Elizabeth Bryant is an author at Religion News Service.
France ponders its response to shootings: Will xenophobia or multiculturalism win?
PARIS (RNS) French leaders are echoing the message of inclusiveness. “France is not Houellebecq. It’s not intolerance and fear,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said last week, referring to the controversial novelist Michel Houellebecq.
Political and religious leaders denounce European anti-Jewish outbursts tied to Gaza
PARIS (RNS) French authorities warn that extremist groups are trying to capitalize on public anger over Gaza, at a time of growing alarm over French youths joining conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
As French cemeteries fill up, Jews seek burial plots in the Holy Land
(RNS) Jewish-only plots in some French cemeteries — along with their leases — are rapidly running out.
Worried about their future, French Jews take a bet on Israel
(RNS) Last year, a record 3,270 French Jews made aliyah — or immigration to Israel — a 63 percent hike from 2012. The Tibi family plans to leave Paris this summer — for good.
Russian Orthodox Church to be built on Seine River in Paris
PARIS (RNS) If all goes as planned, a golden-domed Russian Orthodox Church will flank the Seine River two years from now, a glittering symbol of Moscow’s growing spiritual and political presence abroad.
Central African Republic’s top clerics call for peacekeepers
PARIS (RNS) The Central African Republic’s top Muslim and Christian clerics called Thursday for a United Nations peacekeeping force to end their country’s brutal conflict.
French comedian’s straight-armed gesture provokes charges of anti-Semitism
PARIS (RNS) French comedian Dieudonne is kicking up fresh controversy with a straight-armed gesture he has tagged the “quenelle.” Dieudonne claims it’s anti-establishment, not anti-Semitic; Jewish groups liken it to a Nazi salute.
French Jews face uncertain future after scandal
PARIS (RNS) After the country’s top rabbi resigned after admitting to plagiarism, the search begins for a new grand rabbi to lead Europe’s largest Jewish population amid questions about how inclusive French Judaism should be.
New bells set to ring out from Notre Dame Cathedral
PARIS (RNS) Only one of Notre Dame Cathedral’s original 10 bells survived the French Revolution, and officials hope a new set of nine replacement bells will be more befitting of “the first church of France.”
Priest/Mayor reflects French divide over gay marriage
EREAC, France (RNS) Elie Geffray straddles both sides of a bitter French divide over gay marriage. As a retired Catholic priest, he will bow to a church that adamantly opposes same-sex unions. But as a small village mayor, he’s also willing to marry gay couples in civil ceremonies.
Tunisians worry about loss of freedoms gained under the Arab Spring
TUNIS, TUNISIA (RNS) Increasingly, critics say, free expression — a cornerstone of Tunisia's 2011 revolution — is under attack. A string of incidents has fueled an intense debate about the role of religion, artistic expression and women's rights in this once staunchly secular North African country. By Elizabeth Bryant.