Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered an investigation into a cartoon apparently depicting the Prophet Muhammad in an official Palestinian n(...)

 Saudi blogger Raef Badawi has had the second round of his public flogging postponed on medical grounds, Amnesty International said. Photograph: AFP PHOTO/FAMILY HO

Saudi Arabia plans to delay the public flogging of a rights activist on medical grounds for a second time, Amnesty International said, raising the po(...)

A Muslim protester holds a placard reading “Islam” and another one holds one reading “For peace and against terrorism” during a demonstration outside Atocha Station in Madrid against the recent Paris Charlie Hebdo attacks . Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Imagine an attempt to ban the veneration of the Prophet Muhammad. Go further and imagine a plan to level his tomb in Medina, the second holiest sit(...)

‘There is the danger that in conceding that freedoms can rightly be limited we turn the discussion into one in which we are considering how much the victim of an attack on freedom of speech like Charlie Hebdo was to blame for its own fate.’ Above, a woman holds a placard   in front of the French embassy in Rome. Photograph:  Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” – John Milton, AreopagiticaIt is an uncomfo(...)

Iraqi security forces  take part in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, earlier this week. Photograph: Reuters

At least nine people have been killed after militants attacked a police station in an Iraqi village north of Baghdad.The attack started at dawn with a(...)

Pope Francis arrives for the opening of the Synod on the themes of family in Vatican City. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In his former life, Pope Francis was noted for his openness to people of all faiths and of none. In 2011, he said “dialogue is born from an attitude o(...)

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq’s second city, Mosul in a video recording posted online on  July 5th.  Photograph: Reuters

When American forces raided a home near Fallujah during the turbulent 2004 offensive against the Iraqi Sunni insurgency, they got the hard-core milita(...)

Iraqi men buy military uniforms yesterday at a shop in Basra, southeast of Baghdad. Photograph: Reuters/Essam Al-Sudani

Reported massacres of Shia soldiers and civilians in cities and villages captured by the radical Sunni Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) are m(...)

Isis fighters  guard a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul. Photograph: Reuters

After seizing the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Takrit, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis), also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,(...)

J Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya, in 2011. Photograph: Bryan Denton/The New York Times

A boyish-looking US diplomat was meeting for the first time with the Islamist leaders of eastern Libya’s most formidable militias. It was September 9t(...)