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion, may be retiring in 2013, but don’t expect him to vanish from public life, says the Boston Globe.

A Texas woman says she was promised a Christian working environment and is devastated, just devastated, after learning that her boss, a prominent televangelist, was having an affair and his company was trying to cover it up. She’s suing.

Philadelphia’s growing Latino Catholic population has a new church. With white Catholics leaving their church in record numbers, it will be up to laypersons – not just bishops and priests – to revitalize the faith, a panel of speakers told Philadelphians.

PETA is using the pope’s recent condom remarks in an ad encouraging people to spay and neuter their pets (see pic at top left). Christians have erected billboards in several cities proclaiming Jesus’ return on May 21, 2011.

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