Parallels Many Stories, One World

People ride a horse and carriage through Isfahan's central square in June 2014. With its immense mosques, picturesque bridges and ancient bazaar, the city is a virtual living museum of Iranian traditional culture and is a top tourist destination. After decades of difficult relations with the West, Iran now says it wants more foreign tourists, including Westerners. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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Comedian Jesse Appell performs at a club in Beijing. Appell won a scholarship in 2012 to study comedy in China and has been performing on the country's small but growing stand-up comedy circuit. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption

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A woman looks at flowers placed near the headquarters of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, on Feb. 7. Islamist extremists stormed the offices of the satirical newspaper, killing 12 people in January. Michel Euler/AP hide caption

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Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador (shown in 1977) was gunned down in a church in San Salvador in 1980 after criticizing a government crackdown. He had been celebrating Mass at the time. AP hide caption

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An Indian man on Dec. 2 surveys the damage following a fire a day earlier inside St. Sebastian's Church in New Delhi. This was the most serious of several incidents at churches since December. On a visit to India last week, President Obama urged Indians to respect religious freedom. Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

Some DVD vendors in Shanghai still sell on the street, but a government crackdown forced most out of business or into storefronts. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Langfitt/NPR

Icehotel is located 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. The temperature outside is well below zero, but inside the hotel — while still, of course, below freezing — it's much warmer, hovering in the low 20s. Ari Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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French soldiers stand guard in front of the entrance of a synagogue in Lille, northern France, earlier this month. Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Written during the Soviet era, Mikhail Bulgakov's classic novel, The Master and Margarita, continues to resonate in today's Russia. Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images hide caption

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An estimated 400 new French Jewish immigrants attended a welcoming ceremony after arriving on a flight from France to Tel Aviv, Israel in July 2014. Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images hide caption

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Garry Usher oversees the five lamplighters employed by British Gas. Each night, members of his crew wind up, by hand, the clocks that control when the lamps, like this one at St. John's church in Smith Square, turn on and off. Rich Preston/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Rich Preston/NPR

Jordanian comic book author Suleiman Bakhit, speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum last year, discusses how he has created superheroes that fight religious extremism. While his comics are popular among kids in Jordan, he was injured in an attack several years ago that left a scar on his face. Julia Reinhart/Demotix/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Julia Reinhart/Demotix/Corbis

A man walks through the Grand Mosque in Paris on Jan. 9. Some Muslims have questioned the official version of the shootings in Paris and embraced conspiracy theories. In schools, some Muslim students refused to take part in a moment of silence for the victims. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images hide caption

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A man walks past a makeshift memorial for French Muslim policeman Ahmed Merabet near the site where he was shot dead by gunmen, close to the headquarters of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, with Egon Schiele's 1915 work, Krumau Town Crescent I. It's one of about 1,000 works of Nazi-confiscated art the museum has received. The museum has no record of who owned the painting before it was taken by the Nazis. In some 40 cases, the museum has returned artworks when heirs were found. Daniel Estrin for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Daniel Estrin for NPR

Young members of the Baghdad Rowing Club practice on the river Tigris, close to the University of Mustansiriyah in the Iraqi capital. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

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The winner of Miss Malaysia World 2013, Melinder Kaur Bhullar, poses during the grand finale on Aug. 2, 2013, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Four Muslim women were dropped as contestants after a religious decree, or fatwa, barred them from participating. Rahman Roslan/Getty Images hide caption

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The British theater company 1927 performs its latest play, Golem, based on the character from ancient Jewish folklore. The troupe's trademark is vintage style combined with distinctive animation. Bernhard Mueller hide caption

itoggle caption Bernhard Mueller