Religion

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Snapshot,
Benjamin Miller

There seems to be little connecting recent violence in Ukraine to the destabilization of Iraq. But both conflicts spring from a common source, the mismatch between state boundaries and national identities -- a “state-to-nation imbalance.”

Snapshot,
Kevin Russell and Nicholas Sambanis

The strategy Obama laid out last Thursday -- the United States will share intelligence with Iraq and help the country coordinate a plan to turn back ISIS in return for Maliki promising to share power with Sunni leaders -- won’t work. The sectarian dilemma will persist even if ISIS is defeated, and any feints at sharing power are likely to be short-lived.

Postscript,
Reidar Visser

With the situation in Mosul rapidly deteriorating, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seems to be considering two main alternatives: proceed with forming a new cabinet, which would require him to include at least some of his political enemies, or consolidate his influence among Iraqi Shia, with little regard for what happens to the Sunni and Kurdish parts of the country.

Snapshot,
Victor Gaetan

Cynics might regard Pope Francis’ prayer summit with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a glorified photo opportunity. And plenty of pictures will be taken. But for five reasons, the meeting could help resuscitate the Middle East peace process.

Snapshot,
Omar G. Encarnación

It was hoped that Pope Francis would revive the Catholic Church in Latin America, but it is increasingly clear that his relationship with the region runs both ways. Even as he has tried to buoy the church there, his experiences in Latin America have helped transform the Roman Catholic Church as a whole, particularly when it comes to economic and social justice and support for gay rights.

Snapshot,
Robert D. Crews

The Crimean crisis is not just about Russia’s relationship with the West. It is also very much about Islam’s role in Russia. Moscow's success in Crimea won't just depend upon economics or international politics, but on the delicate negotiations between Russian Muslim clerics and their fellow believers in Russia’s newest region.

Snapshot,
Victor Gaetan

Gulen has tried to develop a genuinely modern school of Islam that reconciles the religion with liberal democracy, scientific rationalism, ecumenism, and free enterprise.

Essay, Mar/Apr 2014
Bernard Avishai; Jalal Al-e Ahmad

In 1963, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, an Iranian writer popular with dissident Islamist clerics, traveled to Israel and wrote a surprisingly positive account of his trip. That a guru to the ayatollahs liked Israel now seems touching. But what he liked seems cautionary.

Review Essay, Mar/Apr 2014
Jay M. Harris

A masterful new biography of Maimonides by Moshe Halbertal reveals why the medieval Jewish sage's work still matters: it represents a powerful bastion against the retreat from rationality.

Essay, Mar/Apr 2014
Robert D. Crews

Muslims in Russia have increasingly embraced different and competing religious orientations, even as the Putin government has worked hard to co-op the country’s Muslim population for its own political goals, both foreign and domestic.

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