Religion and Human Rights

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I hope you’re breathing a sigh of relief: no picture of a woman in hijab! Seriously, while I have written on “the many meanings of hijab,” and the question of religion and gender equality, I come back to the issue from a different angle: the secular-religious clash in Israel is symptomatic of social dynamics all over the world (though perhaps…
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Thanks to an email this morning from Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement, I read what he was calling a landmark speech on religious freedom by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (see video version). Her speech was marking the State Department’s release of the 2011 International Freedom of Religion Report, which opens with the words of…
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 The Hebrew Bible – or the Christian Old Testament – begins with God creating the world in six days. On the sixth, after bringing forth all the animals, God created human beings in his image, both male and female. Then in verse 28 of Genesis 1 we read:   “Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill…
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Last week I happened to see Newsweek’s cover article, “The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World,” and read it immediately. My reaction: like Ayaan Hirsi’s other writings, it is less than truthful. Most cited facts are indeed “facts.” But truth, surely, lies in a balanced telling of such life-and-death stories within their wider context. She does not. Truth…
15 December 2011

The Bethlehem Call 2011

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“The existence of international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns and other forms of non-violent resistance is an established fact. . . . The severity of the Palestinian situation makes comparisons with apartheid in South Africa superfluous and almost irrelevant. The benchmark is international law and not South Africa.” This excerpt from the Second Kairos Bethlehem Conference document, The Bethlehem…
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When it comes to Islam and human rights, the biggest rub in joining the two comes from the hudud. That’s a word that means “limits” – here, the limits God has imposed on wrongful behavior, or the prescribed penalties in classical Islamic law. Most of these are still on the books in Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent, in…
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