Spirituality and religion are a fact of life. They appear in virtually every culture known to humans in some shape or form. But recent times have seen an upsurge in religious extremism. The name of `God’ has been invoked to justify some of the most appalling acts - including the 9-11 bombings, communalist killings in Gujarat, the war on Iraq, and social violence especially against women and gay people. Can religion be a force for good and social change in the world today? Or is it, as some secularists believe, the most grave threat to democracy? At what point does wholesome spirituality become murderous fanaticism? And how are fundamentalist tendencies to be tackled-both within and outside faith systems?
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Religions often target the young. Marilyn Mason counts the human cost.
repression cheek by jowl with tourism in the Maldives
Sadanand Menon assesses the health of India’s secular tradition after the Hindu fundamentalists’ election defeat.
When a Peruvian woman's children were kidnapped by their Lebanese father, Reem Haddad was asked to intervene.
Why young Western Muslims are going abroad to fight for Islam by Shaista Aziz.
Jeremy Seabrook draws an unholy line from the obscene imagery of Abu Ghraib to the growing repression in Bangladesh.
Eduardo Galeano on the white curse that has afflicted the terrible history of Haiti.
A floating hotel for the poor, photographed by Bablu Chowdhury from Bangladesh.
Vanessa Baird examines the special relationship between religion and violence.
Oiling the wheels of corporate domination – International Chamber of Commerce head Maria Livanos Cattaui.
Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey M Smith
Somalia: The Untold Story edited by Judith Gardner and Judy El Bushra
Attac! Another World is Possible by Various
The Story of the Weeping Camel directed by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni
List of Lights and Buoys by Susanna and the Magical Orchestra
Brazil’s rebellious priests are still putting the poor first. Jan Rocha reports.
Few pacifists can put themselves in danger as much as David Hartsough, co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce.
Novelists Ben Okri and Amy Tan talk to Bel Mooney about their eclectic spirituality.
Climate change adaptation (Issue 451)
PHOTO ESSAY: For Eritrean migrants, there is more dignity in death
The recent Saudi clampdown on migrant workers has brought campaigners onto the streets. Chris Matthews was with some of them in London.
Vanessa Baird ponders the tactics needed to resist austerity.
Jamie Kelsey-Fry reflects on the movement that has united people around the world.
Mari Marcel Thekaekara argues that we can all improve our wellbeing through traditional medicine and by slowing down.
In a nutshell: the countries most recently featured in the New Internationalist magazine.
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