From Tunisia to Pakistan, the Muslim world is in turmoil, as each country struggles to find its own path to an Arab Spring.
Pessimists say that, in the end, all of these countries will end up with some form of authoritarian regime either because Islamic parties cannot accept democracy or out of a fear that these regimes will keep a nation out of the modern world.
TOULOUSE, FRANCE- French police have captured an armed man who took four hostages in a Toulouse bank Wednesday. According to French media reports, the man claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda and acted for religious reasons. The hostages have been released.
The elderly Venerable Tep Vong, the Supreme Patriarch of the Buddhist community in Cambodia, traveled to Jaffna in Sri Lanka in the midst of the recent civil war. In a broken city under siege, he joined others — Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians—to try to bring a peaceful end to the violent separatist conflict. The force of his quiet Buddhist resolve was unmistakable. Yet, he never quoted a single Buddhist scripture. He spoke, instead, in the plainest of ordinary words.
The death of “multiculturalism” has been proclaimed repeatedly recently, the idea pronounced with a big “M” as if we were talking of something tangible around which there is consensus. British Prime Minister David Cameron was the latest of many politicians to assert this in February. But his much-reported discourse in Germany offered nothing new about multiculturalism, European Islam, radicalization, or about British and European governments’ understandings of these issues. And his message does not seem to have diverged much from how Britain’s previous Labour government addressed the issue or what is being said in France and in Germany.
Brazil is seen as a country of diverse and profound faith. But though religion is an important reference point in the lives of the population, the extent of religious diversity in this sprawling country is not nearly so pervasive as belief itself.
Even as the world’s attention is focused on ongoing revolutions in the Arab World, and the possible role that Islamic movements may play in transitions from authoritarian regimes, debates rage on how to curb Sharia law in Western European capitals and the American Mid-West, places where the imposition of such laws is far from a realistic possibility.
Director of the Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University Australia »
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