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Faith and Science in the Schools

Recommended Reading: I don't know how the New York Times does it, but it always makes the debate on evolution and creationism interesting. In case you missed this Sunday's paper, the article “A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash,” tells the story of a science teacher that faces the challenge of […]

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Rebuilding Religious Sites

Rebuilding Religious Sites

An excellent interview on TheWorld website looks at the reconstruction of mosques in Banja Luka , the capital of the Serb-run part of Bosnia. The backdrop of the rebuilding is the capture last month of Radovan Karadzic. The discussion is with Andras Reidlmayer, an expert of Islamic architecture at Harvard, Bedrudin Gusic, the president of […]

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Considering "Other" Solutions

Suzanne Sataline, with the Wall Street Journal, wrote an article today titled, "For Some Evangelicals, GOP Ties are No Longer Binding." In some ways, after several months of analyzing the Christian vote, this kind of article is old news. On the other hand, the interviews and facts, which Sataline includes, portray quite well the changing […]

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The Hazards of Caricatures

This past week SpiegelOnline published an interview with Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist, who drew a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 (the simplistic one with the bomb placed on his head). The interview was based around the new development in the saga that the prosecutor general in Jordan has issued a subpoena against Westergaard. […]

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The Approach to Religious Voters in 2008

The Approach to Religious Voters in 2008

On Saturday, Obama and McCain made their first joint appearance as presumptive nominees at a "Civil Forum". The candidates were speaking before the Saddleback Church in California. NPR has reported news of the event and said that the church has a membership of "22,000 evangelical voters." The pastor of the church and interviewer on Saturday […]

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Allegations that Saudi Arabia's Schools Encourage Religious Discrimination

The Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute, with the Institute for Gulf Affairs, published this year an extended brief titled, "2008 Update: Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance." The Introduction describes the Center for Religious Freedom as an institution that "promotes religious freedom as a component of U.S. foreign policy." It joined the Hudson […]

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Obama's Continuing Efforts to Reach Out

Last week, Mazen Asbahi, stepped down as Barack Obama's Muslim outreach adviser. He held the position from July 26 until August 6, at which point he resigned from the volunteer position. The Wall Street Journal reported that there were questions about Mr. Absahi's "involvement in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups." A CNN […]

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Religious Sentiments versus Morality in the Public Space

Europride 2008 took place from July 25 to August 3 in Stockholm, Sweden. This past week, EUObserver.com published an article titled, "Anti-gay Bigotry Spans European Cultures," which looked at the contrast between gay-friendly societies and governments in Europe and the "frequent reports of violent, homophobic attacks" that nevertheless still take place. The article points out that […]

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Religious Extremists or Political Separatists?

According to an interview with a Chinese security official in Xinhua news, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement is "one of the main security worries to the Olympics." The fear of this organization was highlighted on Monday when two Uighur men in the city of Kashi (in Xinjiang) killed 16 policemen. The Uighur population in northwest […]

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Political Trends in Religious Liberty

Last week, the Economist published two articles about religious conversion and the right of people around the world to follow their own religious path. One article, The Moment of Truth, questions whether the liberal understanding of religion, which puts emphasis on the right to change one's belief, is actually widespread or perhaps an exception in […]

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Turkey's Constitutional Court Decision on the AKP

Six members of the Turkish Constitutional Court have voted to close down the AKP (the ruling Justice and Development Party). However, four others voted only to deprive the party of half of its government financial assistance. Closure of a political party requires seven votes. The court chairman, according to one news report, said that the […]

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Violence in the Past Few Days

The past few days have seen terrible acts of violence (terrorism) in Iraq, Turkey, and India , and threats in China. On Saturday, according to news reports, 17 explosions went off one after another in Ahmedabad, India , with two further blasts at hospitals. 49 people were killed. The attacks were probably "attempts to provoke […]

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The New Deliberate Terror Campaign in Somalia

Somalia has now faced 17 years of bloodshed and chaos. This past week news agencies have been reporting on and questioning the ongoing power struggle (between the Western-backed government and armed "Islamist militias") and the effects of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys' proclamation that he is the leader of the country's opposition. Aweys is designated a […]

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Tolerance or Preventing Extremism?

The Kyrgyz government is now discussing a new draft law on "Freedom of Religious Practices and Religious Organizations." An article by Erica Marat, Religious Authorities in Kyrgyzstan Play Politics, discusses the politics of the new law. She says that the political discourse in Kyrgyzstan is concerned with the spread of "Islamic fundamentalism" and that the […]

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The Thai-Cambodia Dispute Continues

The Thai-Cambodia Dispute Continues

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, recently named (in early July) the Preah Vihear Temple a World Heritage Site. The temple dates back to the early 11th century AD, is dedicated to Shiva, and is located in Northern Cambodia very close to the border of Thailand. In 1962, the International Court of […]

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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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