Features

“Traditional” and Reformist Practices: Advanced Islamic Education in Northern Nigeria

This post is the third in a series on Muslim schooling in Northern Nigeria. The first post gave an overview of the series, and the second discussed Qur’anic schools. by Alex Thurston In Nigeria, advanced Islamic education--the step following one's basic instruction in the Qur'an--takes various forms. Here, I'll examine the traditional settings for advanced...

Manufacturing Visions:
A Review of “The Virgin, the Copts and Me”

By Abhimanyu Das Namir Abdel Messeeh's highly entertaining documentary The Virgin, the Copts and Me is a curious beast, a bit like one of those clever New Yorker articles that start off making you think it'll be about Batman but end up being about the tax obligations of the 1%. Only, in this case, it's...

The Poets of Srebrenica

by Janaki Challa
“Countless contradictory analyses have seen the light of day about the ensuing bloody events in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, on whose embarrassing convolutions there  is no need to dwell. Because it is clear that what is above all missing from all the explanations is the human being. Or -- if we can...

Northern Nigeria: Qur’anic Schooling and the Almajirai

by Alex Thurston This is the second post in a series on Muslim education in Northern Nigeria. Read the first post here. Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, a revelation that corrects and completes earlier Messages to Prophets such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muslims throughout...

Rolling the Dice: The Orthodox Church’s “Bet” on Putin

by Irina Papkova The recent Russian elections have highlighted the complicated relationship between the Orthodox Church with both state and society. In December, prominent clergy expressed their dissatisfaction with the evidently fraudulent nature of the parliamentary election, and even patriarch Kirill made statements that could be interpreted as calling upon Putin to reform the...

So Long, Rowan Williams

What does Rowan Williams's resignation mean for American Anglicans? By Daniel Schultz Word reached us lately that the eyebrows of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, had decided to step down at the age of 61, apparently taking the attached primate with them into an early retirement, or at least a return to the academic...

The Pope Has Left the Island

  By Nora Connor Pope Benedict completes his pilgrimage to Cuba today, having wrapped up his “pastoral” visit to Mexico, in which he tidily summarized that nation’s struggles with the drug war-industrial complex:
The pope also addressed Mexico’s struggle against violence...

Intense Friendliness: Kids, Cults and Criteria

by Ashley Baxstrom NYU Local reported last week that city students have a lot more to worry about than midterms and the rising price of lattes: dangerous CULTS want to steal your soul, body and money! According to the post--less an article than a humorous piece, the author admitted to...

Identity, Crisis: Shari’a Law in Nigerian Politics

by Alex Thurston In 1999, Nigeria made global headlines when Northern states began re-implementing “full shari’a,” i.e. Islamic law codes that included criminal penalties for acts like theft, adultery, and drinking alcohol. The shari’a project in Northern Nigeria caused further controversy when...

Religion and Real Estate in New York City

By Fred Folmer Should religious groups be allowed to worship in New York City public schools? This question is at the heart of an ongoing issue involving church leaders, congregants and public officials, who are challenging a decision by the Bloomberg administration and Department of Education to evict churches that use school buildings for their worship...

Boko Haram in National Perspective

By Alex Thurston Violence by Boko Haram, a rebel sect in Northern Nigeria that claims to be waging an Islamic jihad against the Nigerian state, has killed over 900 people since 2009, including over 250 in 2012 alone. Domestic and international analysts...

Gray Barker, the Men in Black, and North Carolina
Amendment One

By David Halperin You are David Halperin. It’s 1960, and you’re twelve going on thirteen, and although you’ve noticed for a while now that there are exciting differences between girls and boys, it’s only recently you’ve begun to grasp that this fact might have some relevance to you.  Your mother is sick with heart disease—slowly dying, though...