In 1954, China’s paramount leader Mao Zedong met Tenzin Gyatso, the then 19-year-old who was the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. “Religion”, Mao acerbically observed to the young Dalai Lama, “is poison”. Five years later, Chinese forces would roll into Tibet and take over the country, driving the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans into exile. The communists, who espoused atheism and derided religions, sought to yoke Tibet to China by squashing its local culture and historical institutions; destroying Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, nunneries, and cultural artifacts; and suppressing the practice of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.
In more recent times, however, Beijing has taken an inordinate interest in the ins and outs of Tibetan Buddhism.… Seguir leyendo »
Para el grupo islamista Hamás, el enemigo es el judío, más incluso que el israelí. Las masacres contra civiles no han sido un acto de guerra, sino un pogromo antisemita de la misma naturaleza que los perpetrados en el pasado en Rusia, Ucrania y la Alemania nazi. Los fanatismos religiosos están resurgiendo, y no solo en Israel; hay que volver a incorporarlos al análisis de todos los conflictos actuales y futuros. Los ejemplos abundan. Recordemos el asesinato en Canadá de un líder de la religión sij, más que probablemente por orden del Gobierno indio, que tuvo lugar hace tres semanas. Sabiendo que el Gobierno indio quiere que a partir de ahora el país se identifique con el hinduismo, cualquier disidencia religiosa se convierte en intolerable.… Seguir leyendo »
In late May, thousands of Hui Muslims clashed with local police in the town of Nagu in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province. They were protesting the government’s plan to demolish the dome and minarets of the Najiaying mosque, a structure originally built in the fourteenth century. The mosques of Najiaying and nearby Shadian have stood as relics of the Chinese state’s past tolerance of Islam and Muslims in Yunnan. They are the last two mosques in the province to still boast traditionally Arab features, namely domes and minarets. Recent years have seen the government-backed transformation of several mosques in Yunnan, with their roofs remade to resemble Buddhist pagodas and Confucian temples.… Seguir leyendo »
Nicaragua’s seizure of the Jesuit-run Central American University in Managua on Aug. 16 was only the latest episode in the government’s five-year campaign to silence the Catholic Church.
Described by President Daniel Ortega’s regime as a “center of terrorism” for having attempted to shield student protesters during widespread anti-government demonstrations in 2018, the university has had its buildings, bank accounts and even its furniture seized. If past practice is any guide, it will soon be either shuttered or run by the state, with faculty and curriculums censored by the Sandinista government.
Since 2018, Catholic priests and laity critical of the government have been harassed, exiled, imprisoned, tortured and murdered.… Seguir leyendo »
He visto la fotografía que circula en las redes del padre Adolfo López de la Fuente asomándose a la puerta de la casa comunal de los jesuitas, donde vivía en Managua. Ahora, a sus 98 años, lo han expulsado de allí. Aparece como yo lo recuerdo, junto a esa misma puerta, en su papel de portero voluntario de la casa Guadalupe, situada dentro de los predios de la Universidad Centroamericana. Tras la confiscación de la universidad, acusada de terrorismo, los expulsaron a todos bajo fuerza policial.
Venía a abrir la puerta, la pequeña cruz colgando del cuello de la guayabera gastada de tanto lavarla, la barba cana, los ojos alertas tras los gruesos lentes; sonreía al verme, y casi siempre callaba.… Seguir leyendo »
It is a hot and furious week in India’s parliament. Narendra Modi, the prime minister, is accused of turning a blind eye to three months of bloodshed in some of the poorest villages of India, in the remote north-east state of Manipur. Barbaric details are surfacing: hundreds of villages destroyed, Christian churches and schools torched, and widespread sexual assault of women. About 50,000 people have fled their homes; at least 124 are dead.
This week, at last, Modi is being forced by a no-confidence motion to speak about the violence. The charge against him: a “brazen indifference” to the killing.
It was early May.… Seguir leyendo »
This is my first Yom Kippur in exile.
The crisp Moscow autumn air; the illuminated synagogue which I called home for 30 years; my white hat and kittel, the robe Jews wear on the High Holy Days, folded up, in my apartment that now sits locked — it all seems like a dream.
