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Still Blacklisting Countries

The State Department has released the blacklist of religious freedom violators established by the Bush administration. It is the same list as in 2006, and it’s questionable whether the new department really analyzed the current situation before releasing the names of eight countries. Burma, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan are […]

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1 Million in Angola

1 Million in Angola

This past week Pope Benedict XVI took his first trip to Africa, and yesterday, he celebrated a mass for 1 million in Angola. There were three major headlines from the Pope’s trip to Cameroon and Angola. The first was the controversial statement about condoms and how they do little to help fight AIDS. The second […]

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State Action and Freedom of Religion

This past week, the UN Human Rights Council heard the report of Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Jahangir provided several findings about world-wide discrimination based on religion or belief and its impact on the enjoyment of rights. While looking at the adverse impact of religious discrimination, “it was noted […]

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A New Book About Sharia?

This week, an unusual opinion piece appeared on the Wall Street Journal online. Tawfik Hamid wrote, “Islam Should Prove It’s a Religion of Peace.” Looking back over the past few months, I have noticed that a common theme in articles about religion is “proof.” Specifically, the question is: Who is responsible for proving facts about […]

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Do All Islamists Advocate Global Jihad?

According to Fareed Zakaria, the answer to the above question is a resounding No. Zakaria’s main argument is that if we try to fully understand the phenomenon of Islamic radicalism, there will be a clearer picture that not all Islamists are potential terrorists. The article in Newsweek, “Learning to Live with Radical Islam,” focuses on […]

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Americans are Not the Enemy

Americans are Not the Enemy

President Obama is apparently working hard to keep his campaign pledges. He has now had his first interview with Al Arabiya, while repeating his promise to give a speech in a Muslim capital in the first 100 days of his administration. In some ways, President Obama's approach to the presidency feels like the campaign season […]

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Of Moral Value: All are Equal

Of Moral Value: All are Equal

I watched the inaugural address of Barack Obama at a packed auditorium at New York University School of Law. When Obama said, "America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity" the room broke out into applause. In fact, there were about a […]

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Religious Freedom Day

January 16 was Religious Freedom Day (the news was dominated by the miraculous landing of an airplane on the Hudson). Various religious organizations issued statements and press releases, while the Day itself even has its own website. The White House, on January 14, issued a press release to commemorate the annual recognition of the 1786 […]

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Affinity Fraud

Over the past month, there have been countless articles about the astounding fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff. Specifically, there have been several pieces about financial fraud and how schemes may target members of a particular religious community (in this case the Jewish community, and the multi-million dollar losses to American Jewish groups). The first article […]

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Violence in Gaza: Who is Protesting?

The violence in Gaza and the current Israeli ground offensive have absolutely no direct connection to the politics of religion. Depending on your point of view, the key is either Israel's legitimate war on terror or the fundamental human rights of Palestinians. However, if you have been following the news reports of protests and statements […]

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True Faith or Recession?

Time has listed the top ten news items connected to religion in 2008. The first article was about the economy and how the recession turned out to be far more important for voters in the presidential election than the politics of religion. David Van Biema wrote about how many incidents in the campaign centered on […]

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Dancing Around a Golden Calf

Dancing Around a Golden Calf

Huber, the top Protestant Bishop in Germany, warned in his Christmas message that the financial markets have not been balanced by real values. According to a German news report, the bishop said the whole economic crisis is because of "a dance round the golden calf." In fact, most Christian religious leaders talked yesterday about the […]

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Riots in Sweden

It was surprising to see the pictures coming out of Malmo, Sweden this week. At first I thought the images were from Greece, but in fact similar rioting (though not nearly as serious) has also hit the Swedish city of Malmo after youths, who were squatting in a former Islamic center, clashed with police. The […]

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Imams and Rabbis Meet in Paris

Imams and Rabbis Meet in Paris

 On December 15, the Third World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace began its three-day meeting at UNESCO in Paris. Christian leaders also took part in the conference. Previously, the religious leaders had named 2008 as the "year of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians." The calls for peace in the Middle East were widespread […]

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Victims of Marriage

Victims of Marriage

Over the past few days, there have been update reports about the case of the potential forced marriage of a British resident, who returned to her home in Bangladesh. Dr. Humayra Abedin, a trainee general practitioner, had apparently been imprisoned in her family's home in Dhaka since August. Now, the new Forced Marriage Act in […]

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About the Author

Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;

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