Connexions Resource Centre
Focus on Religion
Recent & Selected Articles
- This is a small sampling of articles related to education and children in the Connexions Online Library. For more articles, books, films, and other resources, check the Connexions Library Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- Pakistan's blasphemy laws The Supreme Court, Asia Bibi and the laws' historical background (November 26, 2018)
A description of a blasphemy case in Pakistan. Also includes a history of blasphemy laws going back to British India.
- Pakistan, hostage of the religious - The radical left in resistance (November 13, 2018)
Radical leftists strive amid fundamentalist hostility in Pakistan where blasphemy is a serious charge with its roots in colonial religious divisions.
- Blasphermy, Religious and Secular (October 28, 2018)
An essay on a European Court of Human Rights ruling and on changing forms of blasphemy law.
- Banned in Pakistan (July 20, 2018)
Pakistan's decision to censor 'blasphemous' websites provides a new perspective on the attitudes of many Western liberals towards Charlie Hebdo.
- Ex-Muslims: A community in protest (July 3, 2018)
I see ex-Muslims as a community in protest: insisting on freedom from religion, and freedom of conscience. For the right to apostasy and blasphemy, without fear. Like the LGBT, anti-slavery, anti-colonialist, anti-apartheid, suffragette or civil rights movements, its a movement which insists upon our common humanity and equality not upon difference or superiority. Its a movement of people who refuse to live in fear and in the shadows, and who are speaking out for social change in unprecedented ways.
- Suspect in Lahore blasphemy case fighting for his life (March 3, 2018)
A Christian resident of Lahore says he attempted suicide as interrogators forced him to perform oral sex on cousin.
- Suspect in Lahore blasphemy case fighting for his life (March 3, 2018)
Christians and other minorities, who make up about two percent of Pakistan's 207 million population, are disproportionately targeted by blasphemy laws, which prescribe a mandatory death penalty for anyone found guilty of "defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad". There is increasing violence associated with the laws, with at least 74 people killed in attacks motivated by blasphemy accusations since 1990.
- Rethinking the challenge of anti-Muslim bigotry (November 15, 2017)
In 1997 the British anti-racist organisation the Runnymede Trust published its highly influential report Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All. Twenty years on, the Runnymede Trust has brought out a follow-up report Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All, which is a stock-take on current views, and facts, about the issue.
- The Spirit of Late Capitalism (October 5, 2017)
A look at Pentecostalism, one of the world's fastest growing religious movements, which preaches a seductive message to the marginalized: that religious prayer, not political action, is a solution to their earthly woes.
- Evictions, trials as Russian Church claims property (September 7, 2017)
With the resurgence of a Kremlin-endorsed monastery, islanders on Valaam have endured trials, evictions and arson.
- Marxism, the Arab Spring, and Islamic fundamentalism (September 1, 2017)
While Islamic fundamentalists are united by a reactionary worldview, the movements are not the same and must be approached differently. The Left must stake out an independent view based on democracy, social justice, equality, and liberation and freedom from oppression.
- The Making of the Muslim World (June 12, 2017)
Review of Christopher de Bellaigue's 'The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason', Cemil Aydin's 'The Idea of the Muslim World: A Global Intellectual History' and Tariq Ramadan's 'Islam: The Essentials'.
- London Terror Attack: It's Time to Confront Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia (June 6, 2017)
In the UK people are dealing with the aftermath of yet another terrorist attack in which innocent civilians were butchered and injured, this time in London. It is time for an honest conversation about Wahhabism, specifically the part this Saudi-sponsored ideology plays in radicalizing young Muslims both across the Arab and Muslim world and in the West.
- The Rise and Fall of Liberation Theology in Latin America (April 25, 2016)
Liberation Theology in Latin America has been an integral part of progressive movements. The Vatican, with the support and guidance from the United States, has sabotaged Liberation Theology in Latin America. Their aim has been to maintain the status quo and stop the progressive forces from taking control.
- Why I had to face down the bullies trying to silence my supposedly 'offensive' stance on Islam (January 12, 2016)
This week marked the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. The atrocity was a brutal attack not just on human life but also on the principle of free speech, one of the pillars of human civilisation. In the aftermath of the killings, people across the world united to express their support for that essential liberty.
- The spread of Wahhabism, and the West's responsibility to the world (November 26, 2015)
In 2013, the European Union declared Wahhabism the main source of global terrorism. But it's not just a "Middle East problem"; it is our problem, too.
