Religion

Rahul Gandhi’s Long Walk Hailed, But Only Polls Will Determine Its Success

When countless supporters of the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, arrive in Srinagar on January 30 to hoist the Indian flag, they would have walked 3,570 kilometres over 150 days.

Borderlands and Bloodbaths: The case of Congo and Ukraine

During November, soldiers of the March 23 Movement (M23) have been approaching Goma in the eastern territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), close to the Rwandan border. About 180.000 people are now leaving Goma, a city with a million inhabitants. Many stakeholders are involved in the conflict and there is an apparent danger that the overall carnage that affected the Congolese eastern border areas fifteen years ago will resume. At the same time, war is ranging in Ukraine, which name likely comes from the old Slavic term for borderland.

With Activists, Journalists Jailed for ‘Spurious Reasons’, Commentators Say India’s Chief Justice Faces Challenges

India’s new Chief Justice, Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, has a significant challenge ahead – as activists and minorities remain hopeful that he will remain true to his legacy of delivering judgments that enshrined the Constitution, especially on personal liberty.

Time to Denounce Antisemitism Worldwide

It’s time to step up, speak out and object to antisemitism. Antisemitic remarks, behavior and events cannot continue to be swept under the rug, unethically edited for political media consumption, or ignored in hopes that they will simply go away.

Europe and the Refugee Crisis: It’s all About Tackling Racism & Discrimination

In 2019, when the President-elect of the European Union (EU) Ursula von der Leyen had presented a list for her soon-to-be European Commission, and on that list was a portfolio called “Protecting the European way of life”, a lot of noise was made questioning what that meant. “Protection” was later changed to the “Promotion” of the European Way of Life. It’s been over three years since this very controversial, much debated and widely criticised portfolio as many continue to question what uniquely is the ‘European way of life’?

Vaccine Refusal, Floods Impact Polio Drive in Pakistan

Vaccine refusal is impacting the eradication of polio in Pakistan. Pakistan has vaccinated about 35 million children during its door-to-door campaign, but about 500,000 remained unvaccinated due to refusal by their parents, Jawad Khan Polio officer in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, recorded in 2022 so far.

COP27: Climate Justice: Where do the Religiously Marginalised Fit in?

Climate change reductionism – assuming the causes and the redress for those suffering the worst impacts of extreme weather lies with climate change alone - undermines the rights of religiously marginalised persons, but broadening whose rights are being advocated for in climate change can offer redress.

COP27: Religious Multilateralism: An Endangered Species in the Age of Triple Planetary Crises

In this year’s COP 27 two-weeklong summit in Egypt, which concludes November 18, a rough count indicates there will be 40 different sessions organised by, for, and about, religious engagements in/on climate change and related issues. This is likely the highest number of events by and around religious actors, organised at a COP event.

COP27: Bolsonaro’s Defeat is a Triumph for Climate Change Advocates

The electoral defeat of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is a triumph for everyone who is concerned about the peril of climate change. Bolsonaro’s well-deserved defeat could help save the Amazon rainforest, which has been ravaged under his criminal rule, and the process of reversing the looming climate change catastrophe can begin

Lessons from Rome. Weaving Peace Is a Polyphonic Dialogue

Arms are raised, stretched out towards the sky, holding white cards with the word "peace" written in different languages. A girl, a refugee from Syria, reads the Rome’s "Appeal for peace": "With firm conviction, we say: no more war! Let's stop all conflicts […] Let dialogue be resumed to nullify the threat of nuclear weapons.” Pope Francis singed it in front of the people gathered at the Colosseum, holding the word “peace” in their hands, as representatives of the world’s religions did as well. Shortly before, members of those different religions gathered for prayer to invoke peace in their different traditions—a prayer that is “a cry” inside the ancient amphitheater.

Activists Call Out 11 Muslim Member States to Repeal Death Penalty for Blasphemy

Eleven out of 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) still sanction the death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy, silencing their citizens and emboldening violence by non-state actors.

