Archive for the ‘Democracy’ Category

GlobalPlus: Religion and the refugee crisis

The global refugee crisis represents a potential transformational moment in world history. Nations from Africa to Asia to Europe to North America with troubled pasts of ethnic conflict and of putting political and economic self-interest above humanitarian needs have an opportunity to write new chapters in their national stories. Religion is playing and will play a critical role.

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GlobalPlus: Religious attire in the public square

Religious fashion matters. It matters to individuals who view wearing head scarves, kippas and turbans as a positive expression of faith, and it matters to societies increasingly setting restrictions on religious attire in response to concerns ranging from security to the belief that increasing diversity represents a threat to the essential character of their nations. So how, in the face of intense political and social pressures, can nations balance issues of religious freedom, tolerance and national identity? A developing body of research sheds some light on the debate.

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GlobalPlus: Religion and politics in Latin America

When it comes to religion and politics in Latin America, a land of increasing political and religious diversity, you can throw many of the Western scripts away. This is not the story of an inexorable march toward secularism, or a descent into holy wars. The paradigm of Latin American religious modernity is rather an evolving dance among political, social and religious forces in a region experiencing the longest democratic process in its history. Pope Francis, women presidents and the rise of Pentecostalism all play a role.

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GlobalPlus: Religion and violence: Pakistan’s story

How extremist organizations that preach violence have gained such a foothold in Pakistan is less a story of faith than a textbook example of the cycle of violence and conflict that erupts when governments and political interest groups use favoritism and coercion to manipulate religion to their own ends. The result is the world’s second-largest Muslim nation finds itself in its fourth decade of warfare, with a precarious democracy hanging in the balance.

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GlobalPlus: Promises and challenges of the interfaith movement

The quiet truth is that the world is in many ways in the midst of an historic period of progress in interfaith dialogue. Yet often what individuals hear about minority religions focuses on the sensational and negative actions of extremists. So what are some of the lessons learned from decades of experience in a movement seeking to promote civility and understanding? Interfaith leaders and scholars share some ways religious understanding and cooperation can be built up or broken down.

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GlobalPlus: Democracy & Islam

Our inaugural report focuses on the issue of Islam and democracy. A period of discouragement has followed the heady early days of the Arab Spring, when mass demonstrations eventually led to the election of the first democratically elected government in Egypt and popular movements seeking to bring reforms flourished throughout the Middle East. Today, after a military takeover in Egypt and with Syrians caught between Islamic State militants and the dictatorial government of Bashar al-Assad, some may wonder about the prospect for expanding political freedoms in the Middle East. But it would be unwise to make simplistic or stereotypical assertions about the compatibility of Islam and democracy in the midst of these unfolding events. As this month’s overview from the celebrated Indonesian journalist Endy Bayuni makes clear, two of the largest Muslim-majority nations in the world are prospering under democracy. “Democracy in both countries has strengthened in spite of, or because of, the rise of political Islam,” notes Mr. Bayuni.,

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