religion diplomacy

The day before President Trump met with Pope Francis, Cardinal Peter Turkson juxtaposed the president’s speech in Saudi Arabia with what the Pope said in Egypt. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Pope Francis & Pres Trump reach out to Islam-world to exorcise it of [religious violence]. One offers peace of dialogue, the other security of arms.” [...] Yet the Ghanaian cardinal, Francis’ chief “minister” for matters of peace, suggesting that the “peace of dialogue” is the path to be preferred over the “security of arms.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years. Members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior U.S. officials usually attend the State Department Ramadan event, a symbol of the U.S. government's diplomatic efforts with Muslim countries and people.

Israel has announced a series of goodwill gestures for Palestinians ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan a day after it warned Gaza's already meager electricity supply could be further reduced following a spat between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas. Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai of the Israeli defense body said in a statement Friday the goodwill measures include access for 100 Gaza residents to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem each Friday throughout Ramadan. West Bank crossings will open longer it also said.

This week’s PD News focused on President Trump’s trip overseas, from the importance of Saudi Arabia to Melania Trump’s international debut as First Lady. 

Many people of the region today believe that the ISIS communication approach is so slick, so technological, so modern that it cannot be the work of jihadists recruited in the hinterlands of poor Muslim countries alone. There is surely something big and sophisticated behind it, with an objective in mind: kick Islamism where it hurts the most: religious credibility.

There has been much misinformation about Islam. Reports in Western media tend to perpetuate stereotypes that Islam is a violent religion and Muslim women are oppressed. Popular films like “American Sniper” reduce places like Iraq to dusty war zones, devoid of any culture or history. Fears and anxiety manifest themselves in Islamophobic actions such as burning mosques or even attacking people physically.

The skyline of Paris has just acquired yet another arresting feature. Only a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, a spanking new Russian Orthodox cathedral, complete with five onion domes and a cultural centre, was inaugurated on December 4th by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, amid sonorous rhetoric about the long and chequered history of the Russian diaspora in France.

n sync with PM Narendra Modi government’s religion diplomacy, which plays a pivotal role in its foreign policy, India has offered help to Vietnam to restore a Hindu temple in the country belonging to the Champ civilisation. The diplomacy comes at a time when Modi is visiting Vietnam capital Hanoi. The Myson temple has a striking resemblance to Indian temples built during the same period.

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