Why religious tensions are spiking around the globe • British Muslims with diabetes need more healthcare support during Ramadan • ACLU accuses La. school of religious harassment • Eastside Catholic president resigns amid uproar over firing • Sikhs Fight Back Against New Pentagon Dress Code
Last week’s top news, from our perspective:
Why religious tensions are spiking around the globe
Global religious hostilities, including government restrictions on how individuals can practice their faith and conflicts between communities of different faiths, reached a six-year high in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.
One-third of the 198 countries and territories included in the study, released this week, had a high level of religious restrictions, with an even greater share affected by religiously-based social hostilities that included verbal abuse, overt hate crimes, and murder.
“This is the first time that this study has found that social hostilities involving religion affect a larger share of the world’s population than government restriction on religious freedom,” says Brian Grim, the principal investigator for all five studies.
British Muslims with diabetes may avoid attending GP surgeries to discuss fasting during the holy month of Ramadan – with potentially serious consequences for their future health, new research by the universities of Manchester and Keele shows.
The first study in the UK to explore the beliefs which influence the experience and practices of British Muslims’ diabetes management found tensions often exist between observing the important religious ritual in accordance with their faith and the competing need to manage their health.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a school board in Louisiana, alleging officials at one of its schools harassed a sixth-grader because of his Buddhist faith and that the district routinely pushes Christian beliefs.
The lawsuit was filed against the Sabine Parish School Board Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Shreveport on behalf of Scott and Sharon Lane and their three children. According to the complaint from the ACLU and its Louisiana chapter, the Lanes enrolled their son — a lifelong Buddhist of Thai descent — in Negreet High School and he quickly became the target of harassment by the school’s staff.
The president and CEO of Eastside Catholic School has resigned amid unrelenting protests over her decision to dismiss the school’s vice principal for marrying his gay partner.
In December, Sister Mary Tracy fired Vice Principal Mark Zmuda, who also served as the school’s swim coach, saying his marriage to a man violated the Roman Catholic teachings he’d agreed to uphold when he began working at the school.
American Sikh leaders, disappointed that new Pentagon dress code requirements released on Wednesday do not go as far as the Sikhs would like, are turning to Congress to increase the pressure on the military.
The Sikhs, who want looser restrictions on turbans, head scarfs and beards in the military, are collecting signatures on a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from congressional leaders asking the army to “modernize their appearance regulations so that patriotic Sikh Americans can serve the country they love while abiding by their articles of faith.”