“‘This shrine’s a problem.’” NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to Washington Post embed Karl Vickabout the “politics” complicating things in Najaf. Listen.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Sunday that licences are no longer needed for indoor talks and that the free speech venue Speakers’ Corner can now host performances and exhibitions. The Straits Times reports on only caveat to the new rules: the events organised cannot concern race or religion.

Michael Newdow announces plans to refile his pledge challenge in the federal 9th Circuit next month with another atheist parent whose custody can’t be questioned as Newdow’s was. Newdow is also helping other atheists file legal challenges to the pledge in other states.

The Best Practice Team, a independent group formed to address sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, released a report yesterday offering a model for responding to allegations of abuse in any institution, not just the Church. The model requires institutions to be much more open about allegations of abuse and includes guidelines for quickly referring victims and family to outside help. Read more.

Christopher Bader, a sociology professor at the conservative Baptist Baylor University, talks withJeffrey Weiss, of The Dallas Morning News, about his recent study on people who believe they are UFO abductees or victims of religion-linked ritual abuse. Bader’s study, which was recently published in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, argues that belief in UFO abductions and in ritual abuse both include a large dose of faith, and that study of these groups is a way to understand how successful faiths develop. “What they have in common,” Dr. Bader told Weiss, “is that they mostly follow the pattern found in other new religious movements.”

“In the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan, the killers pray toward Mecca. The million displaced people do as well. Marauding men on horseback, the women raped by them, the rebels who incited the fighting and the politicians, soldiers and police officers who have failed to control it, nearly all are Muslim…” Marc Lacey of The New York Times reassesses the religious aspect of Sudan’s civil war.