Religion news: Pakistani police investigate Muslim televangelist
WEEK IN RELIGION
An evangelical Muslim preacher is being investigated by Pakistani police for allegedly making blasphemous comments about Islam in a viral video that began circulating earlier this month.
Junaid Jamshed — a former pop star with the group Vital Signs in the 1980s — is accused of “uttering shameful words against holy personalities,” according to a Pakistani newspaper. Jamshed reportedly made “mocking” comments about Ayesha, one of the prophet Muhammad’s wives, causing clerics in the country to appeal for his arrest.
Jamshed’s case is one of several highly publicized cases in which a person is investigated for making blasphemous statements about Islam. Critics of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws say personal vendettas are often the root of the claims against defendants.
The 51-year-old issued an apology via his Facebook page and on his Twitter account, and said he plans on staying in London for the time being.
A recent survey of 2,044 British adults conducted by the Folio Society found that 37 percent of respondents selected the Bible as the book “most valuable to humanity.” Runners-up included Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” (35 percent), Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” (17 percent) and Albert Einstein’s “Relativity.”
“Field of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence,” by Karen Armstrong
From the renowned and best-selling author of “A History of God,” a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence. For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11 perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness — something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.
Sikhism: The Sikh religion is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Followers are called Sikhs (“students”). It originated in 15th-century Punjab (now North India and Pakistan) when Guru Nanak, the first Sikh teacher, turned against the caste system, forced conversion and empty ritual in medieval Hinduism and Islam. Through devotional poetry and music, he taught that all religions lead to One Formless God, that all people, including women and the poor, are equal, and that all may realize liberation here and now through living an honest life of love and service (seva). — ReligionStylebook.com
RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD
According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Bahrain is:
• 70.3 percent Muslim • 14.5 percent Christian • 9.8 percent Hindu • 2.5 percent Buddhist • 0.6 percent Jewish • < 0.1 percent folk religion • 1.9 percent unaffiliated • 0.2 percent other
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