Reuters blog archive
A reader recently objected to our use of the phrase "the Prophet Mohammad" in news stories, saying that he as a Christian did not consider Mohammad a prophet and many other non-Muslims presumably didn't either, therefore we should not write about him as if everyone agreed he was one. The reader wrote:
I’ve just noticed recently that Reuters is following in the footsteps of AP and AFP in designating the Islamic prophet Mohammad as “The Prophet Mohammad”. I as a Christian don’t consider him my prophet, and neither do, I’m sure, Jews, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. Why then have all the mainstream news outlets decided to treat us all as if we are Muslims? Rightly, he should be described as “the Islamic prophet Muhammad” rather than “The Prophet Muhammad”.
Robert Basler answered on his reader feedback blog Good, Bad and Ugly. Normally, we simply crosspost religion-related items from other Reuters blogs (such as Front Row Washington or Pakistan: Now or Never?), but I'm not sure all readers know that Good, Bad and Ugly (GBU) is the blog where we answer readers' criticisms. So now that that's clear, here's what the GBU editor posted in "A non-prophet organisation?":
Reuters uses a wide variety of official and traditional titles and honorifics without endorsing them.
The United States on Wednesday unveiled its annual survey of religious freedom, citing countries ranging from North Korea to Eritrea as repressing religious liberties.
Following are some of the conclusions from the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report on eight countries previously named as areas of "special concern" over their limits on religious freedom.
(Photo: Buddha Bar Restaurant in Jakarta, December 4, 2008/Beawiharta)
The English language newspaper Jakarta Globe reported that Central Jakarta District Court on Wednesday ordered the owners of the bar, Nireta Vista Creative, to close down immediately.
China's ruling Communist Party has a testy and often bitter relationship with religion. During the chaos of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, temples and churches were shut, statues smashed, scriptures burned, and monks and nuns forced to return to secular life, often after receiving a good beating or even jail. (Photo: Suzhou, June 10, 2005/Thierry Roge)
While the officially atheist Communist Party hardly pushes religion these days, its attitude has softened considerably, though rights groups frequently complain of sometimes harsh restrictions on Christians and Muslims especially.
Archaeologists in Afghanistan, where Taliban Islamists are fighting the Western-backed government, have uncovered Buddhist-era remains in an area south of Kabul, an official said on Tuesday. "There is a temple, stupas, beautiful rooms, big and small statues, two with the length of seven and nine meters, colorful frescos ornamented with gold and some coins," said Mohammad Nader Rasouli, head of the Afghan Archaeological Department. (Photo: 1997 file photo of a 55-metre-high Buddha statue in Bamyan destroyed by the Taliban in 2001/Muzammil Pasha)
"Some of the relics date back to the fifth century (AD). We have come across signs that there are items maybe going back to the era before Christ or prehistory," he said. "We need foreign assistance to preserve these and their expertise to help us with further excavations."
Tibet is richer and more developed than it has ever been, its people healthier, more literate, and better dressed and fed. But the bulging supermarkets, snappy new airports and gleaming restored temples of this remote and mountainous region cannot hide broad contradictions and a deep sense of unhappiness among many Tibetans that China is sweeping away their culture. (Photo: A Tibetan woman spins her praying wheel as she walks around the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, March 10, 2010/China Daily)
Beijing has spent freely to bring development to restless Tibet, part of a grand strategy to win over the proudly Buddhist people by improving their standard of living. Lhasa is starting to look like any other middle-tier Chinese city, with the same fast food outlets and mobile phone stores, and the same unimaginative architecture.
Thousands of Thais prayed for peace and unity in Bangkok on Wednesday, a week after a deadly military crackdown on protesters sparked a terrifying night of arson and riots that levelled buildings and killed 54 people.
A Buddhist-inspired Thai film has won the coveted Palme d'Or for best picture at the Cannes film festival. "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," a mystical exploration of reincarnation as a well-to-do farmer confronts his imminent death, was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Death need not be a grim affair, especially for the living. At a new columbarium in Singapore, the deceased can depart, rock concert style. Unlike most traditional Buddhist funeral ceremonies that follow cremation, there is no incense and no monks offering prayers at the Nirvana Memorial Garden columbarium, where the urns holding the remains of the dead are stored.
Burmese monks were beaten, jailed and killed while protesting Myanmar's military regime in 2007, and dozens found refuge in America. But now most have been forced to swap their saffron-colored robes for blue-collar workwear and abandon their monkhood out of a need to scratch out a living in their adopted land.