Religion

A worshipper waves the flag of China as Pope Francis leaves following the weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on June 12, 2019.

China Is Already Breaking Its Vatican Deal

Ordinary Catholics deserve to know the details of the arrangement.

A promotional photo from the Turkish TV show Dirilis: Ertugrul.

How Turkey’s Soft Power Conquered Pakistan

The TV drama “Ertugrul” reveals how neo-Ottoman fantasies are finding an enthusiastic audience in a country that struggles with Saudi and Western influence.

Lee Man-hee, the leader of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus

South Korea’s COVID-19 Church Scapegoat Is Fighting Back

As mainstream denominations see their own outbreaks, Shincheonji members say they were unfairly targeted.

Evening Prayers Al-Azhar

All the Dictator’s Sheikhs

How Sisi co-opted Egypt’s religious institutions for political gain.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at a rally for the upcoming state elections in New Delhi on Feb. 3.

Modi’s Slide Toward Autocracy

Using Hindutva ideology, India’s leader is restyling the country as one with only the trappings of democracy.

A police van patrols in front of Hagia Sophia during a two-day lockdown imposed prevent the spread of COVID-19 on April 11,  in Istanbul, Turkey.

Erdogan Should Not Erase Turkey’s Christian Past

The Turkish president wants to turn Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. Destroying its dual Orthodox-Islamic heritage would be a blow to religious pluralism and tolerance.

Palestinian and Arab- Israeli men practice social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as they pray in a parking lot near the beach in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, after breaking their fast on the second day of Ramadan, on April 25.

Religious Leaders Must Not Be Tempted to Jump on the Reopening Bandwagon

After months of lockdown, believers of all faiths are clamoring for houses of worship to fully open their doors to group prayer. Doing it too soon could be disastrous.

Scarecrows known as ting mong stand guard in front of homes in Takeo, Kandal, and Kampong Speu provinces in Cambodia to ward off the coronavirus in May.

In Cambodia, a Spiritual Army Battles an Earthly Pandemic

With little faith in the government’s coronavirus response, many rural Cambodians are turning to the divine.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a Bible outside St John's Church across from Lafayette Park in Washington on June 1.

Autocrats Love Using the Bible as a Prop. Americans Shouldn’t.

As he posed on a church step, Trump’s false idols were on full display.

Muslims buy food before breaking their Ramadan fast in Quetta, Pakistan, on May 12, 2019.

To Fast or Not to Fast—That Is the Coronavirus Question for Ramadan

With Ramadan services sharply curtailed due to the pandemic, many Muslims are wondering if the required fasting might also pose a health risk.

An Orthodox believer with a protective mask attends a religious service at an Orthodox church in Skopje, North Macedonia, on April 16.

North Macedonia’s Orthodox Church Could Become a Coronavirus Super-Spreader

Despite an otherwise strict nationwide lockdown, the government’s politically motivated decision to allow Orthodox Christians to take communion from shared spoons could unleash a major COVID-19 outbreak.

Pope Francis prays in front of a crucifix that in 1552 was carried in a procession around Rome to stop the Great Plague, at the San Marcello al Corso church in Rome on March 15.

Thou Shalt Practice Social Distancing

The world’s major faiths face a test, and some religious leaders are failing by endangering human lives in the name of adhering to tradition—and ushering in a new age of secularism in the process.

A Muslim man walks inside a burned house in a riot-affected area in New Delhi on March 1, 2020, after violence broke out in India's capital.

In Delhi, First Came the Pogroms. Then Came Coronavirus.

For Indian Muslims forced from their homes by mob violence, not even displaced persons camps can protect them now.

A municipal employee sprays disinfectant in St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy

Christianity Has Been Handling Epidemics for 2000 Years

Practical theology says care, sacrifice, and community are as vital as ever.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks over his glasses as he and Education Minister Gidon Saar chat at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting October 18, 2009 in Jerusalem.

Bibi Is No Houdini

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a political magician who has run out of tricks—and his stubbornness is stopping the Israeli right from winning convincingly and governing the country.

Indian National Congress workers shout slogans against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest in Amritsar on Feb. 26.

India’s Illiberal Turn Won’t Shake Its Relationship With the United States

Mobs roamed New Delhi’s streets as Trump and Modi talked, but the partnership remains robust.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets police officers during a visit to Mulhouse, in eastern France, on Feb. 18.

Emmanuel Macron’s War on Islamism Is Europe’s Future

The French president’s recent speech is a sign that moderate leaders are waking up to the threat posed by political Islam.

Shiite Muslim pilgrims walk in front of posters of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the spiritual leader of the Shiite community Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement Hasan Nasrallah during their procession from the holy Iraqi city of Najaf to the central shrine city of Karbala on Oct. 12, 2019.

Washington Doesn’t Understand Shiite Clerics in Iran or Iraq

U.S. officials who praise Iraqi Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani while denouncing Iran’s supreme leader fail to grasp that the two clerical leaders have a shared interest in resisting outside threats.

Women look on as they stand on a roadside during a demonstration near the Jamia Millia Islamia university, that has been blocked off by demonstrators against India's new citizenship law, in New Delhi, India, on Jan. 24, 2020.

India’s Muslims Are Fighting for Their Religion. Should They Display It, Too?

As secular Indians protest a controversial new citizenship law, some debate whether they should demonstrate as Muslims first or as Indians who happen to be Muslim.

Pro-nationalist university students shout during a protest against the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers during a demonstration in Ankara on July 21, 2016.

Erdogan’s Purges Have Replaced One Islamic Sect With Another

Turkey expelled alleged sympathizers of Fethullah Gulen from government jobs after the 2016 coup attempt. Other Islamic sects, and one in particular—the Menzil—are now filling the vacuum.