‘Longings’ Of Ana of Galilee: Voice of Everywoman, Everywhere, And in Every Age!

The American author Sue Monk Kidd's award-winning novel The Book of Longings has a sensational beginning, despite the simplicity of the phraseology: It starts: "I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus bin Joseph of Nazareth". It would be impossible for anyone not to swallow this bait with enormous curiosity, and follow through with reading what is well and truly a 'page-turner'. The book is crafted to be breezy and exciting, necessary perhaps to better deliver its message. This historical work of fiction was the subject of discussion at a recent seminar organized by the Dhaka -based 'The Reading Circle'. The event was held in a 'hybrid' format, an experiment of the Circle in consonance with the evolving practices of the Covid era. There was a core of participants in Dhaka, and other members joining in from London, Paris, and Singapore. Chaired by Professor Razia Khan, the list of speakers and commentators included Niaz Zaman, Nusrat Huq, Tanveerul Haque, Ameenah Ahmed, Shahruk Rahman, Asfa Husain, Nazmun Nahar, Sarazeen Ahana and myself. The following essay is based on my remarks made on the occasion.

Recalling Shinzo Abe with Respect

Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Japan, has died. It was a murder caused by a personal grudge rather than political terrorism. And it was not a direct grudge against Mr. Abe. A religious group had supported Mr. Abe, and a murderer with a grudge against the religious group killed him. Murders targeting politicians are often related to political messages or claims. This is a very unique case in that the murder was committed out of a personal grudge, not against the individual for what he did, but against the organization that supported the individual.

Countering Hate Speech Through Media: A Young Caribbean Woman’s Perspective

Hate speech is a phenomenon that can be defined as threatening speech or writing expressing prejudice towards a specific group, primarily based on race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Taliban: The Return of Misogynistic Gynophobes in Afghanistan

Gynophobia is defined as an intense and irrational fear of women or hatred of women, it may be characterized as a form of specific phobias, which involves a fear that is centered on a specific trigger or situation, which in the case of gynophobia is women.

Pakistan’s Campaign to Contain Polio in Face of Vaccine Hesitancy

Pakistan's North Waziristan district authorities have launched an aggressive vaccination drive after a polio case surfaced after 15 polio-free months in the country. The disease was detected in a 15-month-old toddler about 15 kilometers away from the Afghanistan border. This area was considered a Taliban militant’s hub until 2014.

India: Hijab Row the Latest Show of Hindu Nationalism


 

 
    In an election season, India’s ruling party has again resorted to the right-wing populist playbook, stirring up divisions for political gain. This time it is the turn of Muslim women, caught in the crossfire of a backlash against both the rights of religious minorities and women’s rights. The controversy over the wearing of the hijab in schools is just the latest chapter in the saga starring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party in their quest to consolidate power. Their attempts will continue, as will civil society resistance and struggles for rights.

Politics in Pakistan: The Captain’s Crisis!


 

 
“O, Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring….”
Walt Whitman

Chronicle of a Tragedy Unfolded

The Karnataka court’s verdict to uphold the hijab ban has intensified the protest in the state. The row has been typically perceived by many as manufactured by the politicians pointing to the culture of politics in the state. While the jury is still out there on this, evidence on how state’s local culture constructs and deconstructs religious identity allows drawing conclusions with some definitiveness. The culture of state’s politics is one side of the coin. Considering its flip side – politics of culture, particularly of the religious cultural identity, is just as relevant.

The Arrogance of Ignorance: War in Ukraine, Religion and Abiding Ethnocentrism

“The war in Ukraine is a European …and a Christian… matter... It does not require the involvement of a colourful array of religions or people”. These words were uttered and affirmed by some European Protestant men, working in interfaith circles in Europe. The ‘colourful’ encompassed other than European, mostly Christian - and likely mostly male.

China’s Entry into the Muslim World

The retrenchment of American power in the Middle East and the larger Muslim world, coupled with the war in Ukraine, has provided a geopolitical breather for China. Beijing is effectively deploying this to make strategic inroads into the region, given this vacuum and focus on Europe.

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