Posts in Oceania
The many charms of Indonesia’s West Sumatra

This Indonesian province has a rich history of a matrilineal society that’s shifting from its indigenous culture toward a more austere form of Islam. Cultural and theological divides are widening with less openness to discussion.

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This Indonesian village tradition has kept peace between Christians and Muslims

(COMMENTARY) In Maluku, two villages — one Christian and one Muslim — follow a unique tradition they say dates back to 1506 to live in harmony without diluting either of their faiths.

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Try these Easter eats from around the world

What would Jesus eat? Some of the world’s oldest Lenten bites, from Israel to India, are still sizzling. Others are cultural adaptions to fit the Lenten fast with local ingredients.

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Indonesian presidential candidates duel over who’s a better Muslim

(NEWS ANALYSIS) The country’s incumbent president Jokowi, seen as a liberal “metalhead of state”, chose conservative Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate to win votes from an increasingly conservative Indonesia. Meanwhile, Jokowi’s challenger Subianto has been wooing radical Islamist groups.

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After mosque attacks, Christian persecution remains controversial

(COMMENTARY) Much violence and discrimination against Christians globally goes unnoticed in newspapers. This could be seen with US Vice President Mike Pence’s recent remarks - hardly reported - condemning religious persecution of both Muslims and Christians.

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Muslim leader Yahya Cholil Staquf: Need to address 'problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy' after Christchurch attack

There has been little real learning from the New Zealand mosque attack that could shape what we do in the future. However, on Mar. 24, there was a remarkable article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph that suggests at least one way forward.

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After New Zealand mosque attacks: what are religious persecution levels around the world?

(COMMENTARY) Religious persecution of Christians is more than at any other time in modern history, while other groups like Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jews also suffer discrimination and violence in different regions of intolerance.

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Penitent crucified 16 years in a row

MANILA, April 3 – For the sixteenth straight year a 32-year old Filipino penitent was nailed to the cross on Good Friday in a village in Bulacan province some 65 kilometers north of Manila to fulfill his yearly Lenten vow. Alexie “Buboy” Dionisio while being nailed to the cross under a scorching sun, blurted out that it was his last time to reenact the crucifixion before thousands of curious local and foreign tourists who trooped to the town of Paombong to witness the ritual.

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Oceania, ReligionBen Cal
189 arrests in Maguindanao massacre

MANILA, March 25 – A Philippine regional trial court today ordered the arrest of 189 suspects linked to the gory Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre that killed 57 civilians, including 30 journalists that shook the media worldwide. Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 issued the order to the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) following the resumption of the unprecedented trial of this in the Philippines this decade.

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Justice, OceaniaBen Cal
Philippines seeks peace through unity

MANILA, March 23 - The road to peace is a difficult and painful process, but Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle T. Abaya is confident “that together we can win and gain peace” the Filipinos have been longing for. Abaya (pictured above) voiced her optimism during the grant contract signing for the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) at the Crown Plaza Hotel at the Ortigas Center in Pasig City on Monday.

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Oceania, PoliticsBen Cal