from The Great Debate:

Are there any reasons for hope in the Middle East? Maybe.

August 27, 2015

An image distributed by Islamic State militants on social media purports to show the destruction of a Roman-era temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra

An image distributed by Islamic State militants on social media on August 25, 2015 purports to show the destruction of a Roman-era temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. REUTERS/Social Media

from The Great Debate:

The whining of the militants

July 23, 2015

Still image taken from video of a man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in Mosul

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

from The Great Debate:

Vladimir Putin’s religious, ethnic rhetoric gets a little scary in Russian state-of-the-union address

December 4, 2014

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Vladimir Putin lives in a scary world, where enemies plot tirelessly to undermine, trick, and destroy Russia. Containment wasn’t just a Cold War policy but a practice of Russia’s rivals for centuries. Even without a conflict in Ukraine, the United States and European Union would have come up with another pretext for imposing economic sanctions; they were an inevitable response to a rising Russia.

from John Lloyd:

Ukraine’s vote proves Putin wrong and puts anti-Semitic past behind

October 31, 2014

Local resident listens before receiving a ballot during a parliamentary election inside her house in the village of Havronshchyna near Kiev

One of the themes that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried out to besmirch the Ukrainian revolt against pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich earlier this year was that fascists and anti-Semites were behind the uprising. The protesters, he proclaimed, were revolting in both senses of the word: They had chased out an elected president (true) and their actions had allowed “anti-Semitic forces [to go] on a rampage” (not true).

from John Lloyd:

The coming clash of civilizations over gay rights

August 12, 2013

Supporters of gay rights have been protesting in Western cities this past week, picketing in front of Russian embassies and consulates. They’re protesting the passing of a law in the Russian parliament that bans "homosexual propaganda" directed at under 18-year olds -- which if interpreted strictly, bans all public demonstrations and much public and private discussion on the issue.

from John Lloyd:

After the U.S. fades, whither human rights?

March 27, 2012

The shrinking of U.S. power, now pretty much taken for granted and in some quarters relished, may hurt news coverage of human rights and the uncovering of abuses to them. But not necessarily. Journalism is showing itself to be resilient in adversity, and its core tasks – to illuminate the workings of power and to be diverse in its opinions – could prove to be more than “Western” impositions.

Russia’s Muslim Chechnya to ban energy drinks

July 18, 2011

Russia’s Muslim Chechnya region is planning to ban the sale of non-alcoholic energy drinks such as Red Bull to under 18s, saying they are un-Islamic and dangerous, health officials said.

Top Kremlin aide says Putin is God’s gift to Russia

July 9, 2011

(Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lights a candle as he attends an Orthodox Christmas service in the XIX century church of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God in Turginovo village, about 160 km. (100 miles) northwest of Moscow January 7, 2011/Alexander Zemlianichenko )

Russian Muslims ask Moscow to lobby Saudis for increased haj quota to Mecca

July 5, 2011

(Muslims attend Friday prayers under a snowfall at the Central Mosque in Almaty February 5, 2010/Shamil Zhumatov)

Moscow’s “Holy Rus” religious art show spotlights sacred Russia

May 26, 2011

(A member of gallery staff passes an exhibit at the Holy Rus exhibition at the Central House of Artists in Moscow May 25, 2011/Denis Sinyakov)