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From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

Pilgrims' progress

Channel 4 has gained rare access to the haj in Mecca. Bader Ben Hirsi is one of those filming the event

Obituary: Michel Pinseau

MICHEL PINSEAU graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts as an architect in 1956 and began to take part in the building frenzy that marked the beginning of the so-called "30 glorious years", the years of prosperity. In Paris there was an instant need for new offices and, in the Paris region, a great demand for housing.

The legend of the holy tomato

Look very closely at this tomato. Does it contain just seeds and flesh - or can you make out the word - the Arabic symbol for Allah? If so, you are just one of the witnesses to the miracle of Bradford.

Faith & Reason: Elvis, Dawkins, the Pope and the lesser of evils

Want to know the difference between religion and mere supersition? Then first consider the distinctions between atheism and science and decide which could best do business with organised crime

Fat chance of turning this tide of old cobblers

Could Lord Bragg not use a more sensitive phrase, like `a naturally heavy-boned lot of good'?

Faith & Reason: The veil which shrouds Mecca starts to lift

For centuries Islam's holiest city has refused access to all non- Muslims. But the appetites of a global media may cause profound change

Historical Notes: A proud people who built aqueducts by eye

BURSTING OUT of Anatolia in the 14th century, the Ottoman Turks conquered the whole Balkan peninsula, from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. By the time Mehmed the Conqueror took Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, most of Europe's Orthodox population was under Ottoman rule. In 1517 the empire swept up the heartlands of Islam - Syria, Arabia, and Egypt, along with the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. In Europe, Belgrade held out until 1524, but it was captured by Suleiman the Magnificent, whose armies overran Hungary and laid siege to Vienna.

Travel: Passport - Paco Pena: `I have never found anywhere more beautiful than Rome ...'

I love London desperately. I have a home there (as well as one in my Spanish home-town of Cordoba), and it is where I began my solo effort in life. It is where I took my first steps abroad and it marked the beginning of my career as an international flamenco guitarist.

Travel: Saudi - Wine, women and song? No chance

Jeremy Atiyah, who has travelled widely in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, assesses the prospects for the first British package holiday- makers

The West is blind to its own hypocrisy: Faith & Reason

For Muslims the festival of Eid should be a joyous celebration at the end of a month of fasting. But this year it is wrapped in a cloth of suffering

Wednesday Book: Cursed with good fortune

SAUDI ARABIA: THE SHAPE

Obituary: Professor Syed Ali Ashraf

THE MUSLIMS most prominent in the British media are known because of the noise they make and the heat they generate. They fit into preconceived ideas of Muslim fanatics and extremists. It is natural therefore that Syed Ali Ashraf is virtually unknown in the media. This is a pity, as Ashraf was one of the half-dozen most important Muslim scholars of the last few decades.

An uneasy crown passes to prince

THE SULTAN of Brunei yesterday invested his eldest son as his successor in a glittering ceremony that was intended to underline the stability of the oil-rich but troubled monarchy.
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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

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Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

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The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

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How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

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11 best bedside tables

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Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

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Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

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Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

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'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

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The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat