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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives: The First 1,000 Years

Religious thinkers, political leaders, lawmakers, writers, and philosophers have shaped the 1,400-year-long development of the world’s second-largest religion. But who were these people? What do we know of their lives and the ways in which they influenced their societies?

In Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives, the distinguished historian of Islam Chase F. Robinson draws on the long tradition in Muslim scholarship of commemorating in writing the biographies of notable figures, but he weaves these ambitious lives together to create a rich narrative of Islamic civilization, from the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century to the era of the world conquerer Timur and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in the fifteenth.

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Hear My Voice

The amplification of women’s voices has become an idee fixe of modern social media. Rightfully so. If anything has become clear since the 2016 presidential election and the recent #metoo exposure of rampant sexual assault, it’s the necessity and relevance of feminism in our society.

But for today’s fourth-wave feminists, an awareness and appreciation of the great forward leaps made by the second-wave feminists of the 1960s is imperative to maintain historical perspective and inform future action. Marcia R. Rudin’s historical novel, Hear My Voice, does just that.

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Reza Aslan’s God: A Human History

Reza Aslan’s God: A Human History is of that genre. But it is an unusual specimen. Engagingly written, likely to appeal to “seekers”, it contains an often fascinating potted history of religion, from primitive animism to the multi-faith world of today. While Aslan questions the truth of all monotheistic and polytheistic belief systems, he is not a dismissive atheist in the Richard Dawkins mould. Indeed, he has lambasted Dawkins as “a buffoon, embarrassing himself every day”.

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Interfaith Holiday Books for Kids



For inhabitants of the northern hemisphere, autumn features increasingly shorter days as we move inexorably toward the longest night of the year around December 21. Interestingly, many cultures and faith traditions have long-standing traditions and stories that lift up light during this time of relative darkness. For Neo-Pagans/Wiccans and other indigenous peoples, it’s Winter Solstice, for Jews, Hanukkah, for the ancient Romans, Saturnalia, for Christians, Christmas, and for African-Americans, Kwanzaa, just to name a few.

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