- Bangladesh and the shrinking space for free thinkers: 'Don't call me Muslim, I am an atheist' (March 21, 2015)
Writer Taslima Nasreen fled Bangladesh in 1994 when extremists threatened to kill her for criticizing Islam, and has been living in exile since. Her country has, in recent times, seen many intellectuals expelled or killed. In this interview, she speaks about the shrinking space for free thinkers in Bangladesh and says that Islam cannot be exempt from the critical scrutiny that other religions undergo.
- The Right-Wing Doesn't Want to Talk About Christian Atrocities, So Let's Talk About Christian Atrocities (February 7, 2015)
History is full of atrocities committed by Christians for Christ, against not just other religions but against Christians themselves.
- Defying Fundamentalism (March 1, 2014)
To some people Islam has come to represent the ideology of liberation from the yoke of Western imperialism; to others it is a backward and inherently violent faith targeting innocent individuals indiscriminately.
- The Saints Go Marching Out as the Face of Islam Hardens in Pakistan (January 15, 2014)
The Sufi-influenced tradition of Barelvism, with its shrines, music and meditation, is reeling under an ideological assault from severe, Saudi-funded Wahhabism, religious leaders warn.
- Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism, by Karima Bennoune (Book Review) (November 21, 2013)
Karima Bennoune, a US-based law scholar raised in Algeria, has written an account of the stories of numerous people whose lives have been scarred by Islamic fundamentalism and who decided, using a variety of means, to put up a fight.
- When Does Criticism of Islam become Islamophobia? (November 14, 2013)
Basic points that undergird about the relationship between criticism, Islam and Islamophobia. We should stop being so obsessed by the distinction between legitimate criticism and Islamophobia, and start thinking about how an obsession with both Islam and Islamophobia distorts our culture and our debates.
- On Buddhist Fundamentalism (May 3, 2013)
Four years after the brutal assault on the Tamil population and the killing of between 810,000 Tamils by the Sri Lankan army, there is trouble again. The saffron-robed fanatics, led by the BBS Bodu Bala Sena: the most active and pernicious of Buddhist fundamentalist groups that have sprouted in Sinhala strongholds throughout the island are on the rampage again.
- US Still Fighting "Threat" of Liberation Theology (March 5, 2013)
The assault on the Church in Colombia is both state policy of Colombia as well as the United States which is propping up that military with billions of dollars of assistance, and which views organized movements for social justice in Latin America as a threat to its economic domination of the region.
- Blasphemy: Information Sacrificed on the Altar of Religion (2013)
There are far too many countries where news and content providers constantly face a very special and formidable form of censorship, one exercised in the name of religion or even God. And with increasing frequency, this desire to thwart freedom of information invokes the hard-to-define and very subjective concept of the feelings of believers.
This is a minefield. Reporters Without Borders has analysed it and offered its recommendations in a report entitled Information sacrificed on altar of religion.
- Why Opposing Islamophobia is not a Defense of Extremism (October 3, 2012)
Recent events have generated a lot of debate about Islam, Muslims, free speech and Islamophobia. Unfortunately, much of that debate has fallen back upon rather tired arguments about not only what "Muslims are like" but also how those who oppose Islamophobia are somehow defending repression or appeasing extremists.
- Here We Go Again (September 14, 2012)
One thing should be clear. The violence across the Muslim world in response to an American anti-Islamic film has nothing to do with that film. Yes, The Inocence of Muslims is a risibly crude diatribe against Islam, but the violence is being driven less by religious fury than by political calculation. In Libya, Egypt and elsewhere, the crisis is being fostered by hardline Islamists in an attempt to seize the political initiative in a period of transition and turmoil. The film is almost incidental to this process. The real struggle is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, but between different shades of Islamists, between hardline factions and more mainstream ones.
- Can You Pass The US Christian Right Quiz? (February 28, 2012)
An understanding of the Christian Right, a loose coalition of politically conservative congregations and organizations, is critical to understanding the US. This quiz seeks to explore the political influence of the Christian Right, and to highlight the threat its radical fundamentalists pose to the majority of Americans who value pluralism and tolerance.
- Connexions Archive Case Statement (September 24, 2011)
Working together to secure a future for the past
- Politics and the Prayer Warriors (September 14, 2011)
Dominionism is a totalitarian movement within Christian evangelicalism that aims at taking over the centers of powerlaw, culture, government and the likeand establishing a dictatorship. Once having gotten power, Christian Dominionists would then impose their religious practices on the rest of America.
- US and Colombia Escalate Attacks on Liberation Church (September 14, 2011)
The war on liberation theology.
- Murfreesboro vs. Islamophobia (January 1, 2011)
When the Muslim community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee sought a permit to build an expanded Islamic Center, local bigots saw an opportunity to exploit the same "moral panic," invented by the Tea Party, the Christian Right and much of the corporate media, that would also emerge in New York around the so-called "Ground Zero mosque."
