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 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 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.

from Edward Hadas:

Remembering the 1960s

By Edward Hadas
September 19, 2012

Revolution was not on the agenda when the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church opened on Oct. 11, 1962, almost exactly 50 years ago. However, the gathering marked the start of a new era, not only for the world’s largest centrally-run religion. During the following years, the hope for a better, freer world led to everything from the sexual revolution to the Prague Spring, from African independence to the hippie culture of Woodstock. A half-century on, it seems a good time for an economist to take stock.

from Photographers' Blog:

Exorcism in the Andes

September 10, 2012

By Jaime Saldarriaga

I first learned of exorcist Hermes Cifuentes, better known as “Brother Hermes,” through the local news media. His exorcisms fascinated me, so I decided to find out more. Many people are against what he does, but when I tracked down his phone number and called, he invited me to visit his retreat in La Cumbre, just north of Cali.

from Photographers' Blog:

At home with Israel’s ultra-Orthodox

July 6, 2012

By Ronen Zvulun

As a native of Jerusalem, an Orthodox Jews’ appearance is not alien to me. The thought which often comes to mind when thinking about the ultra-Orthodox community is “so close yet so far”.

from Edward Hadas:

Prosperity need not kill religion

By Edward Hadas
April 25, 2012

Thomas Carlyle’s fulminations against the spiritual damage wrought by factories are almost two centuries old, but the sentiment is current wherever industrialisation is rampant. “The huge demon of Mechanism,” he wrote, “smokes and thunders, panting at his great task, oversetting whole multitudes of workmen ... so that the wisest no longer knows his whereabout.”

from Photographers' Blog:

Collecting karma

March 23, 2012

By Damir Sagolj

An angel-like girl, dressed all in white carries a pack of toothbrushes on a Sunday morning. She walks slowly, smiles all around and seems not to be bothered by music so loud that one can’t hear his own thoughts. She is on her way to the Mang Teung Sua Jung Cemetery in Chonburi province – where members of a local Thai Chinese community will exhume unclaimed bodies. Toothbrushes will be used to clean the dirt from bones.