Review: Embracing Auschwitz

Book Cover: Embracing AuschwitzI have a cynical friend who claims that there have been more books written about the Holocaust than there were people who perished in it. That is, no doubt, an exaggeration, but it is true that most of the books on this subject sound very much alike. Joshua Hammerman’s Embracing Auschwitz (Ben Yehuda Press) deserves our attention because it is by far the most original book on this subject that has come along in a great many years.

Read more

The Lost Art of Scripture

Book Cover: The Lost Art of ScriptureIn our increasingly secular world, holy texts are at best seen as irrelevant, and at worst as an excuse to incite violence, hatred and division. So what value, if any, can scripture hold for us today? And if our world no longer seems compatible with scripture, is it perhaps because its original purpose has become lost? Read with Karen Armstrong as she explores the value of scripture in an increasingly secularised world and ponders whether we’ve lost our ability to engage with faith texts as spiritual tools rather than binding rules.

Read more

Book Review – What is a Madrasa

Book Cover - What is a MadrasaThe prospects for peace in Afghanistan, dialogue between Washington and Tehran, the UN’s bid to stabilise nuclear-armed Pakistan, understanding the largest Muslim minority in the world’s largest democracy in India, or the largest Muslim population in the world in Indonesia – all require some knowledge of the traditional religious sectors in these countries and of what connection traditional religious schooling has (or not) to their geopolitical situations. Here, Adis Dujerija of Griffith University, Queensland, writes one book review.

Read more

My faith is my inner sanctum – not your body politic

Prof. Azza KaramWorking with religion and religious actors of various hues and shapes is meant to be a humbling experience. At best, an opportunity to learn how those entities and bodies which have long predated secular establishments, served countless people, and continue to do so. At worst, it is meant to be a means of questioning assumptions about all worldviews, and the actions taken based on them.

Read more

Declaration of Principles for the International Religious Freedom Alliance

US Department of State

The Alliance is a network of likeminded countries fully committed to advancing freedom of religion or belief around the world. (Religions for Peace International is a foundation member of the Alliance, hence, Religions for Peace Australia are also members of the Alliance.)

The Alliance is predicated on the idea more must be done to protect members of religious minority groups and combat discrimination and persecution based on religion or belief. The Alliance intends to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all, which includes the right of individuals to hold any belief or none, to change religion or belief and to manifest religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, in worship, observance, practice and teaching. The Alliance is intended to bring together senior government representatives to discuss actions their nations can take together to promote respect for freedom of religion or belief and protect members of religious minority groups worldwide. Alliance members should be committed to the following principles and commitments and be willing to publicly and privately object to abuses, wherever they might occur.

Read more

Book Review: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know

The title of Professor Dov Waxman’s new book, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know, hides an important tension that gets explained in the course of reading this book, which addresses a most complex and confusing topic.

The conflict is not unitary. The make-up of the two sides has changed over time. From 1948-1972, it was known as the “Arab-Israeli” conflict. It involved the entire region and was not solely focused on the Palestinian question; the surrounding Arab states had territorial goals as well.

Read more

Buddhism without Beliefs

Book Cover: Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to AwakeningAt interfaith gatherings Buddhists are wheeled out to present their views on everything from nuclear weapons to the ordination of women and then scheduled to drone Tibetan chants at the evening slot for collective worship. This transformation of Buddhism into a religion obscures and distorts the encounter of the dharma with contemporary agnostic culture. The dharma in fact might well have more in common with Godless secularism than with the bastions of religion.

Read more

From Victims to Suspects: Muslim Women Since 9/11

Book Cover, from Victims to Suspects - Muslim Women after 9/11The so-called War on Terror, in its many incarnations, has always been a war with gender at its heart. Once regarded as helpless victims waiting to be rescued, Muslim women are now widely regarded by both Muslim and non-Muslim disciplinarians as a potential threat to be kept under control. How did this shift in attitudes come about? Read about the conversations with Australian women the author has undertaken.

Read more

Review: The Majestic Qur’an: A Plain English Translation

I have, over the decades, read countless English translations of the Qur’an by many notable scholars, all of whom endeavoured to bring forth the meaning of the Qur’an in comprehensible English. The Majestic Qur’an: A Plain English Translation is translated by Dr Musharraf Hussain, a British Pakistani scholar with over 40 years expertise in Urdu translation of the Qur’an.

Read more

Buddhism: Kyoto Manifesto for Global Economics

This Kyoto Manifesto for Global Economics will take you to understand how the interdisciplinary approach of economy, community and spirituality will build a better and virtuous world. This book covers the new definition of an economy to make it sustainable for humanity, community and spirituality that is ever needed in this century.

Read more

The Science of Early Buddhism

The first volume of Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, a new series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Thupten Jinpa, is both a revelation and a precious resource on these civilizations that coinvented the scientific spirit. The editors define science as a form of knowledge of nature and its laws, based on empirical observations and striving to reach intersubjective agreement by shared rational principles.

Read more

Buddhism beyond Gender

Buddhism beyond Gender articulates Gross’s objectives as a Buddhist teacher and also more sharply and directly issues a call that will be controversial, particularly among feminists coming of age in this generation, to realize that clinging to gender identity subverts enlightenment. An early pioneer of feminist scholarship, Gross navigated hostile terrain as a graduate student at the University of Chicago in the 1970s, where she was shunned by “serious scholars” for writing her dissertation on women’s studies in religion.

Read more