As he marks his third anniversary on the job, Pope Francis is providing encouragement, renewed optimism and a new energy to many of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. It is an appeal that extends beyond Catholics as the humble leader addresses issues from the refugee crisis to the environment. But can one person, even someone as charismatic as Francis, bring about lasting change?
Indian journalist Bhavya Srivastava reports on the vast interfaith festival in March 2016 in India, called World Cultural Festival hosted by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
The International Association of Religion Journalists is pleased to announce the election of Endy Bayuni, as Executive Director, and Douglas Todd, as Chair of the executive Committee. They will guide the international organization in the years to come, thus continuing the dream that brought two dozen journalists together in the founding meeting, in 2012.
China finds itself in the midst of a religious revival that is reshaping the global religious landscape in profound ways in the Third Millennium of the Christian era. From confounding expectations that sometime this century Islam may become the world’s largest religion to challenging Western theories of economic growth leading to the obsolescence of faith, China is in the midst of a great awakening that is transforming what once appeared to be the most secular nation on Earth to the leading edge of Christian expansion in the 21st century.
Religion is playing a major role in response to the European economic crisis. As faith-based organizations are increasingly depended upon to meet basic needs, a new landscape of challenges and opportunities is emerging that could result in dramatic shifts in church-state relations. A key question: Can a continent, once seen by many as on an inexorable march toward secularization, create new boundaries between the religious and the secular that respond to social needs in Europe’s increasingly diverse societies?
Questions and Answers with Muna Abdelfattah.
Mainstream media often misrepresents the complicated and dynamic realities of religion in the Middle East. Integral and comprehensive coverage requires long-term, embedded service. That is precisely the kind of work that Muna Abdelfattah has been doing for almost 15 years. Despite the constant threat of silencing from opponents of journalistic freedom, she continues to bring us her invaluable perspective both as a writer at Alaraby Aljadeed newspaper in London and at Makkah newspaper in Saudi Arabia, and as a researcher in political science at the University of Khartoum in Sudan.
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.
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.
An increasing importance of faith, an openness to alternative medicine and a lack of access to quality care are contributing to a resurgence in religious healing among Arab Muslims. The tasks that lie ahead include creating stronger, cooperative relationships among the religious and medical communities, and building health-care systems enabling citizens to receive quality medical care at a price they can afford.