“Common Word” aims for “common deed” for peace

October 7, 2009

20091007commonword3 (Photo: Common Word conference with (from left) former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Georgetown University Professor John Esposito, Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric, former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, 7 Oct 2009/Georgetown University – Phil Humnicky)

Will a common word lead to a common deed? That’s the challenge that the “Common Word” group of Islamic scholars has posed at its fourth major Muslim-Christian dialogue conference now underway at Georgetown University in Washington. The group, which next week marks the second anniversary of its launch, has broken the ice with Christian leaders and fostered a lively and fruitful interchange with them. But it always said its goal was not simply to have more harmonious conferences among theologians. They want to make a real impact lessening tensions between Christians and Muslims out in the real world.

Will the Nobel Peace Prize go to a religious leader this year?

October 6, 2009

nobel-ceremony (Photo: Nobel Peace Prize 2008 award ceremony, 10 Dec 2008/Ints Kalnins)

The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday in Oslo. What are the odds that a religious leader will win? I checked with our bureau in Oslo for the latest buzz.

Facts and false equivalence – reporting on evolution disputes

October 5, 2009

greatestshow_jacketBritish biologist Richard Dawkins, one of the leading voices of the “neo-atheist” movement, has taken the latest book-sized shot at the “intelligent design” movement. You can read my interview with Dawkins’ here about his new book: “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.”

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

In Pakistan, not over the moon

By Reuters Staff
September 25, 2009

By Zeeshan Haider

Pakistan is battling Taliban militants, trying to patch up relations with old rival India and struggling to revive a limping economy but another issue has preoccupied the country over recent days: the sighting of the moon that markes the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

from Global News Journal:

Southeast Asia’s Islamists try the domino theory

September 25, 2009

Photo: Jihad book collection in Jakarta Sept.21, 2009. REUTERS/Supr

A half-century ago, Washington worried about Southeast Asian nations falling like dominoes to an international communist movement backed by Maoist China, and became bogged down in the Vietnam War.

Cuba authorises first prison religious services in 50 years

By Reuters Staff
September 16, 2009

cuba-prisonThe Cuban government has given permission for religious services to be held in the island’s prisons for the first time in 50 years, a church official has said.

“The Evolution of God” — a purpose-driven history?

September 14, 2009

U.S. author Robert Wright traces the history of God and suggests that it might all point to the unfolding of something divine, though perhaps not in the sense that most people of faith would envision.

Why beer doesn’t mix well with mainly Muslim Malaysia

September 5, 2009

beerBeer, which as an alcoholic beverage is forbidden in Islam to its believers, has long had it easy in mainly Muslim Malaysia. The country’s population of 27 million is made up of about 55 percent Malay Muslims and mainly Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities who practice a variety of faiths including Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism. The personal right of the non-Muslims to drink alcoholic beverages is legally recognised, a sign of tolerance despite the special status of Islam under Article 11 of the Malaysian constitution.  So beer is not difficult to find in convenience stores, supermarkets and entertainment outlets.

Waiting in France for a fatwa against forced marriages

September 3, 2009

dioufIt’s Ramadan and on a bustling shopping street on the fringes of northern Paris, the holy month is in full swing. Bearded men in long robes collect alms, women in headscarves sell sweet pastries. But the period of fasting and charitable acts has little impact on the work of activist Christine Jamaa, whose office is in a secret location not far from the busy street market.

from Photographers' Blog:

Tibetan mountain spirits

August 28, 2009

 

Every summer the green hills of Rebkong are home to unique celebrations during which local Tibetans believe the mountain gods visit villagers -- and each other -- through human mediums.