As the chief rabbi of Moscow, I used to prepare for this holiday for weeks. Some of the work was technical — securing cantors and shofar blowers for synagogues across Russia, or guiding the sick on whether or not they should fast on the holy day. Some of the preparation was more lofty: I would prepare my sermon thoughts while walking daily for early morning penitential prayers, past the bustling cafes on Pokrovka Street, down the hill on Arkhipova Street, up the stairs to the pale yellow synagogue, with its dome.… Seguir leyendo »
Todavía recuerdo mis lágrimas de alegría al saber de la liberación de Mahvash Sabet en 2017. Tras 10 años encarcelada por pertenecer a la comunidad bahai, la mayor minoría religiosa de Irán, la dejaban libre sin haber podido demostrar ni uno solo de los cargos que se le imputaban.
Yo había pasado varios años traduciendo su poemario Poemas enjaulados (PreTextos, 2020), escrito durante su encarcelamiento, y había llorado al traer al castellano sus versos, que me transportaron a una atmósfera asfixiante en la que la tortura y la inmundicia campaban a sus anchas.
Por eso, el pasado 31 de julio volví a llorar, al saber que Sabet era arrestada de nuevo y que no se conocía su paradero.… Seguir leyendo »
Algunos pensarán que la reciente matanza de cristianos en Nigeria es un hecho aislado y que nos pilla muy lejos de la Unión Europea.
La violencia contra los cristianos en este país africano no cesa, superando los más de 3.500 asesinatos anuales. Los yihadistas y grupos radicales afines no descansan y masacran a la población cristiana ante unas autoridades incapaces de frenar esta barbarie.
No se trata de un hecho aislado. Más de 300 millones de cristianos sufren persecución en el mundo. Pero la situación es especialmente grave en África. Sobre todo en Nigeria, donde la quema de iglesias y el ataque a los cristianos se intensifica día a día.… Seguir leyendo »
Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, in 2014, India has seen a marked uptick in hate speech and violence directed at its Muslim minority. Western officials, including from the United States, have urged Modi and his BJP government to reaffirm India’s avowed pluralism, but they have exerted little pressure on New Delhi; India remains too important an economic and geopolitical partner in the wider contest with China.
In June, however, the darkening atmosphere of majoritarianism and illiberalism in India earned its strongest international rebuke so far. It came not from liberal Western governments but from a slew of Arab countries.… Seguir leyendo »
How does one talk of the disintegration of the world’s most populous democracy without surrendering to an exhausting pessimism? How does one remain objective about a story that involves one’s lived experience, persecution and humiliation? How does one write about their love for their nation when any attempt to highlight the fascism unleashed against their people is viewed as discrediting the nation on the global stage?
India — a country of nearly 1.4 billion considered by many around the world as an example of coexistence, pluralism and diversity — is engulfed in a fire of Hindu supremacy. The situation has become so fraught that Gregory Stanton, the founder and director of Genocide Watch, has warned India could be on the cusp of a genocide against Muslim citizens.… Seguir leyendo »
Pope Francis began his first-ever papal trip to Iraq on Friday, marking a watershed moment in relations between the Catholic Church and the Middle East. Yet for all the optimism of the Pope’s message, his visit also serves to remind us that Christianity and other minority faiths of the region are facing dark times.
The Middle East is the cradle of the three Abrahamic faiths that have more than 4 billion adherents around the globe. The region remains home to some of the world’s most ancient languages, cultures and heritage sites.
Yet oppressive governments and violent extremist movements have been busy erasing the Middle East’s diverse religious communities.… Seguir leyendo »
Letters complaining about newspaper articles are unexceptional. Not so letters from the Élysée Palace. Last week, the Financial Times published, after the killing of teacher Samuel Paty in Paris and of churchgoers in Nice, an article by its Europe correspondent, Mehreen Khan, critical of French president Emmanuel Macron’s policies towards Islam. Macron’s desire to “use the state to prescribe a ‘correct’ religion”, she wrote, has “more in common with authoritarian Muslim leaders than enlightenment values of separating church and state”.
Macron responded with a letter-cum-article defending himself and his policies and accusing Khan of “misquoting” him – he insisted he had never talked of “Islamic separatism”, as Khan suggested, only of “Islamist separatism”.… Seguir leyendo »
As a dual citizen of France and Canada, I never cease to be amazed by the depth of misunderstanding there is about French attitudes to religion. France’s shortcomings in its management of diversity are obvious – as are everyone else’s – but it is important to recognise some basic facts before pronouncing on them.
