05 November 2014

When the West wanted Islam to curb Christian extremism

When the West wanted Islam to curb Christian extremism (Washington Post, 16 October 2014)

Excerpts:
In any case, Islam and those who practice it were not always perceived to be such a cultural threat. Just a few decades ago, the U.S. and its allies in the West had no qualms about abetting Islamist militants in their battles with the Soviets in Afghanistan. Look even further, and there was a time when a vocal constituency in the West saw the community of Islam as a direct, ideological counter to a mutual enemy.

Turn back to the 1830s. An influential group of officials in Britain -- then the most powerful empire in the West, with a professed belief in liberal values and free trade -- was growing increasingly concerned about the expanding might of Russia. From Central Asia to the Black Sea, Russia's newly won domains were casting a shadow over British colonial interests in India and the Middle East. The potential Russian capture of Istanbul, capital of the weakening Ottoman Empire, would mean Russia's navy would have free access to the Mediterranean Sea--an almost unthinkable prospect for Britain and other European powers.

CTU Professor Carmen Nanko-Fernández explains the ofrenda (altar) in the Dia de los Muertos



Dramatic Religious Shift in Brazil as Evangelicals Are Rapidly Overtaking Catholics


Excerpt:
Brazil is undergoing a religious revolution. In 1970, 92% of the population claimed to be Catholic, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics; in 2010 only 64.4%. “Brazil is unique: It’s the only large country to have seen such a profound change in its religious landscape in so short a time,” said José Eustáquio Alves of the National School of Statistical Science in Rio de Janeiro. The change is due to the growth of the evangelical churches, particularly the Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals. (Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist membership is stable.) Evangelicals have gone from 5% to 22% of the population in 40 years. With 23 million believers, Brazil is still the world’s largest Catholic country — but not for long, according to Eustáquio Alves, who calculates evangelicals and Catholics should be neck-and-neck by 2030.

Hatred of the Poor: Sad, Self-Loathing Poison from the Right-Wing Catholic Ghetto


Excerpt:
Moving to Canada has afforded me a convenient, but slight, distance from the septic squalor of US political commentary. I trace the headlines with my eyes, but little more than that. I mention this to reenter the fray, and address a recent post at the Candid World Report, by Stephen J. Herreid, entitled “How to Fend Off Freeloaders: What Keeps Left and Right so Far Apart?” The post claims to be about the perils of political partisanship, but what it really amounts to is a personal attack of Artur Rosman, from Cosmos the in Lost.

Related: Blessed are the Freeloaders: On the Face of the Poor, by Artur Rosman (Patheos, 4 November 2014)

Occupy Central, Umbrella Movement & Pro-Democracy Protests in Hong Kong


LAST UPDATED: November 5, 2014
Selected news reports, op eds and analysis on anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong, Occupy Central, and the involvement of Hong Kong Christians

Sticky:

  • Behind the Scenes Look at the Unfurling of the Universal Suffrage Banner on Lion Rock, Hong Kong
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  • Police Brutality and Assault against the Civic Party's Ken Tsang (captured by TVB):
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  • More Police Brutality and Violence against Pro-Democracy Demonstrators:
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  • Protesters singing the Cantopop group, Beyond's 海阔天空 ("Boundless Oceans and Vast Skies"), the unofficial anthem of the Hong Kong Protesters:
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  • PLEASE HELP HONG KONG - PART 2
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  • PLEASE HELP HONG KONG PART 1

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