Analysing the current phenomena of alternative religiosities through a post-Soviet lens may be productive in the Azerbaijani context, given the so-called “religious revival” experienced by the countries of the former Soviet Union. This article focuses on three specific groups/areas in Azerbaijan: ekstrasensy and parapsychologists, popular “occulture”, and the Hare Krishna community.
Church planting, once the specialty of evangelicals, is now becoming more common among mainline Protestants seeking to reverse decades of decline in their ranks. In the process of starting new churches both kinds of Protestants are reworking their identities to appeal to the growing ranks of Americans loosely tied or not affiliated with religious institutions.
The tiny kingdom of Bhutan is pitching for a Buddhist approach to economics citing concerns beyond a country’s financial health. The term GNH was coined in the 1970s by Bhutan’s fourth king, who famously pronounced that for his country, Gross National Happiness was more important than Gross National Product.
In the 1990s, some Western European countries published reports and established state agencies or state-sponsored information centres to deal with “cults”. Why did such an intriguing development occur? This phenomenon deserves attention, in order to understand the dynamics leading to concerns about some groups, especially in an historical context where state neutrality in religious matters has become increasingly emphasized.
To Western scholars and specialists Salafism holds a double fascination: foremost it is treated as the fountainhead of jihadist ideology; second Salafism’s uncompromising socio-religious doctrine is widely believed to be inimical to integration and community cohesion. A recent book offers a stunningly in-depth treatment of the foundational doctrine of Salafi ideology, namely Al-Wala’ wal Bara’.
At the conference ‘ISIS in Europe’ a panel of scholars and security experts tackled the interlinked issues of jihadi radicalization and terrorism in Europe from both a sociological and security perspective. The conference attempted to examine the reasons why Europeans engage in violence inspired by a jihadist narrative, whether at home or abroad, and how state security agencies can better cooperate and coordinate their actions to counter the recruitment of these Europeans into groups such as ISIS.
Over the past twenty years, the painstakingly methodical, graduated, nuanced and non-violent strategy of political Islamists has been eclipsed by the emergence of jihadists affiliated to the margins of the Salafi tradition.