from Photographers' Blog:

An island of religion in a sea of secularism

February 19, 2013

Warsaw, Poland

By Kacper Pempel

When Pope Benedict XVI announced last week that he was stepping down, the mood in my country, Poland, was overwhelming. This is one of the most devoutly Catholic countries in Europe, which still proudly identifies itself as the birthplace of Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II. On the day of the announcement my colleagues went to the church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw. The worshipers coming out of the church were in a state of shock. "It’s so sad. It’s such a shame. But what can we do? I can’t believe it,” said one woman as she left the Holy Cross church in the Polish capital, who gave her name as Maria. “I am very sorry because I really like the Pope. He is continuing the teachings of our Pope (John Paul II).” Janusz, another worshiper, said: “I don’t think it’s true. In my opinion it would not be a good solution. It would definitely be a huge pity for Poles and Catholics.”

from India Insight:

‘Nobody can stop you if you engage in art with dignity': Zila Khan on singing and Islam

February 7, 2013

The members of Praagaash, an all-girl band in Kashmir, split up this week after an influential cleric deemed their music un-Islamic. Zila Khan, one of India’s most popular sufi singers and daughter of sitar maestro Vilayat Khan, spoke to Reuters about how singing is closest to worship and meditation and how children should be allowed to sing.

from Edward Hadas:

What Islamic finance can offer

By Edward Hadas
January 9, 2013

The Islamic approach to finance was once the most advanced in the world. The period of pre-eminence ended six or seven centuries ago, but the religion’s fundamental insights into the field could help form a financial system suitable for the 21st century.

from Photographers' Blog:

Living under sharia

December 20, 2012

Banda Aceh, Indonesia

By Damir Sagolj

A siren rips apart the silence at the tsunami memorial in Aceh. A short announcement follows, after a greeting in Arabic and blessing from God – everyone is to leave the site immediately. It is time for prayers and the memorial built around a huge ship stranded miles inland during the 2004 tsunami will soon close its gates. Visitors are leaving the site, expected to go to nearby mosque and pray.

from John Lloyd:

A church divided against itself cannot stand

By John Lloyd
November 27, 2012

The Church of England voted not to ordain female bishops last week, a move widely seen as defying the modern world. Much justification was given for this view.

from Photographers' Blog:

A barrier to peace

November 15, 2012

Belfast, Northern Ireland

By Cathal McNaughton

“Sure, why would they want to pull down these walls?” asks William Boyd mildly as he offers me a cup of tea in his home at Cluan Place, a predominantly Loyalist area of east Belfast.

from Photographers' Blog:

Portraying polygamy

November 14, 2012

Rockland Ranch community outside Moab, Utah

By Jim Urquhart

If patience is a virtue I am damned to burn forever but I've made some friends in the process.

from Full Focus:

Imaging religion: Navesh Chitrakar

October 12, 2012

Nepal-based photographer Navesh Chitrakar documents almost all the country's religious festivals. In this interview, Navesh discusses the art of photography and reflects on the state of the nation's festivals.

from India Insight:

The news this weekend: LPG, Kejriwal, toilets, politicians… and Somali pirates

October 6, 2012

It's shaping up as a busy weekend for India's politicians...

The price of LPG -- liquefied petroleum gas cylinders, or cooking gas -- has risen 11.42 rupees per cylinder because dealers are getting higher commissions. TV channels attacked the government because this "shocker" comes right after the imposition of a cap on subsidized cylinder sales was imposed.

from Photographers' Blog:

Baby-kissing Popes

October 5, 2012

By Max Rossi

There's a man in this world that kisses more babies than any mother over the course of her life: the Pope.