The first is that the principle of laïcité in France – the country’s particular brand of secularism – is more than posturing: it is a lived, sociological fact.
The extent of secularism in France, especially over the last half century, is well documented. Jérôme Fourquet, in The French Archipelago, provides 350 pages of evidence on the transformation of France – or, as he puts it, the disappearance of the religious in France.… Seguir leyendo »
By now, the world knows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and his Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) have eroded the liberal principles of the Indian Constitution and are turning the country into an increasingly illiberal democracy. It is common knowledge that Mr. Modi thrives on the grievances and bigotries that pit privileged majorities against minorities living in fear.
Less familiar, but much more hopeful, is the response of the main target of this majoritarian assault: India’s Muslim minority — roughly 172 million peopl e who account for just about 14.2 percent of India’s total population of approximately 1.32 billion people, roughly 79.8 percent of whom are Hindu.… Seguir leyendo »
On Wednesday, images and renderings of the Grand Ram Temple — which will be built on the the site of the Babri Masjid, an important mosque in Uttar Pradesh state demolished by right-wing Hindu nationalists— will be beamed across giant billboards in Times Square by a U.S. organization to mark the groundbreaking ceremony for the temple’s construction, which will feature Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying silver bricks as the foundation.
Wednesday is also the anniversary of India’s decision to revoke the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Muslim-majority state where 7 million people have been living under a brutal military occupation and Internet blackout.… Seguir leyendo »
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople lowered his voice in exasperation. “What can I say as a Christian clergyman and the Greek patriarch in Istanbul? Instead of uniting, a 1,500-year-old heritage is dividing us. I am saddened and shaken”.
The 80-year-old spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide was referring to the Turkish government’s plans to convert Hagia Sophia, a 6th-century Byzantine cathedral and one of the most precious architectural wonders of the world, into a mosque. For centuries, the terra-cotta-colored building served as the largest church in the Christian world. When Ottomans conquered Istanbul in 1453, they carefully covered the mosaics and turned it into a mosque.… Seguir leyendo »
This week, India’s Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, fundamentally changing the country’s Citizenship Act of 1955 — and setting off protests in the northeastern states and a curfew in some cities.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government introduced the bill during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term, but Parliament failed to pass the bill at the time. The BJP reintroduced the bill on Monday, and it cleared both the Lok Sabha (lower house) and the Rajya Sabha (upper house). President Ram Nath Kovind signed the bill into law on Thursday.
Why is there such strong domestic pushback, and why did the Indian government deploy more than 5,000 paramilitary troops and impose an Internet blackout to maintain order in Assam and Tripura?… Seguir leyendo »
Publié dans Paris Match jeudi 5 décembre, un article signé par Bernard-Henri Lévy lance un SOS pour les chrétiens du Nigeria. Selon lui, les Fulanis musulmans (aussi appelés Peul en Afrique francophone) seraient sur le point de commettre un « génocide » contre les chrétiens du pays. Dans n’importe quelle région du monde, l’accusation est grave. Dans un pays de près de 200 millions d’habitants, composé à peu près pour moitié de chrétiens, on pourrait attendre une recherche sérieuse et approfondie.
Pressions économiques et écologiques
L’article, cependant, est un florilège d’approximations, de clichés et d’erreurs factuelles. Surtout, en inscrivant les événements du Nigeria dans un « choc des civilisations » global, en appelant à une solidarité mal informée, il peut contribuer à attiser les violences et à durcir encore les clivages.… Seguir leyendo »
The tussle between parents of a terminally ill child and a hospital that wants to withdraw life support is a heartbreakingly familiar one.
Tafida Raqeeb, a 5-year old girl whose blood vessels ruptured in her brain in February, is the latest in a line of well-known cases like Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans and Isaiah Haastrup. Unlike in these cases, Tafida's parents won a rare victory in early October: They were allowed to transfer her to a hospital in Italy that has agreed to keep her on life support because Tafida does not meet their criteria for switching it off (which is being diagnosed as brain dead, and Tafida has not been).… Seguir leyendo »