Global Plus: Sharia

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For hundreds of millions of Muslims, Sharia is a way or a path to divine understanding that enables human beings to reach their full potential. So why does so much public conversation about “sharia” or “sharia law” focus on extreme interpretations grounded in intolerance and ignorance? The answers are complex, involving historical, political, cultural, regional and religious factors that need to be understood in context. Yet complexity and reason are often dangerously absent amid the emotion and politics attached to Sharia.

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Global Plus: The nonreligious in the world today

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Who are the nonreligious? Depending on how they are counted, the nonreligious today may be considered the world’s third largest ‘religion,’ trailing only Christianity and Islam. They exercise an increasingly influential voice on issues from the immigration crisis in Europe to secular-religious tensions in Asia Pacific. Now a developing body of research is shedding critical light on the diversity and complexity of this group in an age when the makeup and balance of religious and nonreligious populations, along with their shared history, matters in ways both small and large.

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Global Plus: Religion and Death

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Across the world, billions of worshippers this weekend will be going to mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship hearing messages declaring that the choices they make in this life can affect their eternal destiny. How each of them, and secular individuals, face the great existential question of the meaning of life in the face of mortality can make a major difference in areas from mental health to preventing terrorism and promoting more generous, compassionate societies less likely to experience civil strife, new research shows.

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Global Plus: Research shows the power of humility

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In a series of scientific advances, researchers are developing a body of evidence challenging old stereotypes of humility as the province of weak-willed, stoop-shouldered individuals of low self-worth. The reality, research shows, is that it takes a strong will and courage to celebrate the gifts of others, while being honest about one’s own shortcomings. But it pays off. Just as a lack of humility can lead to a downward spiral of suspicion, distrust and violence, so, too, can the practice of humility reinforce other virtues and contribute to a more generous, inclusive, caring society.

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Covering the Hajj, from the holy lands

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In September 2016, South Africa based journalist Yazeed Kamaldien reports on the Hajj, traveling to Madinah and Makkah in Saudi Arabia to follow the route of millions of Muslim pilgrims from around the world. In order to help journalists who are planning to cover this major religious event this year or in the future, Yazeed Kamaldien shares with the IARJ some helpful tips.

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The Church up close: Covering Catholicism in the Age of Francis

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Issues of faith in public life dominate world news, but religion is often misunderstood or ignored in media coverage. It’s understandable. The world’s religions are the result of hundreds of years of history, prayer and tradition, and this is not easy to reflect and to explain in newspaper, radio, TV or via new-media formats. Many journalists are seeking keys to unlock this complex beat that sparks enormous public interest.

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Covering Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv in Ujjain

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Covering large spiritual gatherings and religious events and reporting outside your native region carries many challenges. Among these is knowing how to handle yourself appropriately and improve your odds for getting the best story that you can. The IARJ is offering this occasional series on how to work in lands and cover events that you may not be familiar with. Journalist Bhavya Srivastava, the author of this report, is a founding member of the IARJ and a resident of India.

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GlobalPlus: Religion and science

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We live in an age when a presumed irrevocable gulf between science and religion is perpetuated in the public sphere. But new evidence is emerging that reveals a far more complex picture of the relationship between these powerful social forces. One eight-region study of Religion among Scientists in International Context found a majority of scientists consider themselves either religious or spiritual, or both, in all regions except the United States, United Kingdom and France. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to address long-held animosities. On both sides.

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