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Countries Affirm Religious Rights at the UN

At the UN General Assembly's high-level debate yesterday, representatives of three countries discussed the need to encourage dialogue "and mutual respect between peoples of different faiths, beliefs, and values." The UN News Centre reported that the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende said that governments face a challenge "in balancing the need to […]

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Kristof: On Why Some Americans Think Obama May Be The AntiChrist

Nicholas D. Kristof wrote an interesting editorial recently about the "sleaziness of this presidential campaign." His point was that the political campaign was transforming Obama into a Muslim after all, but only because "religious prejudice is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice." Actually, this column by Kristof is really scary, and if it's true that […]

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Limiting Islam in the Heart of Catholicism

On September 5, this blog discussed the social debate over the construction of a sensationally beautiful mosque in Cologne. Now, there is news that conservative forces in Italy are also attempting to limit the construction of mosques. Reuters reports that "polls show Italians mistrust Muslims, and a third do not want a mosque in their […]

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Iftaar Dinner at the White House

Iftaar Dinner at the White House

The White House website informs Americans about yesterday's official Iftaar dinner. President Bush attended the dinner and gave a small speech to commemorate the holy month of Ramadan. Muslim congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson were noted to be in attendance, and the President specifically mentioned the role of Muslims in the United States in […]

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Religion's Influence on Politics: The Pope in France

Religion's Influence on Politics: The Pope in France

Pope Benedict XVI was in France for three days last week. On Friday he arrived in Paris, where he was met by President Sarkozy and his wife. As regards the intellectual content of the Pope's visit, a New York Times Article says that he warned "the Parisian intelligentsia of the dangers of secularism." Sarkozy, according […]

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Immoral Broadcasters May Face Extrajudicial Death Sentences

The BBC, among other news providers, reported yesterday that the most senior judge in Saudi Arabia has said that it is permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV channels that broadcast immoral programs. Sheikh Salih Ibn al-Luhaydan commented on a radio program that “It is legitimate to kill those who call for corruption if […]

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Freedom of Religion in Turkmenistan

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, concluded last week her trip to Turkmenistan. Although some progress has been made, there is still concern about the contents of a law from 2003 that prohibits “any activities by unregistered religious organizations.” The UN expert says that international human rights law allows […]

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Defining Radicalism

As I am currently based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and working on issues of religion and politics (with the Tajikistan Dialogue Project), I couldn't resist sharing with you the following Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty articles. The first and most recent piece is titled, "Tajik Women, Young People Appear to be Embracing Islam." Farangis Najibullah […]

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Integrating Islam and the Law

I came across some news from a few months ago in the International Herald Tribune (titled: Integrating Islam into the West) about the Archbishop of Canterbury and his suggestion in a lecture that Britain should adopt certain aspects of Shariah law. This controversy has been making the rounds throughout Europe and North America over the […]

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Germany's Future Mosque

Germany's Future Mosque

Last week Cologne's city council voted in favor of a new and controversial mosque. It will be the largest in Germany when it is complete. According to an article in Spiegel Online, it will cost between 15 and 20 billion dollars, and it will be completed by 2010. The opposition to the new construction has […]

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Crucified Frog Art?

Crucified Frog Art?

I wasn't sure that I should repost the picture of this piece of "art" here, but without a picture it is really impossible to imagine what a crucified frog would look like. In fact, I almost missed this story altogether – but last week the Museum in Bolzano announced that it would not take down […]

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John McCain's Pick for VP

John McCain's Pick for VP

The world of "religion and politics" just got a whole lot more interesting now that the Republican Party has chosen a woman to be their Vice-Presidential candidate, who also happens to be an evangelical Christian. She is also the first woman on a party ticket since 1984 (Ferraro). Sarah Palin, who has been the Governor […]

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Offensives Continue in the Philippines

Offensives Continue in the Philippines

The violent situation in the Philippines continues. However, the most recent news is somewhat encouraging. Ruben Pestano Lavilla Jr., who was wanted for the Philippines' worst militant attack has been arrested in Bahrain and returned to Manila. He was allegedly involved in the 2004 bombing of a ferry that killed 116 people. He was also […]

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Religion and the 2008 Democrats

Religion and the 2008 Democrats

Democrats appear to be having the time of their lives at the 2008 National Convention. Obama's surprise appearance after Biden's speech brought even more enthusiasm to the crowd and television viewers. In the world of religion and politics, it has been fascinating to see that every speech references God and no politician can close a […]

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When the Supreme Religious Leader Supports the President

On Saturday, Iran's Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Khamenei) met with the President and his cabinet members. Khamenei spoke about Ahmadinejad's administration with great admiration and defended the actions and policies of the current government. In the face of economic uncertainty in Iran , particularly concerning inflation , Ahmadinejad has lost a significant amount of popularity. Regardless, […]

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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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