Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Islam used as soft power by Turkish government in Europe

Not a few Muslims in France see Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the model of a modern Islamic leader, and such feelings accord with Turkish efforts for influence across the Muslim world, writes Ariane Bonzon in the Revue des Deux Mondes (November). Particularly among young, non-Turkish Muslims in France, Erdoğan is frequently considered a

Mindfulness expands and challenges Buddhists in Japan

Mindfulness meditation is returning to its origins in Japan, though the more secular style it has assumed in the West is proving difficult to integrate with Buddhism in that country, reports Karen Jensen in Tricycle magazine (Winter). In 2017 at least three major Japanese news magazines ran cover stories praising the benefits of mindfulness meditation

Findings & Footnotes

◼ We almost neglected to mention that this issue marks the thirty-fifth year of publishing Religion Watch. Some things do get better with age, and we hope RW is among them. We thank readers for their support and interest in this newsletter over the years. Our gratitude also goes out to the Institute for Studies […]

On/File: A Continuing Record of People, Groups, Movements, and Events Impacting Contemporary Religion

The Aumists at the Holy City of Mandarom Shambhasalem, a French syncretistic Hindu-Buddhist movement, is facing new legal problems and restrictions. Founded in 1969 by Guru Hamsah Manarah, who is venerated as a salvation figure, the group had received a favorable decision in the European Court of Human Rights in 2013 recognizing its status as

Ecumenical exorcism on the rise

Exorcism has been growing in Catholic and Protestant corners for some time, but the perception of high demand for the practice among church leaders of both traditions is leading to greater cooperation and consultation, reports Griffin Paul Jackson in Christianity Today magazine (October). According to Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University, “Pope Francis and many […]

Ethnic Lutheran congregations feel pressure under new drive for diversity

While German-speaking Lutheran congregations in America have long been agents for preserving a specific tradition, pressures for change are creating new dilemmas, writes Thorsten Wettich (University of Bremen, Germany) in the monthly Protestant journal Materialdienst der EZW (October). A researcher specializing in the study of German-speaking Lutheran congregations abroad, Wettich’s observations are based especially on […]


⚫ According to a study of congregational ties by Jennifer McClure of Samford University, African-American congregations have the strongest social networks while older clergy in general have weaker ties. McClure, who presented a paper at the recent meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in St. Louis, studied ties between 438 congregations […]

New attention paid to training imams for the integration of European Muslims

Muslim imams are viewed in Europe with a mixture of fears about radical preachers and hopes that they might provide crucial help in the integration of Muslims, concerns which are drawing new attention to how they should be trained in the context of Western societies. As Hansjörg Schmid and Noemi Trucco (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) […]

African way of Orthodoxy emerging?

With dioceses covering the African continent, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria is increasingly ministering outside of Egypt, primarily to people with African roots who have felt attracted to the Orthodox faith and may come to add a new dimension to the church, writes Ciprian Burlacioiu (Ludwig-Maximilians University) in Religion & Gesellschaft in Ost und […]

Myanmar’s Buddhism provides legitimacy to nationalist agenda

Hybridizing indigenous and Western concepts, contemporary Burmese nationalist ideology presents the Buddha as a patriot and conceptualizes the nation from a Buddhist framework, writes Niklas Foxeus (Stockholm University) in the journal Religion (October). Following clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012, Buddhist nationalist and anti-Islamic movements, led by monks, appeared in Myanmar, and the unrestricted […]