Tag Archives: Religion

The hijab ruling is a ban on Muslim women

This week’s decision by the European court of justice to allow the hijab to be banned in the workplace is yet another sign of the continent’s obsession with how Muslim women dress.

The ruling states that the hijab can be banned only as part of a policy barring all religious and political symbols – and so framed in a way that doesn’t directly target Muslim women. Indeed, the Conference of European Rabbis was outraged, saying that the ruling sent a clear message that Europe’s faith communities were no longer welcome – and a number of religious communities, including Sikhs, will be affected.

Source: The hijab ruling is a ban on Muslim women | Iman Amrani | Opinion | The Guardian

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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in European Union


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Can religion be based on ritual practice without belief? 

Since the dawn of anthropology, sociology and psychology, religion has been an object of fascination. Founding figures such as Sigmund Freud, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber all attempted to dissect it, taxonomise it, and explore its psychological and social functions. And long before the advent of the modern social sciences, philosophers such as Xenophanes, Lucretius, David Hume and Ludwig Feuerbach have pondered the origins of religion.
In the century since the founding of the social sciences, interest in religion has not waned – but confidence in grand theorising about it has. Few would now endorse Freud’s insistence that the origins of religion are entwined with Oedipal sexual desires towards mothers. Weber’s linkage of a Protestant work ethic and the origins of capitalism might remain influential, but his broader comparisons between the religion and culture of the occidental and oriental worlds are now rightly regarded as historically inaccurate and deeply Euro-centric.

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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in Asia


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‘I’ve seen hell, and it is real’: Ukrainian Pentecostals in the American Midwest and one man’s twisted path to Jesus 

Ruzam Tadzhibayev had his first meeting with God when he was 18 years old.
At the time he was living with his fiancée in Termez, a small ancient city in the deep south of Soviet Uzbekistan, known for being conquered by Alexander the Great and destroyed by the troops of Genghis Khan. It was August 1966 and it was one of those unbearably hot days when you could bury an egg in the sand, return half an hour later and find it hard-boiled. For people who lived in Termez, the climate was both a curse and a gift. It was precisely because of this excruciating weather that they got a 60 percent bonus in their official salaries each month: the state’s way of acknowledging that human beings shouldn’t really be working in such conditions.
Ruzam Tadzhibayev was a willing laborer. Several months before, he returned to Termez after serving eighteen months in a juvenile prison for getting into a fight with a cop in a club. Fortunately, his prospective father-in-law was a chief engineer at a local freight company, and there was a lot of construction going on around the city; truck drivers were needed. After getting his license, Tadzhibayev joined that workforce, eventually getting to drive a brand new ZIL truck, thanks to his family connection. However, the vehicle had just one small flaw: the starter didn’t always work properly.

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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in North America, Reportages


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In the fight against Isis, there’s hope in the history of Islam 

The Near East School of Theology in Beirut is housed in a bland grey and brown building near the Mediterranean Sea. A few days ago, the audience in its underground lecture theatre was witness to one of the most remarkable lectures on ancient and modern Islam in recent times, which – had it been more widely advertised – might have had just about every shade of religious protester huffing and puffing outside in the aptly named Jeanne D’Arc Street. 
The speaker was Dr Tarif Khalidi, one of Islam’s foremost scholars and translator of the latest English-language edition of the Koran, whose earlier works on Jesus in Muslim stories match his most recent anthology of Arab literature. The title of his address was an almost frightening world-beater: Does Islam need a Martin Luther?

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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Middle East, Revolution


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Non chiedete a noi musulmani di schierarci, lo abbiamo già fatto 

Ho molti amici che per lavoro hanno passato del tempo a Dhaka, in Bangladesh. In questi anni ho avuto l’opportunità di conoscere il paese attraverso i loro occhi. Ed ecco che già sapevo della premier Sheikh Hasina che guida il paese da tanto (troppo?) tempo, delle diseguaglianze estreme tra Bangladesh rurale ed élite ricca con studi all’estero, dei cambiamenti climatici e dello sfruttamento nel settore tessile. Dopo l’attentato a Dhaka naturalmente i miei amici, chi in privato chi sui social, hanno dato voce al loro dolore per quella terra straziata e per quelle vite spezzate. Un mio amico conosceva Claudia D’Antona, l’imprenditrice che viveva in Bangladesh da vent’anni. Una donna solare, aperta, piena di idee, caparbia. Una donna che tanto si era spesa per gli altri, che credeva nel Bangladesh e in un mondo migliore. Ho fatto le condoglianze al mio amico. Ero triste per lui, per me, per tutti.

