The “Buddhist pop song” that took sixth at Eurovision


On Saturday, an Italian song about the emptiness of Western consumer culture came sixth at Europe’s wildly popular song competition, Eurovision. Occidentali’s Karma, by Francesco Gabbani, was Italy’s entry to the contest, and while the song (which is flush with Buddhist references) didn’t win, it was a hit with critics. The song was the most watched music video of the contest and was chosen as a favourite by fans and the press.

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The extraordinary ways in which China humiliates Muslims

CHINA: Xinjiang’s 10 million Uighurs (nearly half of its population) have long been used to heavy-handed curbs: a ban on unauthorised pilgrimages to Mecca, orders to students not to fast during Ramadan, tough restrictions on Islamic garb (women with face-covering veils are sometimes not allowed on buses), no entry to many mosques for people under 18, and so on.

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Pope to Al Azhar: ‘Violence Is Negation of Every Authentic Religious Expression’

While speaking to an international conference on peace at Al-Azhar, the highest theological and religious institution of Sunni Islam in the world and the oldest Islamic University, alongside its Grand Imam, Pope Francis said this, noting: “Above all and especially in our day, the religions are called to respect this imperative, since, for all our need of the Absolute, it is essential that we reject any “absolutizing” that would justify violence.”

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “Religions and Peace” at Al-Azhar and Muslim Council of Elders’ Global Peace Conference

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew gave one significant address at the Al-Azhar and Muslim Council of Elders’ Global Peace Conference in Egypt’s capital of Cairo. ‘The credibility of religions today depends on their attitude towards the protection of human freedom and dignity, as well as on their contribution to peace’, said Patriarch Bartholomew.

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The Future You: Pope Francis does TED Talk



Sources report that those following TED’s annual Conference were promised a surprise “world figure” who would deliver his 18-minute message on the conference theme, “The Future You,” alongside tennis and chess champions, including Serena Williams, and entrepreneurs. Yet, no one expected it to be Pope Francis. The theme of the Pope’s talk was The Future You.

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Religion and art: Talent and tension


With a few inexpensive moves to turn bare walls into venues, churches are using visual displays for a range of purposes. Some complement lessons taught in worship (one church asked members to submit art pieces in response to a sermon series on thriving). Others bridge cultural divides with the secular world. Parishioners, staffers, artists and neighbors all say they benefit as displaying art becomes a larger part of the church’s mission. What then, is the role of art in religion – many religions?

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