Articles on Religion and society

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People wear a protective mask as they attend a Hindu ritual, known as Melasti, in Bali, Indonesia, on March 22. Agoes Rudianto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Why people need rituals, especially in times of uncertainty

As the coronavirus spreads and life comes to a standstill, people are coming up with a host of rituals to maintain a sense of order and human connection.
An Uighur woman rests near a barricaded structure and heavily armed Chinese policemen in Urumqi. Ng Han Guan/AP Photo

I was in China doing research when I saw my Uighur friends disappear

A scholar who spent 24 months in the Uighur-dominated regions of China recalls when the Chinese crackdown on Uighurs started in 2017 – people were picked up and never returned.
The Satanic Temple unveils a statue of Baphomet, a winged-goat creature, at a rally for the First Amendment in Little Rock, Arkansas, in August 2018. AP Photo/Hannah Grabenstein

What The Satanic Temple is and why it’s opening a debate about religion

A group known as The Satanic Temple was started with the political goal of advocating for the value of church-state separation. This group is now challenging the traditional definition of religion.
For many evangelicals, faith is a central part of their lives, but there is wide variation in how it is practiced. Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Evangelicals downplay religious expression when working with secular groups

Many Americans imagine evangelicals as a monolithic group that supports conservative policies and always talks about their faith. Three experts found in a study that the picture is far more complex.
US President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a cricket stadium, in Ahmedabad, India. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

How India came to love cricket, favored sport of its colonial British rulers

During a recent visit to India, Trump spoke at the world's largest cricket stadium. Cricket came to India in the 18th century through British sailors and is a revered cultural institution in India.
Women in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighborhood are protesting a new Indian citizenship law that they say will discriminate against Muslims, women – and, particularly, Muslim women. Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Indian women protest new citizenship laws, joining a global ‘fourth wave’ feminist movement

A round-the-clock strike of Muslim women in a working-class neighborhood of Delhi is India's most enduring pocket of resistance to religious discrimination, inequality and gender violence.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar sign an agreement ending the US’s 18-year war in Afghanistan, Doha, Feb. 29, 2020. GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

After US and Taliban sign accord, Afghanistan must prepare for peace

A peace deal with the Taliban has been signed. But rebuilding Afghanistan after three decades of conflict will take much more than an accord, says a scholar of peacebuilding.
Pakistani Islamists march to protest the Supreme Court lenient treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman accused of blasphemy, in Karachi, Feb. 1, 2019. ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images

Execution for a Facebook post? Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countries

Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia all punish blasphemy harshly – even with death. Such laws have political as well as religious motives, says a scholar on Islamism: They're a tool for crushing dissent.
The ‘Christ of the Pacific’ statue in Lima has caused controversy in Peru because of its financing by a graft-tainted Brazilian construction company. Both religion and corruption loomed large in Peru’s 2020 legislative elections. CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP via Getty Images

Fringe religious party gains power in crisis-stricken Peru

After a bribery scandal that took down four presidents and led Congress to dissolve, some Peruvians are putting their faith in an austere religion called the Israelites of the New Universal Pact.
In this 2013 photo, Bangladeshi mourners carry the coffin containing the body of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider for funeral. AP Photo/Pavel Rahman, File

Conservative Islamic views are gaining ground in secular Bangladesh and curbing freedom of expression

In recent years Bangladesh has seen an increase in attacks on religious minorities. A scholar explains how certain extreme views on how Islam is to be followed are taking center stage in the country.
A studio group portrait of the Fisk University Jubilee singers. James Wallace Black/American Missionary Association

The power of a song in a strange land

Spirituals were created out of the experience of enslaved people in the US. They weren't songs of anger – but of an abiding belief in the victory of good over evil.

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