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Muslim leader says pope is model of what religious leader should be

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Pope Francis, like Islam's Sufi mystic theologians and poets, "is trying to do good for the sake of the Good One, motivated by love and compassion," said the president of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland.

Mohamad Bashar Arafat, a Syrian who has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, was visiting the Vatican and speaking to groups in Rome in early October as a guest of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See as part of the U.S. State Department's international speakers program.

Charities prepare to mitigate impact of federal government shutdown

Catholic charities and churches across the Arlington diocese in northern Virginia have been looking at how to lessen the impact of the government shutdown on the community.

In response to the government freeze, Arlington diocesan Catholic Charities was giving nonperishable food to families affected by the shutdown through food pantries in Alexandria and Leesburg.

"We have plenty of supplies, but we don't know the kind of response we are going to get," said Sally O'Dwyer, Catholic Charities vice president for community service. "We will give until we have no more."

Survey: Hispanics like Pope Francis and the Democratic Party

A new survey of Hispanic political and religious values finds they're overwhelmingly Democrats who hold a largely negative view of the Republican Party.

But a Public Religion Research Institute survey released Friday at the Religion Newswriters Association conference finds that their religious profile is shifting:

North Carolina bishops to exit council over same-sex marriage, abortion

Both North Carolina Catholic bishops are resigning from the North Carolina Council of Churches, an ecumenical organization comprised of Christian church leaders from across the state, because the group supports some issues that contradict Catholic teaching.

In a statement Friday, Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis and Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge said they "deeply value the long-standing relationship with the North Carolina Council of Churches and have informed the council of their strong desire to continue to work together on issues where there is substantial agreement."

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