Some interesting law and religion news stories from around the web this week:
- Houston Mayor Annise Parker said the city is withdrawing the subpoenas it had issued to local pastors who had spoken out against an ordinance that contains provisions concerning the LGBT community.
- The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis will make an ecumenical trip to Turkey from November 28 to 30, and there is speculation as to whether he will press President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to combat the anti-Christian hostility in the country.
- Schools in China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region, where a series of attacks has killed hundreds in recent months, said they would actively discourage religious practice at home. The city blames the attacks on religious extremism.
- On Thursday, Israel ordered the first full closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City in 14 years in response to Jewish groups’ plans to march on Al-Aqsa after two attack on Jews in the city in just over a week.
- An American woman is claiming that she should be permitted to possess the drug meth, because of her religious beliefs as a Wiccan.
- A Nebraska inmate requested “accommodated status” for his church, a status that would allow him to “order and wear religious clothing and pendants” and “meet for weekly worship services and classes.” He identifies himself as a “member of the Church of the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” and the religious clothing he seeks to wear is “full Pirate regalia.”
- Opinion: After a secular party’s win against the Islamist Ennahda Party in the Tunisian election, observers should applaud Tunisia for successfully holding another election, and resist the simplistic tendency to frame Tunisia’s transition as a conflict between enlightened “democratic” secularists and backwards Islamists.
- Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill met with the Pope of the Coptic Church and discussed the situation in Ukraine, drawing parallels between the events in Ukraine and the Arab Spring.
- Report: In 2014, sixty people have been executed in Saudi Arabia, where religion-related crimes are among those that carry the death penalty.