Report: Dire situation for Syrian Christians

A roundup at Notes on Arab Orthodoxy paints a grim picture for Christians — and clashing Islamic sects — in Syria. It’s a gut-wrenching account of kidnappings, torture and beheadings. One report begins with this line: “Over 40 young men (including a couple of doctors) from the Wadi area, were killed by the bearded men who are eager to give us democracy.” The article also links to a report in Agenzia Fides, which interviewed a Greek-Catholic bishop: The picture for us – he continues – is utter desolation: the church of Mar Elian is half destroyed and that of Our Lady of Peace is still occupied by the rebels. Continue Reading...

Are Islam and Liberal Democracy Compatible?

This was the topic of our latest Campus Martius discussion group at the Istituto Acton office in Rome. Our guest speaker was law professor David Forte, who presented some of the challenges in furthering liberal democracy in Muslim-majority countries. Continue Reading...

Samuel Gregg: Religious Freedom and the Arab Spring

Acton’s director of research Samuel Gregg tackles the question of religious liberty in Islamic states this morning, over at The American Spectator. In a piece titled “The Arab Spring’s Forgotten Freedom,” Gregg describes the tensions between Christians seeking religious freedom in the Middle East and the Islamic states they inhabit, and then looks hopefully to the source of a resolution. Continue Reading...

Freedom in a Land without Churches?

There are no more Christian churches in Afghanistan — not a single public house of Christian worship is left standing. In other news, NATO success against the Taliban may have been intentionally exaggerated, although we already knew that progress in that country is… slow. Continue Reading...

Roger Scruton: No Escaping Morality in Economics

Roger Scruton has written an excellent piece on the moral basis of free markets; it’s up at MercatorNet. He begins with the Islamic proscriptions of interest charged, insurance, and other trade in unreal things: Of course, an economy without interest, insurance, limited liability or the trade in debts would be a very different thing from the world economy today. Continue Reading...

Muslim Women and Entrepreneurship

One might think that Muslim women, in traditionally Muslim countries, are under severe constrictions when it comes to becoming entrepreneurs.  After all, in Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive, and in places like Iran, women are forced to veil themselves under the law.  Continue Reading...

Review: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

Poverty is inevitable in a war zone, right? One’s movements are restricted, buildings and businesses are damaged, people flee. Add to that random acts of violence brought by the Taliban and the already damaged economy of Afghanistan in the mid-1990s and poverty seems unavoidable. Continue Reading...