Saudi Arabia announces annual hajj pilgrimage starts on Oct. 25
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia has announced that the Islamic hajj pilgrimage, which attracts around 3 million Muslims worldwide each year, will begin on Thursday, Oct. 25.
The kingdom's High Court, comprised of religious scholars who serve as judges, announced Tuesday that Eid al-Adha celebrations coinciding with the pilgrimage will start on Oct. 26.
Hajj is among the five pillars of Islam and is required of all able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime.
Already some 1.4 million people from 160 countries have arrived in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for hajj, which according to Islam traces the steps of prophets such as Muhammad, Abraham and Ishmael.
Hajj is a spiritual experience aimed at fostering closeness to God, the cleansing of sins and a sense of unity and equality among Muslims.
N.Y. pastor and wife cannot take Lord's name in vain, judge rules
NEW YORK — A judge has told a Staten Island pastor and his wife that they cannot take the Lord's name in vain.
Civil Court Judge Philip Straniere has ruled that the couple could not change their last name to ChristIsKing.
Michael and Angela Nwadiuko expressed disappointment in the ruling.
The judge cited the separation of church and state in his ruling earlier this month.
The couple's request six years ago to change their son Jeremy's first name to JesusIsLord also was denied by the same judge.
Their daughter's name is Rejoice.
Nwadiuko is a pastor of Christ the Lord Evangelistic Association. He told the Daily News he holds no grudge against the judge despite the ruling. He said he prays "that God will bless his life."
Effort to restore church that was safe haven for slaves gets a boost
NEW ALBANY, Ind. — An ambitious effort to restore a southern Indiana church that was part of the Underground Railroad has received a boost from a foundation, but organizers say there's much work to do.
The News and Tribune reports the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County has agreed to provide $25,000 toward the estimated $400,000 cost of repairing the Town Clock Church in New Albany.
Foundation Executive Director Jerry Finn says project supporters have begun sending grant proposals to charitable organizations and plan to ask congregations to join the project.
He says the goal is to begin some of the work this year.
The church served as a safe haven for slaves who were trying to make their way north to freedom during the 1860s.
Vatican cardinal causes stir by showing alarmist Muslim video
VATICAN CITY — A Vatican cardinal has caused a stir at a meeting of the world's bishops by screening an alarmist video about the inroads that Islam is making in Europe and the world.
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, the Ghanaian head of the Vatican's office for justice and peace, aired the YouTube clip this weekend during the synod of bishops, a three-week gathering of top churchmen to map out strategies to halt the decline of Christianity.