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Tag Archives: Religion

China’s brutal Ramzan crackdown on Muslims is of no interest to Pakistan or even US

The month of Ramazan has begun and Muslims all over the world are fasting. From the far-flung near Arctic towns in Norway and Iceland, to the tropical locales of Indonesia and Malaysia, local customs, special foods and spiritual regeneration are all front and centre for fasting Muslims. So, it is nearly everywhere except next door to Pakistan, in Xinjiang, China’s predominantly Muslim province.

One post on the website of the Food and Drug Administration of Xinjiang says “food service places will operate during normal hours in Ramadan”, and more importantly, “During Ramadan do not engage in fasting, vigils and other religious activities”.

According to the Save Uighur website, “China is the only place in the world where Muslims are not allowed to fast. Uighurs and Muslims have been forbidden from fasting for the last three years.” Other reports point out that Ramazan restrictions apply in particular to schools and government offices.

https://theprint.in/opinion/chinas-brutal-ramzan-crackdown-on-muslims-is-of-no-interest-to-pakistan-or-even-us/233618/

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Posted by on May 20, 2019 in Asia, Uncategorized

 

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The Guardian view on abortion: protecting a human right

No law can end abortions, however severe its restrictions and however harsh its penalties. Each day almost 70,000 unsafe abortions are carried out around the world, and they are vastly more likely to happen in countries with strict laws. What such legislation does do is force some women to continue pregnancies against their wishes, while risking the lives and wellbeing of others. Women in the US have seen their ability to terminate pregnancies dismantled piece by piece. Now states are racing to outlaw or dramatically curb abortions with extreme and unconstitutional bills. The aim is to directly challenge Roe v Wade, the US supreme court ruling that established that abortion is legal before the foetus is viable outside the womb, at around 24 weeks. Last Tuesday, the governor of Georgia signed a bill essentially banning abortions after six weeks from 2020. Some described it as a sign that men who wish to control women’s bodies have no idea of how they actually work. More likely, those who pushed hardest for the change understand all too well that many women will not know they are pregnant until it is too late.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/12/the-guardian-view-on-abortion-protecting-a-human-right

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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From Christchurch to Colombo, Islamists and the far right are playing a deadly duet

How should we make sense of the Easter Sunday church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people and wounded 500? Now that Islamic State appears to have claimed responsibility for the attacks, the question arises: is this merely the latest symptom of an epidemic of Islamist violence, motivated by a belief in offensive jihad (“holy war”)?

The answer is complex and not necessarily in line with public perceptions. Islamist terrorism has been decreasing globally, and particularly in the west, since its peak in 2014-15 when Isis established its caliphate. In recent years, however, far-right supremacist terrorism has risen sharply, to more than one-third of terror attacks globally, even accounting for every extremist killing in the US in 2018. Yet it was more likely to be overlooked or tolerated by western polities, because of cultural history, familiarity and legal protections extended to domestic groups (such as US constitutional safeguards for freedom of speech and the right to bear arms). Thus, attacks by Muslims between 2006 and 2015 received 4.6 times more coverage in US media than other terrorist attacks (controlling for target type, fatalities, arrests).

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/25/christchurch-colombo-islamists-far-right-sri-lanka

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Asia

 

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The Corruption of the Vatican’s Gay Elite Has Been Exposed

I spent much of this week reading and trying to absorb the new and devastating book by one Frédéric Martel on the gayness of the hierarchy at the top of the Catholic Church, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy. It’s a bewildering and vast piece of reporting — Martel interviewed no fewer than “41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignori, 45 apostolic nuncios, secretaries of nunciatures or foreign ambassadors, 11 Swiss Guards and over 200 Catholic priests and seminarians.” He conducted more than 1,500 interviews over four years, is quite clear about his sources, and helps the reader weigh their credibility. He keeps the identity of many of the most egregiously hypocritical cardinals confidential, but is unsparing about the dead.

The picture Martel draws is jaw-dropping. Many of the Vatican gays — especially the most homophobic — treat their vows of celibacy with an insouciant contempt. Martel argues that many of these cardinals and officials have lively sex lives, operate within a “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture, constantly hit on young men, hire prostitutes, throw chem-sex parties, and even pay for sex with church money. How do we know this? Because, astonishingly, they tell us.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/andrew-sullivan-the-vaticans-corruption-has-been-exposed.html

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Two sons of Rev. Moon have split from his church — and their followers are armed

Sanctuary Church — whose proper name is World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, but which also goes by the more muscular-sounding Rod of Iron Ministries — stands inconspicuously on a country road that winds through the village of Newfoundland, Pa., 25 miles southeast of Scranton. The one-story, low-slung building used to be St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. Before that, it was a community theater, which is why there are no pews, only a semicircle of tiered seats facing the old stage, now an altar.

