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Will act against those attacking minorities: Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said stern action would be taken against those involved in attacks on Hindu minorities post-election. She urged opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia to “stop attacks” on the minority community else, the government would take “appropriate measures.” Earlier, Ms. Hasina met President Abdul Hamid and briefed him on the steps taken to check post-poll violence.
The Hindu

Til n Gur Ladoo: Sankranti Recipe
Sankranti is a special day in Hinduism and is celebrated in almost all parts of India. Makara Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival where the date always falls on the same day every year: 14 January. It is an occasion among Hindus which marks the arrival of spring season in India.
Bold Sky

Space for Hindus is shrinking fast in Pakistan
Faiths which reduce mankind to a flawed species renounce real convictions and the right to choose. Therefore, when Pakistan’s religious minorities believe that the country’s road to democracy has spelt a slow death for them, it is difficult to disagree. It was the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) five-year rule that proved detrimental for the minorities, be it the Shias, Ahmedis, Christians or Hindus.
Mail Online

Muslim majorities open to democracy, but cautious
Women should cover their hair. Government should implement Shariah law. But democracy and separation of church and state may be best for society. Those are among the findings of a new study about public attitudes in seven bellwether Muslim-majority countries, published by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
Washington Post

Nigeria – Muslims Pray for the Nation, We’re Not Terrorists: Ahmad
Prominent Muslims bared their minds as they gathered at the Tafawa Balewa Square to offer prayers for the nation. The event which was organized by the Joint Muslim Forum was an assemblage of Muslim organisations in the region with prominent Muslim personalities in attendance.
All Africa

Dysfunctional Religion Versus a Spirituality That Builds Intimacy and Community
We don’t have to look very deeply to recognize the divisiveness generated by religions throughout the world. Apart from those with an interfaith perspective — truth exists in many forms — people often insist that their beliefs and practices are the only ones sanctioned by God. But do their religious convictions open their hearts and deepen their wisdom or disconnect them from life, love and each other?
Huffington Post

No sex please, we’re Indian
While the Indian press may be restrained to report on religion, should the BBC frame the story in a faith-free atmosphere? Were India a fiercely secular society, such an omission might be justified. But it is not — nor are the rates of pre-marital sex comparable to the West. A study by the International Institute for Population Studies estimated that 3 per cent of women had engaged in pre-marital sex.



Muslims prepare charter of demands ahead of polls

Ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls, a section of Muslims has prepared a charter of 20 demands and sent it to different political parties. Called Muslim electoral declaration, the demands are now being discussed among community members.
SOURCE: The Times of India

1984 anti-Sikh riots: US court asks Sonia to respond by Jan 2
A US federal court has given Congress president Sonia Gandhi till January 2 to respond to a Sikh body’s charges of protecting and shielding party leaders allegedly involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh violence.
SOURCE: The Hindu

How Yoga Became A $27 Billion Industry — And Reinvented American Spirituality
In the more than 40 years since Khalsa opened his school, he has watched as yoga in America has evolved from a niche activity of devout New Agers to part of the cultural mainstream. Dozens of yoga variations can be found within a 1-mile radius of his studio in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, from Equinox power yoga to yogalates to “zen bootcamp.” Across America, students, stressed-out young professionals, CEOs and retirees are among those who have embraced yoga, fueling a $27 billion industry with more than 20 million practitioners — 83 percent of them women. As Khalsa says, “The love of yoga is out there and the time is right for yoga.”
SOURCE: Huffington Post

Annie, why won’t my mother let me choose my own religion?
I am 14 years old and facing a dilemma. My father isn’t particularly religious, but my mother is a strict Catholic, and my older sister and brother have been confirmed. I have another six months before I am expected to go through the process of confirmation. I do not want to do this. But as the time approaches, my mother has become increasingly forceful on the subject.
SOURCE: The Omaha World Herald

Over 100,000 Muslims take pledge against terrorism, spread message that Islam is religion of peace
The ceremony,organised by the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, was held at the Ramlila ground, and came after a two-day conference attended by clerics of Jamiat-e-Ulemas in the Maldives, Britain, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar at Deoband in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, where it was decided to set up a forum to promote world peace.
SOURCE: India Today

Spirituality: Rational and Radical
Most people sense that spirituality is about much more than beliefs in unseen forces and attachment to tribal identities. However, to develop a constructive alternative account we need to draw the discussion away from competing clusters of perspectives on the nature and meaning of the universe (theistic, atheistic, spiritual but not religious, agnostic etc) and back towards human practices and experiences that ground spirituality in our lives, where we can see its universal relevance and political importance.

Is Atheism a Religion?
Ninian Smart has identified seven characteristics of religion:
Does atheism have these characteristics?
SOURCE: American Clarion

Islam in the West
Islamophobia designed to distort the image of Islam is sometimes turned on its head. A case in point is the story of Swiss politician Daniel Streich, known for his campaign to ban minarets, who has reverted to Islam. During the minarets campaign, Streich started reading the Quran in order to find ammunition with which to attack Islam. The Quran had a deep impact on him, and Streich began to agree with and acknowledged the proclamations of the Quran. Streich embraced Islam in 2008 and left the Swiss People’s Party in 2009 calling its campaign against Islam as witch hunt. Deeply opposed to the minaret ban, Streich now promotes religious tolerance and he is hoping to build Switzerland’s fifth mosque and the most beautiful in Europe. Streich, who now regularly recites Quran and offers his prayers five times a day, says he has found the truth of life in Islam. “Islam offers me logical answers to important life questions, which, in the end, I never found in any other faith,” he says.
SOURCE: Oman Daily Observer

‘Religion leaders, capitalists corrupting literary forums’
Jana Nudi, the two-day literary meet, which ended here on Sunday, resolved to press the State government for passing the Anti Superstition Bill. It resolved to oppose all forms of discrimination in serving food in temples. It also resolved to oppose all forms of palanquin processions. It was resolved that religion leaders and capitalists were corrupting literary institutions. The writers resolved that there would be opposition to all forms of violence against women.
SOURCE: The Hindu

Don’t Judge Religions By Extremist Acts
Secretary General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu says Muslims and Christians are not at war anywhere and that conflicts perpetuated by a few extremist religious leaders for reasons other than religion should not be blamed on the religions.
SOURCE: AllAfrica

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