Afro-Cuban drums, Muslim prayers, Buddhist mantras: Religious diversity blooms in once-atheist Cuba

By Luis Andres Henao — May 17, 2024
HAVANA (AP) — Today, diverse beliefs can be found mixed together on altars in homes, with the Virgin Mary sharing space with a ceramic Buddha and a warrior spirit from the Afro-Cuban faith.
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A Palestinian converted to Judaism. An Israeli soldier saw him as a threat and opened fire

By Jack Jeffery — May 16, 2024
JERUSALEM (AP) — In his final moments, David Ben-Avraham was once again viewed as a Palestinian who was in the wrong place, at a time of widespread anger and suspicion.

Playwright Tom Block aims to tell ‘two equally righteous narratives’ of Israel, Palestine

By Ambar Castillo — May 16, 2024
Queens, NEW YORK (RNS) — In 'Oud Player on the Tel,' playwright Tom Block, who is Jewish and identifies with Islamic mysticism, envisions a friendship between two displaced people in 1947.

What the dead teach us about life: A view from Islam’s last rites

By Zeyneb Sayılgan — May 15, 2024
(RNS) — ‘I wanted to confront death,’ a mother says after a profound loss. ‘Now it shows up with regularity.’

India’s parliament has fewer Muslims as strength of Modi’s party grows

By Sheikh Saaliq and Krutika Pathi — May 15, 2024
MALAPPURAM, India (AP) — Ever since the BJP began its rise as a political force in the mid-1980s, the proportion of Muslim lawmakers in parliament and state legislatures has shrunk.

Thousands replaster Mali’s Great Mosque of Djenne, which is threatened by conflict

By Associated Press — May 13, 2024
DJENNE, Mali (AP) — Djenne’s mosque requires a new layer of mud each year before the start of the rainy season in June, or the building will fall into disrepair.

After Hagia Sophia, Turkey converts a second ancient Byzantine church into a mosque

By David I. Klein — May 10, 2024
ISTANBUL (RNS) — Muslim worshippers at the mosque on Friday said they viewed Chora Church's rededication as an Islamic site to be a national win for Turkey.

Amid surge of campus protests, chaplains find reason for hope in their students

By Elizabeth E. Evans — May 10, 2024
(RNS) — The chaplains at Ivy League and other top schools say the students have learned about the concerns of other faiths, while finding ways to express their own.

Union Theological Seminary votes to divest from companies profiting from Gaza war

By Fiona Murphy — May 9, 2024
NEW YORK (RNS) — Union, a private, ecumenical school that serves as Columbia University’s faculty of theology but maintains a separate endowment, is the first U.S. institute of higher education known to divest from the war in Gaza.

Harvard religion professor Diana Eck on pluralism’s changes, challenges

By Adelle M. Banks — May 9, 2024
(RNS) — ‘I still think of myself as Christian, in the sense that that’s my family of origin,’ Eck said. ‘There are other families that I feel I belong to as well.’

Harvard Pluralism Project’s Diana Eck retires after decades of research, promoting dialogue

By Adelle M. Banks — May 9, 2024
(RNS) — Eck said she hopes the Pluralism Project, which has been a model for affiliates and organizations across the country, will continue to foster dialogue and engagement.

Controversial antisemitism bills are passing, and not only in the US House

By Yonat Shimron — May 8, 2024
RALEIGH, N.C. (RNS) — A North Carolina bill known as the Shalom Act is similar to the Antisemitism Awareness Act that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

How faith leaders can get a grasp on the mental health crisis

By Nicole Guzik — May 8, 2024
(RNS) — Clergy can’t solve every congregant’s mental health problem, but we can be a conduit of information and help.
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