Religion

Jewish Americans are not temporarily dislocated Israelis

Talia Lavin writes: The first recorded Jewish resident of North America arrived in 1585. His name was Joachim Gans, and he was a metallurgist from Prague, recruited by Sir Walter Raleigh to accompany would-be colonists to what would become Virginia. But the Roanoke colony was short-lived, and Gans soon departed, leaving behind a few lumps of copper and a goldsmith’s crucible for future archaeologists to discover. For centuries after Gans’s

‘Christian left’ is reviving in America, appalled by treatment of migrants

Citing scripture and church teachings, ever more Christians are pushing progressive policy positions based in their faith. Shutterstock By Laura E. Alexander, University of Nebraska Omaha Holding pictures of migrant children who have died in U.S. custody and forming a cross with their bodies on the floor of the Russell Senate Office Building, 70 Catholics were arrested in July for obstructing a public place, which is considered a misdemeanor. The

Muslims lived in America before Protestantism even existed

Sam Haselby writes: Muslims came to America more than a century before the Puritans founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Muslims were living in America not only before Protestants, but before Protestantism existed. After Catholicism, Islam was the second monotheistic religion in the Americas. The popular misunderstanding, even among educated people, that Islam and Muslims are recent additions to America tells us important things about how American history has

Martin Buber’s vision of Zionism as a cultural rather than political movement

Adam Kirsch writes: In 1917, when the Zionists were celebrating Britain’s endorsement of their aims in the Balfour Declaration, Buber objected that he did not envision the redemption of the Jews as something that could be achieved through political victories. Later, after Buber moved to Jerusalem, in 1938, he opposed a Jewish declaration of statehood, arguing that Palestine should become a binational state shared by Arabs and Jews. And, after

ISIS still has global reach despite the caliphate’s collapse

Robin Wright writes: Exactly a month after losing its final piece of territory, the Islamic State is giving notice that it can still surprise the world—this time in Sri Lanka. On Tuesday, it claimed responsibility for Easter bombings of three churches and three popular hotels which killed more than three hundred innocent civilians, including more than forty children, and injured another five hundred. “The perpetrators of the attack that targeted

Sri Lanka’s pain is going to spread

Mihir Sharma writes: In Sri Lanka, memories of war and terrorism are very much alive. The decades-long civil war between the Sinhala-dominated government in Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was brutal by any standards, and it ended a decade ago with a climactic battle near the Indian Ocean that took thousands of civilian lives. But Sri Lanka, beautiful and multicultural, has never had just the one fault

Steve Bannon ‘told Italy’s populist leader: Pope Francis is the enemy’

The Observer reports: Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon advised Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini to attack the pope over the issue of migration, according to sources close to the Italian far right. During a meeting in Washington in April 2016, Bannon – who would within a few months take up his role as head of Trump’s presidential campaign – suggested the leader of Italy’s anti-immigration League party should

Why giant statues of Hindu gods and leaders are making Muslims in India nervous

By Indulata Prasad, Arizona State University Statues – big statues, the largest in the world – are being built all across India. Like many public monuments, they attempt to convey history in a concrete form. But India’s new statues convey something else, too: the power and vision of one dominant group – and the vulnerability of others. That’s because India’s biggest new public monuments all pay tribute to Hindu gods

China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority

Darren Byler writes: In mid-2017, Alim, a Uighur man in his 20s, returned to China from studying abroad. As soon as he landed back in the country, he was pulled off the plane by police officers. He was told his trip abroad meant that he was now under suspicion of being “unsafe”. The police administered what they call a “health check”, which involved collecting several types of biometric data, including

Bulldozing mosques: The latest tactic in China’s war against Uighur culture

Rachel Harris writes: Ten years ago, I started researching Islam among the Uighurs. I spent my summers travelling around the Xinjiang region in western China. I took long bus journeys through the desert to Kashgar, Yarkand and Kucha, slept on brick beds in family homes in remote villages, stopped off at Sufi shrines, and visited many, many mosques. My husband was working with me, and we dragged our kids along

Anti-Muslim hate crimes soar in UK after Christchurch shootings

The Guardian reports: The number of anti-Muslim hate crimes reported across Britain increased by 593% in the week after a white supremacist terrorist killed worshippers at two New Zealand mosques, an independent monitoring group has said. The charity Tell Mama said almost all of the increase was caused by hate incidents linked to the New Zealand attacks last Friday, and there were more recorded in the last seven days than

Pro-social religions didn’t kick-start complex social systems

Scientific American reports: About 12,000 years ago human societies went big; tribes and villages grew into vast cities, kingdoms and empires within just a few millennia. For such large and complex societies to take root, people needed to maintain social cohesion and cooperation, even among complete strangers. What enabled this, many researchers have argued, was religion. Such a religion, the idea goes, would work particularly well if it established standards

Australians are asking how did we get here? Well, Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy

Jason Wilson writes: In the period of the country’s enthusiastic participation in the War on Terror, Islam and Muslims have frequently been treated as public enemies, and hate speech against them has inexorably been normalised. Australian racism did not of course begin in 2001. The country was settled by means of a genocidal frontier war, and commenced its independent existence with the exclusion of non-white migrants. White nationalism was practically

What science can tell us about how other creatures experience the world

Ross Andersen writes: Amid the human crush of Old Delhi, on the edge of a medieval bazaar, a red structure with cages on its roof rises three stories above the labyrinth of neon-lit stalls and narrow alleyways, its top floor emblazoned with two words: birds hospital. On a hot day last spring, I removed my shoes at the hospital’s entrance and walked up to the second-floor lobby, where a clerk

Young evangelicals speak out

Alexandria Beightol (one of six young evangelicals featured in the New York Times) writes: I was pulled out of Smith College in 2015 when I told my parents that I was rethinking the legitimacy of anti-gay theology. I thought, “God is going to have to forgive me. I am not going to die in this culture war.” I was Republican like them. Before, I supported whatever my church told me

Muslim groups raise thousands for Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims

The New York Times reports: Two Muslim organizations have raised more than $130,000 to help victims and their families following the shooting massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The online fund-raiser was part of a broad outpouring of assistance in response to the anti-Semitic attack, which killed 11 people and left six others injured, including blood drives, vigils and a separate crowdfunding campaign that has