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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Reportages



If Islam Is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity

Speaking after “appreciating the congrats” on the Orlando shootings, Donald Trump again insisted that what mowed people down at Pulse was not an assault rifle but radical Islam, because in Trump Tower, it cannot be both. Trump’s world is binary. It is zero-sum: Either guns kill people or radical Islam kills people. In that world, only one religion can be bad, and so Christianity is good and Islam is bad. Christianity is peaceful and Islam violent. Christianity is tolerant and Islam intolerant. Both are inherently one thing or the other, immutable blueprints etched in stone for the behavior of their respective adherents.

If Islam Is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity | Foreign Policy
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in North America, Reportages


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Stop Exploiting LGBT Issues to Demonize Islam and Justify Anti-Muslim Policies

In the late 1990s, Eric Rudolph — raised Catholic and affiliated for a time with a Christian Identity sect — bombed abortion clinics and a gay bar, insisting they were venues of immorality and evil. Last July, an Orthodox Jewish Israeli attacked the marchers in the Jerusalem LGBT pride parade, stabbing six of them, and one of them, a teenager, died of her wounds; justifying his attacks by appealing to Talmudic punishments for homosexuality, he had just been released from a 10-year prison term for doing the same in 2005. Yesterday, a Christian pastor from Arizona, Steven Anderson, praised the slaughter of 49 people in an Orlando LGBT club on the ground that “homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts” and are “pedophiles.”

Stop Exploiting LGBT Issues to Demonize Islam and Justify Anti-Muslim Policies
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Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Reportages


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Omar Mateen’s interest in gay men makes this no ordinary act of terrorism

Sexuality is a simple word for a confounding landscape of feelings, sensations and thoughts: excitement, confusion, comfort, longing, disappointment, fear, rejection.

Many people believe the powerful forces of jihadism spurred the murder of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday morning. The killer, Omar Mateen, was the son of Muslim parents from Afghanistan. He apparently called 911 to pledge his allegiance to a faraway army before he began his killing spree. His ex wife Sitora Yusufiy said “he did practice and he had his faith”, although she added that, when she knew him, he showed “no sign” of radicalisation.

Omar Mateen’s interest in gay men makes this no ordinary act of terrorism | David Shariatmadari | Opinion | The Guardian
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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in North America, Reportages


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Sufi Islam thrives, humorous, eloquent and poetic as ever

I was lying in the dust, staring into the African sun, when their swords came down on me. The crowd was about a hundred strong, all of them Muslims shouting in a sonic blur. First they began slicing my arms. Next, pulling my shirt open, they cut into my torso. My eyes were closed with pain by the time I felt a blade moving hard across my throat. I thought I would die there, in that poor Durban neighbourhood where, despite the warnings of middle-class South Africans, I had decided to go exploring that evening.

Just minutes earlier, I’d turned a corner into a crowd of African and Indian Muslims. And then I was on the ground, being sawed with swords. When they finished with my throat, a dozen hands pulled me up again. Soaked in blood, I opened my eyes and saw it was just sweat. I was not even bleeding, though the scarlet lines from the sword strokes left wheals in my skin for months. Everyone was shouting, ecstatic. It was a miracle, a show of faith and power in which the Africans with the swords were well-practised. They were Rifa’is, a brotherhood of lower-class Sufis, and in the eyes of the assembly I had inadvertently renewed their prestige.

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Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Reportages


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Show some compassion, Cardinal Pell

It would mean so much, to so many thousands of people, for Cardinal George Pell to show compassion, contrition, empathy or even just profound sadness at the hurt that has been wreaked on the survivors of sexual abuse. If he were to just stand and bow deeply, that might help. If he were to cease his weasel words and instead concede open-endedly that he, Cardinal Pell, has failed the victims of sexual abuse that, too, might help.

But he seems unable to express the depth of contrition that is necessary. It is deplorable that, in 2016, more than a quarter of a century after widespread sexual abuse allegations began to surface in this state, the most senior ranks of the Catholic Church still fail to demonstrate unqualified regret.


Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Europe, Oceania, Reportages


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