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.
What will Iran’s May 19 presidential election mean for the Baha’i, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious group? Given that every candidate was handpicked by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s Guardian Council, the answer is simple: Nothing good.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Christians will be outnumbered by Muslims by 2035 as birth rates in Islamic countries outstrip those in the west, according to a new demographic analysis. In recent years, more babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But according to Washington-based think tank The Pew Research Centre, this is unlikely to be the case into the future.
Vatican City, April 5, 2017: Prior to his weekly General Audience Pope Francis met with a Catholic-Muslim delegation from Britain in the auletta of the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. Pope Francis met with English Cardinal Vincent Nichols and four Muslim leaders from Britain who came to highlight the deep-rooted interfaith relations among the different religious communities in the UK today.
In speaking on an Encyclical of Paul VI, Pope Francis said, It is about integrating different peoples of the earth. The duty of solidarity obliges us to seek just ways of sharing, so that there is not that dramatic inequality between those that have too much and those that have nothing, between those that discard and those that are discarded. Only the way of integration between peoples enables humanity to have a future of peace and hope.
Fischel Benkhald, born Faisal Benkhald in Karachi, became the first Pakistani citizen in decades to officially declare his Jewish identity to the state. Benkhald is the first citizen allowed to register as a Jew in Pakistan – a state sensitive to religious identity – since the 1980’s.