On a Sunday morning in late February, 38-year-old Pastor Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, entered stage right wearing a white hoodie and cargo pants. He strapped on a leather headband and picked up a microphone. “Okay, take it away,” he said to the electric pianist and two female vocalists who function as the choir. They launched into the first of four songs: “O, light of grace, shining above / lighting my dim shadowed way …”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style/wp/2018/05/21/feature/two-sons-of-rev-moon-have-split-from-his-church-and-their-followers-are-armed/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.19de24b96441

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2018 in North America

 

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Reciprocity, not tolerance, is the basis of healthy societies

The purpose of religious tolerance has always been, and remains, to maintain the power and purity of the dominant religion in a given state. Most dominant religions in most states today profess tolerance, but they also seem to feel especially threatened. Religious nationalist movements in the United States, Europe, India, Turkey and Israel all want to strengthen the relationship between state identity and the dominant religion. In each case, democratic elections have reinforced the significance of the majority’s religion to the meaning of state and nation, elevating the power of that religion. We can see a rising chauvinism in the mix of Catholicism and politics in eastern Europe today that portrays liberals and communists (often a code for ‘Jews’) as enemies. We can see a similar dynamic in the Turkish celebration of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. And we can also see it in the reemerging influence of Evangelicals in the US, as defenders of ‘religious liberty’ in their associations and businesses, and against ‘Sharia’ – as they imagine it – in the public sphere.

https://aeon.co/essays/reciprocity-not-tolerance-is-the-basis-of-healthy-societies?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=atom-feed

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2018 in Reportages

 

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Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore?

For centuries, renewal movements have emerged within Christianity and taken on different forms and names. Often, they have invoked the word “evangelical.” Followers of Martin Luther, who emphasized the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, described themselves in this way. The Cambridge clergyman Charles Simeon, who led the Low Church renewal movement within the Church of England, adopted the label. The trans-Atlantic eighteenth-century awakenings and revivals led by the Wesleys were also often called “evangelical.” In the nineteen-forties and fifties, Billy Graham and others promoted the word to describe themselves and the religious space they were seeking to create between the cultural withdrawal espoused by the fundamentalist movement, on the one hand, and mainline Protestantism’s departures from historic Christian doctrine, on the other. In each of these phases, the term has had a somewhat different meaning, and yet it keeps surfacing because it has described a set of basic historic beliefs and impulses.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/can-evangelicalism-survive-donald-trump-and-roy-moore/amp

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2017 in North America

 

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Religious wars

France has experienced a moment of political and media madness following the Harvey Weinstein affair. And all the ingredients are there for more of the same: disproportionate comments triggered by a cartoon in Charlie Hebdo of Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan (accused of rape); Twitter providing the ideal tool for reacting without thinking and starting the fire; religion-related issues providing fuel for it; grandstanding by a discredited politician (ex prime minister Manuel Valls) who thinks a wholesale attack on Muslims will revive his political career. And to top it all, the now established rule that every subject, even the sexual harassment of American women, will eventually come round to the question of Muslims in the French Republic.

https://mondediplo.com/2017/12/01wars

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in European Union

 

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The war against Pope Francis

Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today. Those who hate him most are not atheists, or protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers. Outside the church he is hugely popular as a figure of almost ostentatious modesty and humility. From the moment that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became pope in 2013, his gestures caught the world’s imagination: the new pope drove a Fiat, carried his own bags and settled his own bills in hotels; he asked, of gay people, “Who am I to judge?” and washed the feet of Muslim women refugees.

But within the church, Francis has provoked a ferocious backlash from conservatives who fear that this spirit will divide the church, and could even shatter it. This summer, one prominent English priest said to me: “We can’t wait for him to die. It’s unprintable what we say in private. Whenever two priests meet, they talk about how awful Bergoglio is … he’s like Caligula: if he had a horse, he’d make him cardinal.” Of course, after 10 minutes of fluent complaint, he added: “You mustn’t print any of this, or I’ll be sacked.”

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/oct/27/the-war-against-pope-francis

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2017 in Reportages

 

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Arbaeen: Millions of Shia Muslims take part in world’s greatest pilgrimage as Isis is finally defeated

Millions of black-clad Shia pilgrims are converging on the holy city of Kerbala for the Arbaeen religious commemoration, the largest annual gathering of people anywhere on earth. Walking in long columns stretching back unbroken for as much as 50 miles, sleeping and eating in tents erected by supporters beside the road, the event has become an overwhelmingly powerful display of Shia belief and solidarity.

The Arbaeen coincides this year with the final defeat of Isis, the movement that slaughtered Shia in their tens of thousands and aimed to overthrow the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. The Syrian army announced today that it has captured the last Isis-held town in Syria, Albu Kamal, its victory coming a few days after Isis was driven from western Iraq.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/arbaeen-pilgrimage-kerbala-shia-isis-defeat-muslims-thousands-killed-middle-east-iraq-najaf-a8046621.html

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in Middle East

 

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