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Tag: Religion

Easter gardens and Christmas trees

By Fridus Steijlen – In Ambon, Fridus Steijlen observed Taman Paskah, public religious displays commemorating Easter, with symbolic crosses and caves. These were contrasted with secular Christmas decorations, subtly blending Christian and local traditions. As Easter approaches, religious symbols replace Christmas ones, reflecting the community’s deep Christian faith and the social significance of these holidays.

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Religion has left the hospital: the uneasy silence of professionalization

By Peter Versteeg – Have you ever wondered why something happened to you? I hope you haven’t because this question often arises when people are faced with something really serious, such as a severe illness or a traumatic event. But what is the nature of this “why” question? Does it seek a philosophical answer or is it an emotional outburst that cannot be answered?


Rethinking difference: Muslim and Christian lives in comparative perspective

Image credit: David Evers, Flickr, Creative Commons. By Daan Beekers, Hansjörg Dilger and Daniel Nilsson DeHanas. In recent decades, the anthropology of religion has produced detailed and diverse insights into the experience of religious groups…

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Islam Nusantara: Conferentie over een vreedzame Islam.

WhatsApp Image 2017-03-28 at 00.14.59Door Freek Colombijn. Van 27-29 maart vond in Nederland de “1st Biennial International Conference on Moderate Islam in Indonesia” plaats. De conferentie was georganiseerd door de Nederlandse afdeling van Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). NU is een traditionele, Soennitische beweging in Indonesië, die claimt 40-90 miljoen leden te hebben (de cijfers verschillen nogal). De eerste dag vond plaats op de Vrije Universiteit, waarna de conferentie zich verplaatste naar Den Haag, Leiden en Badhoevedorp.

De conferentie was deels een interne NU aangelegenheid, maar had vooral op de eerste dag een duidelijke boodschap aan de buitenwereld. De Islam is groter dan het Midden-Oosten en, sterker, de meeste Moslims komen niet uit de Arabische wereld. De Indonesische Islam, of Islam Nusantara, is een tolerante, niet-gewelddadige Islam.

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Aesthetics or Ethnography? Notes on the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series (AALS)

Photography by Omar, one of Termeer’s respondents

By Matthias Teeuwen            When one thinks of a Muslim artist in the Netherlands one naturally thinks of someone who, with his or her art, tries to address issues of integration, tensions between Islam and secularism or the clash between Islamic and western society. Because that is what art by Muslims in the Netherlands is supposed to be about. Right?

In last week’s AALS lecture Dr. Bregje Termeer came to talk to us about her dissertation research on artistic strategies of young Muslim artists living in the Netherlands. What she discovered was that these artists did not subscribe to the definition of what art by Muslims is supposed to be. These artists were, as Termeer called it, ‘disengaging culturalism’.

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What war? Whose war?

Internal changes must come about. © Cindy Cornett Seigle, via creative commons.

By Thijl Sunier            The day after the attacks in Paris, the French President François Hollande declared war to Islamic State. In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte also declared that ‘we are now at war’. Not with Islam, he added.

What bewilders me is that these declarations suggest that we are only now dragged into a conflict we supposedly have no part in. Baffling and indeed cynical. The Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State are monsters that the West and Russia have co-created in a decades-long struggle for power, influence and resources. This war has already started a long time ago at the cost of many thousands of innocent victims primarily in the region itself and the West has been involved in this right from the beginning.


The here-and-now-after is online: death and afterlife in virtual gaming worlds

“EVE is real. It’s as real as real life,” says a player of the online science fiction game EVE Online on a forum. “I can’t wait until there is technology with which I can upload myself and live in the universe of EVE forever, ” he reflected.

Tarmak Spurgeon, one of the author’s characters in EVE Online.

By Peter Versteeg    The virtual world as hereafter. Except as a space in which the impossible can happen and players can master dragons or conquer solar systems, the virtual reality of the ‘massively multiplayer online’ game (MMO) touches our imagination of eternity. It is the experience of virtuality itself that evokes images of the never-ending. Against that background people reflect upon the possibility to live on virtually, after death.

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