April 2011

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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  Letter for Terry Jones
Sri Murniati
Pastor Terry Jones, the leader of a small local church in the United States, oversaw the burning of the Qur’an on March 20 after the holy book of Islam was found “guilty of crimes against humanity” during a “trial” in the church and “executed.” The author, a Muslim, invites Pastor Jones and his followers to instead embrace dialogue about tolerance and pluralism that are inspired by the book they burned. [Read more]

 Looking beyond Terry Jones
Ann Gillespie
A Christian pastor in the United States adds her voice to those calling on Pastor Terry Jones and those like him who know little about Islam, but condemn it, to reflect on their rhetoric and actions and to see every person, in the words of Mother Teresa, as “Jesus in disguise.” [Read more]

 New Briefing Paper: Burma’s Constitution—Denying Ethnic Rights
Burma Campaign UK
With the leaders of the military government of Burma shedding their uniforms to give the public appearance of a civilian government through the Constitution of 2008, confusion has arisen in some quarters about what this “democratic transition” means for the people of the country. Through a recently published briefing paper, a leading organization in Europe promoting human rights and democracy in Burma tries to explain the impact the country’s new Constitution has on the lives of its ethnic communities. [Read more]

  EU Prolongs Sanctions on Burma
People in Need
In the aftermath of last year’s Nov. 7 elections in Burma that most observers have condemned as neither free nor fair, there has been speculation that governments that had imposed sanctions on the military government in the past would dilute or even end them. The European Union, however, recently decided against changing its policy for another year. [Read more]

  Ahmadis and Their Neighbors at the Grassroots Level
Didin Nurul Rosidin
The author notes that much of the argument and debate about the Ahmadiyyah in Indonesia is driven by political and religious elites in the country. Lost in the cacophony of their intolerant judgments, however, is the peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths living together every day in local communities. [Read more]

  Chinese Armed Police Cordon Off Ngaba’s Kirti Monastery, 2,500 Monks Face Food Shortage
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
The self-immolation of a Tibetan monk in March to mark the third anniversary of the uprising of Tibetans against Chinese rule in Tibet has resulted in a security crackdown against the monastery where he lived. [Read more]

  A Verdict on Organic vs. Chemical Agriculture
Anil Bhattarai
A general perception is that organically grown food, while more healthy and beneficial to the environment, cannot produce enough food to meet the ever increasing needs of the world’s population, thus requiring large-scale agriculture based on the use of chemicals. Three decades of research in the United States, however, highlighted in this article question this assumption. Moreover, the author explains the implication of these findings for livelihoods and food production in his country of Nepal. [Read more]