- Revered Rabbi Preaches Slaughter Of Gentile Babies (August 2, 2010)
Rabbis who are among the leading idelogues of the growing fascist movement in Israel say that violence against non-Jews, including the killing of babies, is justied by religious law. According to Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, Jewish law permits the killing of non-Jews in a wide variety of circumstances. In a recent boo, they say "There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us".
- Sharia Law in Britain -- A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights (June 17, 2010)
One Law for All says that Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are in violation of UK law, public policy and human rights.
- Pedophiles and Popes: Doing the Vatican Shuffle (May 11, 2010)
Church leaders seem to forget that pedophilia is a felony crime and that, as citizens of a secular state, priests are subject to its laws just like the rest of us. Clerical authorities repeatedly have made themselves accessories to the crime, playing an active role in obstructing justice, arguing that criminal investigations of 'church affairs' violates the free practice of religion - as if raping little children were a holy sacrament.
- How Canada's Christian right was built (May 7, 2010)
The religous right is organizing hard, and effectively, to get their hands on the levers of power.
- How to Become a Real Muslim (April 18, 2010)
When I was growing up in the 1980s the concept of a radical in a Muslim context meant someone who was a militant secularist, someone who challenged not just racism but the power of the mosques too. Someone like me. Today, of course, it means almost the opposite, a radical is a religious fundamentalist.
- Taking on the Religious Right (March 24, 2010)
Michael Parenti confronts the dangers of religious fundamentalism.
- The Myth of Muslim Conquest (January 13, 2010)
It's easy to mistake the high visibility of Islam in the West for a massive return to piety in Muslim communities. But for the last 20 years religious observance has stagnated, even slightly waned.
- Just say no to Sharia law (November 19, 2009)
Let us support the courageous Muslims who, often at great personal risk, are campaigning against religious extremism.
- Connexions Archive seeks a new home (November 18, 2009)
The Connexions Archive, a Toronto-based library dedicated to preserving the history of grassroots movements for social change, needs a new home.
- Rabbis Take on Settlers (October 21, 2009)
Away from the media spotlight that focuses on the widening chasm between Israelis and Palestinians, a group of Israeli humanists is quietly working to break down barriers with their Palestinian neighbours.
- How not to understand Islamist politics (October 17, 2009)
- Which side are you on? (October 17, 2009)
The women's question has haunted the Islamic regime from the start. The Islamic Republic has been in continuous conflict with the women's liberation movement, which has grown considerably in the past decade in opposition to the misogyny and gender apartheid of the Islamists. Despite brutal assaults on this movement, the regime has not succeeded in silencing it.
- How Islamist gangs use internet to track, torture and kill Iraqi gays (September 13, 2009)
Iraqi militias infiltrate internet gay chatrooms to hunt their quarry and hundreds are feared to be victims.
- On Islam And Gender Equality (August 18, 2009)
A review essay on Salbiah Ahmad's book Critical Thoughts on Islam, Rights and Freedom in Malaysia.
- 'Take me to your leader' (April 23, 2009)
- The Difference Between Judaism and Zionism (2009)
Argues that "Judaism and Zionism are by no means the same. Indeed they are incompatible and irreconcilable: If one is a good Jew, one cannot be a Zionist; if one is a Zionist, one cannot be a good Jew."
- Say It Loud, Say It Proud: There is No God (2009)
- Why make a fuss about the murder of a brown-skinned Muslim girl? (December 16, 2008)
History gives us numerous examples of social movements which come, over time, to adopt positions directly opposed to the principles on which they were founded. It appears this has happened to the 'feminists' who seek to silence those who speak out about violence against Muslim women.
- The OIC does not speak for Muslims (September 17, 2008)
Tarek Fatah says that "To suggest that any criticism of Islamism, the political ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Ayatollahs, is anti-Islamic is a bogus and fraudulent position. I would contend that my religion Islam demands that I stand up to these bullies and take away from their right to put padlocks on poetry and chastity belts on independent thinking."
- The 'Honor' Killing of Aqsa Parvez (2008)
Feminists and reformist left have for the most part met the spate of 'honour' killings within Canada with disgraceful silence.
- The Veil and Violence against Women in Islamist Societies (August 2, 2007)
The ongoing battle between the Islamic authorities and women over the veil clearly reveals why it has become a symbol like no other of the violence women face under Islam and why 'improper' or 'bad' veiling and unveiling have become a symbol of resistance to Islam in power and its violence against women. It is for this very reason that the slogan 'neither veil nor submission' has become a rallying cry ever since the regime imposed compulsory veiling on women after expropriating and crushing the revolution to consolidate its rule.
