Pope Francis passes Middle East diplomacy test

Watch CBS' latest story on Pope Francis' 3-day trip to the Middle East, a strong Faith Diplomacy initiative that attempts to stabilize the position of the Christian population in the region.

[From the Archives] It may now be time to swing for the fences and for Washington to increase quiet coordination with the Vatican.

Neon Tommy is hosting short stories and blog posts by reporters traveling to Pune and Mumbai, India, through the Knight Program on Media and Religion, headed by Diane Winston at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

Even in the easygoing, laid-back environment of modern-day Los Angeles, bringing Muslims and Jews together to talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict is viewed as playing with fire. For decades, “the Muslim-Jewish dialogue that existed in L.A. only took place at the leadership level, among a handful of left-leaning Muslim and Jewish leaders,” recalls Edina Lekovic, policy and programming director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Khaled al-Shaya, a top Saudi cleric, recently called on Islamic countries to ban and legislate against Google, after the internet search giant’s apparent “disrespect of Islamic beliefs” in continuing to display an inflammatory video against Islam, news website CNN Arabic reported on Saturday. Google - the parent company of video sharing site Youtube, which hosted the controversial video entitled “The Innocence of Muslims” - had “insulted the Prophet” by not removing the video, said Shaya.

Over the past few years, Sabir Nazar has emerged as Pakistan's best known cartoonist for drawing a series of cartoons that take a sharply critical look at religious orthodoxy, conspiracy theories, and misinterpretations of current affairs that feed into the Pakistani mass consciousness. Through cartoons and comments posted on the social networking site Facebook, he offers biting insights that turn commonly-held viewpoints and beliefs about Pakistan on their heads.

A far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) politician reiterated on Tuesday his belief that a declaration denouncing specific parts of the Quran must be signed by Muslims living in Britain. Gerard Batten, an MEP, renewed his suggestion first proposed in 2006 while speaking to the British daily news website the Guardian, adding that Europe made a huge mistake by allowing “an explosion of mosques across their land.”