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This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Power and the divine: self-repression in Egypt

Focusing on the afterlife, the rewards of heaven for the just and hell for the unjust, keeps the masses in check and accepting of their social reality. This needs to change.

Egypt: do you really want to counter terrorism?

Is the failure intentional or a result of general incompetence? Because of repression or Islamic ideology? This debate should be far from over.

Bahrain: an oasis of religious freedom in the Middle East?

Why is Sheikh Nasser signing a declaration of “Religious Tolerance” in Los Angeles when the monarchy has counterintuitively sown sectarian divisions at home? 

Lebanon’s enduring contradictions

A century later, and after several civil wars and invasions, not much has changed in how different Lebanese communities invent and reinvent their national identities.

Jerusalem: securing spaces in holy places

There are actors involved in all sides of this dispute who must now encourage enduring dialogue for conflict prevention. Jerusalem should remain the city of peace not conflict.

Egypt's Copts between terror and discrimination

Until equality and justice are within reach to all, what can Copts do to survive and how much more will they be forced to bear?

The surfacing of trauma: the myth and history of Sunni-Shia divide

Sunnis and Shias have lived together in peace for centuries, and up to the new millennium have barely had a history of bloody conflict. Why now?

Will the left ever get religion?

Can there ever be a truly successful, secular revolution? 

Don’t punish yourself to make the world a better place

Why do Westerners go to extremes in following Eastern spiritual paths?

Does phenomenology herald a new era for religion?

Placing the emphasis on human experience opens the door to a more life-affirming role for religion.

Is secularism bad for women?

Gender equality should not be pitted against religious freedom, so what kind of political arrangements could guarantee religious women’s rights and full social inclusion? 

A day of reckoning, 39 years later...

On this Land Day, while world powers have recognised the danger of the religion-centric Islamic State (IS), it is ironic that some of the same governments are urging Palestinians to accept Lieberman's "axe"-wielding Jewish version of IS.

Can religious groups help to prevent violent conflict?

When peace and violence are examined through a faith-based lens, a different set of factors come to the foreground.

Religion from the inside out

True religion is living a life of compassion in the midst of the material world.

Great work gets done by good people

The founders of the Antigonish movement told people to "set the heather on fire" and create a new cooperative economy. What lay behind their success?

The best kept secret of the Catholic Church—its social teachings

On paper, Catholicism is one of the most progressive faiths in the world: shame about the practice.

Put away the scriptures and follow justice

In contexts where faith plays a major role in public and private life, critical engagement with religion is the only option.

Violence as a theological problem

Deeply ingrained in the religious consciousness of the United States is the belief that retribution is God’s will.

First, do no harm: expanding our moral circle beyond religion

Secular values and commitments are all that’s needed to anchor the deep transformation of society.

Christianity was liberation for you—for me it was slavery: a tale of two kingdoms

Can religious conservatives be enlightened out of their convictions? If not, what are the implications? The launch of a new Transformation series on religion.

The Coptic Church: mixing politics with religion

Mina Fayek

To mourn the unjustly massacred and raise your voice against oppressors is unwelcome in the Coptic Church, but to interrupt prayers and let politicians speak during a mass is welcome and appropriate.

America’s holy alliance is ripping apart at the seams

Liberals and progressives may feel besieged by the religious right, but they should breathe easy: they are winning.

Charlie Hebdo: is nothing sacred?

Until we know what we would die for, we don't know why we're alive. But what, if anything, would you be willing to kill for?

Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton: two journeys to wholeness

Two lives show that a truly integrated existence—a life-long process of personal and political transformation—lies within the reach of everyone.

We must all be allowed to love each other with honour: spirituality and social transformation

Secular narratives of social transformation are often separated from religious narratives of personal transformation. This division ignores the lived realities of people who are struggling for change. 

Iraqi refugees from Mosul seek a home away from home

Nikita Malik

Christian families who have the means have managed to escape the Islamic State in Mosul for Jordan, which has provided a transit point, but where to next for Iraqi Christians?

If we can have p2p economics, why not p2p spirituality?

No more gurus: the emergence of peer production opens the way to a commons of spiritual knowledge from which all humanity can draw.

Sisi’s religious conquest

The purging of the Muslim Brotherhood from Egyptian politics will not necessarily put the country on the path to secularism, as Sisi finds his own ways to use religion for political ends.

The rise of Christianity in the Islamic Republic

A new social trend in the Islamic Republic of Iran seems to target not only state-sponsored religious norms of rectitude and morality, but also the very defining principles of the Iranian social order.

Listening to the Buddha: how greed, ill-will and delusion are poisoning our institutions

When politics and economics are based on the worst aspects of human nature, societies become riddled with inequality and violence. All institutions mirror the motivations that make them work.

Islam and politics

There remains a deeper problem in making a religious text foundational and that can be summed up in one word: commitment.

The root of the Syrian-Iraqi question

If Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad had worked towards unlearning the new reality which Sykes-Picot aimed to create in the Arab World, the current deadlock in the Syrian-Iraqi situation would never have happened.

You cannot ignore religion in social policy-making in the Middle East

Governments and global development agencies will do well in the formulation of new social protection and social welfare policies, only if they take serious account of the experience of religious organisations in their provision.

Our fallible prophet

Rational reflection and reasoning should not be a threat to religion. Drawing on religious texts, the author argues Muslims should embrace the fallibility of the prophet, and so free themselves of the shackles of history and paralyzing dogmas.

The old lady and the prophet

Could Obama quell the outrage over the anti-Islamic film with an elegant and decisive speech, as he did with the reverend Wright controversy four years ago?

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