In the World
The Dalai Lama is Home

The Dalai Lama is Home

By Becky Rynor I was looking for the chink in that unfailingly optimistic armor, a moment of emotion from the man who was forced by invading Chinese forces to flee his homeland of Tibet in 1959.

Nigeria’s Islamiyya Schools: Global Project, Local Target

By Alex Thurston This is the fourth post in a series on Islamic education in Northern Nigeria. The first post gave an overview of the series, the second discussed Qur’anic schools, and the third talked about “traditional” advanced Islamic education, noting that traditions change over time. This post examines “Islamiyyaschools,...

“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...

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...

Riot in the Cathedral

  A review of The Orthodox Church and Russian Politics, by Irina Papkova. Oxford University Press, 2011. By Sean Guillory In late February, four members of the Russian feminist punk group, Pussy Riot, performed a “punk prayer” on the altar of Christ Our Savoir Cathedral, the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). Their action, which included singing...

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...

Progress and Rat Poison in Morocco

Some rights gains are never permanent. By Amy Levin As the climate warms and the new season approaches, one might notice a comparatively calmer “Arab spring” this year. Distracted by presidential politics and plans to “Occupy Spring,” the revolutionary wave that shifted our gaze eastward last year...

Our Woman in Cairo

Yasmin Moll, a Ph.D. student in socio-cultural anthropology at NYU, has been our woman in Cairo, reporting what she saw during and after the protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak's 30 year reign.  I asked Yasmin last week what she thought of George Friedman's analysis of the events.  Friedman, editor and CEO...

Somebody’s Watching You

When Iranian artists Neda Razavipour and Shahab Fotuhi proposed an installation in a downtown Tehran apartment building, the government’s Office of Beautification told them “The condition of permanence must be taken into account.” As in, for art to be good, it must last. That’s a surprising position in a theocratic state in which human fallibility and impermanence is enshrined...

Red Canada

The annual “Red Mass” for Canadian Catholic lawyers, judges, and legislators sounds like a surprisingly lively event, or at least a far cry from bland events such as the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. Last year’s dinner turned into a debate between pro-choice former PMJoe Clarke and Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic; this year, Cardinal A.A. upped the ante,...