- The Theology of Respect (September 22, 2006)
What the new theology demands is, in fact, not respect but obedience. 'You will only say or do what we think is acceptable' has become the credo of the multiculturalist censor. It is an attitude that turns the notion of respect on its head.
- Manifesto of the Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism (August 16, 2006)
The human and genuine solution to the problem of nuclear weapons, to Islamic terrorism and its horrific crimes against the people of the world, and to the militaristic bullying of the US and Western governments lies in the hands of us people.
- Sharia "Socialists" (January 6, 2006)
It is mind-boggling that self-styled leftists would champion a campaign by the most reactionary, anti-woman forces in the Muslim community to have their religious law backed by the authority of the capitalist state.
- The Perils of Faith-Based Multiculturalism (January 1, 2006)
Conservative religious leaders have become more vocal and demanding, and governments are giving in to their demands without much regard for the serious consequences for democracy and citizens rights.
- Born in Bradford (2005)
Multiculturalism transformed the character of antiracism. By the mid-1980s the focus of antiracist protest in Bradford had shifted from political issues, such as policing and immigration, to religious and cultural issues: a demand for Muslim schools and for separate education for girls, a campaign for halal meat to be served at school, and, most explosively, the confrontation over the publication of The Satanic Verses. Political struggles unite across ethnic or cultural divisions; cultural struggles inevitably fragment.
- The Islamophobia Myth (2005)
Pretending that Muslims have never had it so bad might bolster community leaders and gain votes for politicians, but it does the rest of us, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, no favours at all. The more that the threat of Islamophobia is exaggerated, the more that ordinary Muslims come to accept that theirs is a community under constant attack. It helps create a siege mentality, stoking up anger and resentment, and making Muslim communities more inward looking and more open to religious extremism.
- Hundreds of Proofs of God's Existence (2004)
From the Atheists of Silicon Valley Humor Page.
- Religion, The Golden Rule, and Revolution (2004)
Why is it that all of the world's great religions, though disagreeing greatly about theology, nonetheless concur on the Golden Rule? The explanation must be that there is something common to all human beings that is captured by the Golden Rule and reflected in all of these religions.
- Women Enslaved by Islamic Reaction (April 13, 2001)
There is nothing progressive or "anti-imperialist" about being shrouded in the veil. Nor is it, as some liberals would maintain, a quaint cultural attribute. You wouldn't think you would have to be a communist to see that wrapping a woman in a veil and secluding her in the home is a hideous oppression crying out to be wiped from the face of the earth. The veil is a physical symbol of the submission of women to men and the imposed affirmation of their inferior status.
- Religion is Part of the 'Lumpenism' in Society (June 13, 1999)
Liberation theology is the name for Christian priets who are prepared to say something against Latin American dictators. This is what they call liberation theology, but by definition no theology is liberating. Theology is the antithesis of liberation. It signifies keeping people ignorant, obstructing their independent thought and consigning them to an unknown creator and world. Liberation theology is nonsense.
- Iran will be the Scene of a Mass Anti-Islamic Offensive (1999)
We have seen in the last 20-25 years the emergence and considerable development of political movements that have organised themselves under the banner of Islam. There are a series of extremely Right-wing, anti-human and violent movements in North Africa, the Middle East and today, in all countries in which the so-called official religion is Islam or which have significant Muslim minorities. Their conduct is primarily in the form of opposition to the freedom of women, women's civil liberties, freedom of expression in the cultural and personal domains and the enforcement of brutal laws and traditions against people, and even killing, beheading, and genocide of people from young children to the elderly.
- Islam and De-Islamisation (1999)
- Islam, Children's Rights, and the Hijab-gate of Rah-e-Kargar (1997)
It has been proved time and time again that pushing back religiosity and religious reaction is not possible except through unequivocal defence of human values against religion. It has been proved time and time again that preventing religious barbarism does not come about through bribing it and trying to give it a human face, but through the fight against reactionary religious beliefs and practices.
- 1992 The Theology of Self-Discovery Offers Hope (1990)
The Self-Discovery campaign does not confine itself to the struggles of Indigenous People but addresses the concerns of all social and racial groups who have experienced social/cultural destruction under the yoke of colonialism.
- The Fusion of Anabaptist, Indian and African as the American Radical Tradition (1987)
The native American radical tradition, originating ultimately in the radical religious currents who "lost" at the very dawn of capitalism, and their meeting with the non-Western peoples--Indian and African--who shaped early American culture as much as white people, might have something very unique to contribute to the current and still completely unresolved crisis of the international revolutionary left.
