A group of Iraqi militants has asked the influential Sunni organization, the Association of Muslim Scholars, to issue a fatwa religious edict on whether or not Islam allows kidnapping of foreign workers in Iraq, the AP reports. A spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars said the clerics will study the militants’ request, and the militants have said that they are ready to abide by the AMS decision.

Gustav Niebuhr on the bipartisan church.

“‘I think it is probably the suffering of children that most deeply challenges anybody’s personal faith. When you see the depth of energy that people can put into such evil, then of course, yes, there is a flicker, there is a doubt. It would be inhuman, I think, not to react that way.'” Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, on the massacre at Beslan. Read more.

Japanese feminists are dismayed by a recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declaration which recognized Mt. Omine, site of a male-only Shugendo pilgrimage, as a World Heritage landmark. For 1,300 years, only men have been allowed to climb the mountain, despite an 1872 government decree that opened the country’s mountains to women, Bruce Wallace of The Los Angeles Times reports.