Religion

Modi’s Religious Nationalism Hurts India’s Hindus, Too
China, Environment, Human Rights, Politics, Religion

Modi’s Religious Nationalism Hurts India’s Hindus, Too

An expert's point of view on a current event. Modi’s Religious Nationalism Hurts India’s Hindus, Too The motto of the modern Indian state, printed on every note and coin, is Satyameva Jayate, a Sanskrit phrase meaning “Truth Alone Triumphs.” But the current Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come to power on a dangerous lie that they have been selling to India’s Hindus: that in a country where they make up 80 percent of the population, Hinduism is under threat—and will only prosper if they support the ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. I am a co-founder of a progressive Hindu organization, Hindus for Human Rights. Most of our board members and our sole staff member are Hindu Indians in the United States, and we have a d...
Before Jihadi John, There Was George Blake
China, Politics, Religion

Before Jihadi John, There Was George Blake

I live in Paris, and every morning on my way to work, I cycle past the Bataclan—the music hall where 90 people were murdered during the November 2015 jihadi attacks. Around the time of those attacks, I started writing my biography of George Blake, the British Dutchman who became a KGB double agent. In many ways, he was a forerunner of European jihadis. Though the parallels are inexact, they are illuminating. Blake was born in Rotterdam in 1922. His mother was a Dutch Protestant; his Jewish father from what was then Constantinople had acquired British citizenship by fighting in the British Army in World War I. Blake grew up as a fundamentalist Calvinist, who dreamed of becoming a pastor. The German invasion changed that. As a teenaged courier in the Dutch resistance, he found a new vocati...
America, the Afghan Tragedy, and the Subcontinent
China, Environment, Politics, Religion

America, the Afghan Tragedy, and the Subcontinent

An expert's point of view on a current event. America, the Afghan Tragedy, and the Subcontinent Most Americans see U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September as closing the book on two decades of U.S. military intervention. The subcontinent, however, can’t forget the War in Afghanistan began long before the United States’ most recent involvement. It also can’t forget that Washington’s choices during more than four decades of war in Afghanistan have had—and continue to have—many unfortunate and unintended consequences for the region. Although the planned withdrawal leaves Afghanistan’s future open, it could lead to the next set of broader geopolitical shifts in the region. There is now a glimmer of hope that a normalization of relations betwe...
The Data Show Democracy Is Thriving
China, Religion

The Data Show Democracy Is Thriving

An expert's point of view on a current event. The Data Show Democracy Is Thriving Everywhere you look people are bemoaning democracy’s prospects. Headlines warn about rising Chinese authoritarianism, Russian meddling, and democratic backsliding around the globe. For the 15th consecutive year, Freedom House’s annual flagship report has decried that political freedom is in retreat. But the swelling mood of pessimism about democracy’s future is unwarranted. Despite the resilience of autocracy in Russia and China, and the undoing of democratic success stories in places such as Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, the long-term future of democracy is much brighter than most imagine. In truth, so-called modernization theory is proving correct: Economic development brings expanding levels of educati...
‘Bunkerchan’ Is Trying to Deradicalize Online Nazis
China, Environment, Politics, Religion

‘Bunkerchan’ Is Trying to Deradicalize Online Nazis

An expert's point of view on a current event. ‘Bunkerchan’ Is Trying to Deradicalize Online Nazis “Dollars” is modest when asked what impact his forum has had on visitors from 4chan or 8chan. “I think that a solid 15% might learn something, think twice.” He gets a little more bullish: “Maybe as high as 30%.” Dollars, who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety, is a veteran of some of the most contentious sites on the internet. For more than 15 years, 4chan and its offspring have become renowned, and eventually infamous, for occupying prime internet real estate. The image boards offer all manner of community for millions of young men (and a few women) around the world. From porn to politics, anime to the occult, the image boards allow users to chat with each other and swap images,...
Far-Right Delusions About China Miss the Real Problems
China, Human Rights, Politics, Religion

Far-Right Delusions About China Miss the Real Problems

Far-Right Delusions About China Miss the Real Problems The cover of U.S. economist David P. Goldman’s latest work, You Will Be Assimilated: China’s Plan to Sino-Form the World, depicts a golden dragon statue wearing earbuds against a menacing Commie-red background. It’s at least a modernized twist on the motif; most books about the threat of China just tend to slap a dragon on and be done with it. The visual cliché notwithstanding, no one can accuse Goldman of being uncreative: At one point, he tells us the “Chinese have few friends”—thanks to the absence of “political friendship in Aristotle’s sense.” The book is riddled with factual and analytical errors, is poorly sourced, and is not well written. For all its flaws though, You Will Be Assimilated does provide insight into what the upc...
Uzbekistan’s Online Religious Revival
China, Environment, Human Rights, Religion

Uzbekistan’s Online Religious Revival

Uzbekistan’s Online Religious Revival TASHKENT, Uzbekistan—In March, around 100 people gathered in Uzbekistan’s capital in a violent rally against LGBTQ rights. Members of the mob marched toward the city’s main square in search of LGBTQ community members, chanting “Allahu akbar” and brutally beating at least two teenagers who passed by. The violence followed an online debate between conservative religious commentators and LGBTQ activists over calls to change Uzbekistan’s penal code, which criminalizes same-sex relationships. The same day, masked men attacked Miraziz Bazarov, a provocative blogger who supports LGBTQ rights, outside of his home. Although police are investigating the assault, the government has blamed Bazarov—who often mocks religion—for instigating the unrest. The blogger ...
China’s Crackdown on Islam Brings Back Memories of 1975 Massacre
China, Environment, Human Rights, Politics, Religion

China’s Crackdown on Islam Brings Back Memories of 1975 Massacre

SHIAN, China—“Assalamu alaikum,” Ma Zhijun greeted me in Arabic, extending me peace and a broad toothy smile. We were strangers eyeing the same beef skewers in front of Shadian’s Grand Mosque, the largest in southwestern China, at the end of Ramadan in 2019. Food stalls lined Moslem Avenue; Eid al-Fitr had finally arrived, and Muslims in the Chinese town were eager to make up for a month of daytime fasting. “Are you one of our Muslims?” he asked when I returned his greeting, perhaps puzzled by my proper beard but poor Arabic. “No,” I replied, prompting Ma’s invitation to the shade of palm trees that lined the mosque plaza, a refuge from the baking June sun. There, for much of the afternoon, he shared his faith with me until the call to prayer beckoned him away. I welcomed the conversatio...
China urged to stop persecution of Uyghurs, Tibetans
China, Human Rights, Religion

China urged to stop persecution of Uyghurs, Tibetans

Conservative party of Canada has called on China to stop the persecution of people who practice their religion or belief including Christians, Tibetans and Uyghurs. In a statement issued on the 62nd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, Canadian Leader of the Opposition Erin O'Toole said Canada must stand behind those who advocate for religious freedom. The Conservative party leader paid tribute to 'the brave women and men who sacrificed their lives for the just cause of Tibet', while noting his support for the nonviolent struggle of the Tibetan people for genuine autonomy, human rights, and justice for the past 62 years, without either malice or compromise. 'This is a great testament to the steadfastness and virtue that characterize His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibet...
China threatening to turn Tibetan Buddhist community into govt’s tool: Report
China, Human Rights, Religion

China threatening to turn Tibetan Buddhist community into govt’s tool: Report

New measures of surveillance and control imposed by the Chinese Communist Party are threatening to turn the Tibetan Buddhist monastic community into a tool of the Xi Jinping-led government, according to a rights group. The International Campaign for Tibet said: "After more than 60 years of China's brutal, authoritarian rule in Tibet, our new report shows that Tibetan Buddhism is facing some of the gravest threats yet to its survival." It added, "We hope that 'Party Above Buddhism' shines a light on China's new efforts to bend this beautiful faith to the twisted purposes of the Chinese Communist Party. We also urge the international community once again to speak up for the religious freedom of the Tibetan people." A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet released on Wednesday...