Selected Websites and Organizations
- This is a small sampling of organizations and websites concerned with education and children in the Connexions Directory. For more organizations and websites, check the Connexions Directory Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- Maryam Namazie
Maryam Namazie is a rights activist, and commentator and broadcaster on Iran, rights, cultural relativism, secularism, religion, political Islam and other related topics.
Other Links & Resources
Books, Films and Periodicals
- This is a small sampling of books related to education and children in the
Connexions Online Library. For more books and other resources, check the Connexions Library
Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- American Taliban
How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right
Author: Moulitsas, Markos
America's main international enemy- Islamic radicalism - favors theocracy, curtails civil liberties, embraces torture, represses women, reviles homosexuality, subverts science and education, and reveres force over diplomacy. Markos Moulitsas shows how the American right shares those very same traits. He argues that our domestic jihadists are a greater threat to American democracy than any Islamic terrorist.
- Chasing a Mirage
The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State
Author: Fatah, Tarek
According to Tarek Fatah, "Morality is doing what is right, regardless what we are told; Religious dogma is doing what we are told, no matter what is right." Fatah argues that since Islam's advent, there have been two parallel strains of the religion that are in clash. The first "state of Islam" is a person's moral compass; the way Islam governs an individual's personal life. By contrast, the yearning for "an Islamic state" has been bloody and fruitless.
- The Empire God Built
Inside Pat Robertson's media machine
Author: Foege, Alec
A profile of the demagogue who become one of the most successful media moguls in the world.
- 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists
Author: Blackford, Russell; Schuklenk, Udo (eds.)
A collection of essays from international figures in fields of academia, science, literature, media and politics who explain why they are atheists.
The Persecution of Christians in Today's Middle East
Author: Williams, Daniel
Across the Middle East, Christian communities today find themselves the victims of widening repression: massacres, expulsions, and brutally enforced restrictions on the right to worship have all become commonplace. Such persecution has now reached the point where, in the region that was once its birthplace, Christianity's very existence is under threat.
- Foundations of Christianity
Author: Kautsky, Karl
I have proceeded to describe the roots of primitive Christianity without intending either to extol or stigmatize it, but merely to understand it.
- From Fatwa to Jihad
The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy
Author: Malik, Kenan
Tells the story both of the Rushdie affair and of its transformative impact on cultural and political landscape of the West. The book explores the issues that the Rushide affair raised. in particular the questions of muliculturalism, radical Islam and free speech, and shows how in responding to these issues Western liberals have betrayed the fundamental beliefs of liberalism.
- God and His Demons
Author: Parenti, Michael
Parenti examines the dark side of religion, the many evils committed in the name of godly virtue throughout history. This is not a blanket condemnation of all believers. The focus is on the threat posed by fundamentalists and theocratic reactionaries.
- In the name of GOD The abuses of religion
New Internationalist August 2004
Discusses the relationship between religion. The role of religion within political issues.
- Islam Resistance and reform
New Internationalist May 2002
A look into the world of Islamic faith. Discussion of current issues and a look at key moments of Islamic civilazation.
- The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam
Author: David, Merrly Wn; Sardar, Zia
- Radical Jesus: A Graphic History of Faith
Author: Buhle, Paul; Jones, Sabrina; Dumm, Gary; Thorkelson, Nick
Radical Jesus is arguably the first modern effort to convey through comic art the meaning of Jesus and his social message, not just in his own time, but also in the Radical Reformation, recent centuries, and in our own time.
- Spiritual Warfare
The Politics of the Christion Right
Author: Diamond, Sara
Sara Diamond ponders the threat the Christian Right poses to our society, the damage already done, and the extent of this evangelical religion's enduring political clout.
Learning from our History
Resources for Activists
The Connexions Calendar - An event calendar for activists. Submit your events for free here.
Media Names & Numbers - A comprehensive directory of Canada’s print and broadcast media. .
Sources - A membership-based service that enables journalists to find spokespersons and story ideas, and which simultaneously enables organizations to raise their profile by reaching the media and the public with their message.
Organizing Resources Page - Change requires organizing. Power gives way only when it is challenged by a movement for change, and movements grow out of organizing. Organizing is qualitatively different from simple “activism”. Organizing means sustained long-term conscious effort to bring people together to work for common goals. This page features a selection of articles, books, and other resources related to organizing.
Publicity and Media Relations - A short introduction to media relations strategies.
Grassroots Media Relations - A media relations guide for activist groups.
Socialism Gateway - A gateway to resources about socialism, socialist history, and socialist ideas.
Marxism Gateway - A gateway to resources about Marxism.
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