Jaweed Kaleem

    Jaweed Kaleem

    Senior Religion Reporter, The Huffington Post

  • Another Major Christian Denomination Divests

    The United Church of Christ on Tuesday voted to divest from companies that it says profit from the occupation of Palestinian lands. The move passed 508-124 with 38 abstentions at the church’s General Synod meeting in Cleveland. It instructs the church, which has nearly a million members, to divest from companies that have “been found to profit from the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the state of Israel." It specifically singles out Caterpillar Inc., Motorola Solutions, Hewlett-Packard Development Co., G4S and Veolia.

  • S.C. Pastor: Dylann Roof Was Church Member, His Family Prays For Victims

    As details surface about Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old man who has been charged with the murder of nine people after a brutal church shooting spree Wednesday night in Charleston, South Carolina, a faint portrait of his religious background is emerging. Roof, who reportedly sat in a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for almost an hour and argued with congregants about Scripture before pulling out his gun, was himself a member of a Lutheran church in Columbia, the church's pastor confirmed Friday. "He was on the roll of our congregation," Rev. Tony Metze of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, told The Huffington Post.

  • Historic Black Church Attacked In Charleston Had Deep Roots In Civil Rights, Abolition

    Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a shooting left nine people dead Wednesday night, has a history of civil rights activism and has long been one of the most prominent historic black churches in the South. Called “Mother Emanuel,” the church -- home to one of oldest black Christian communities in the country -- was established in 1816 after black members of the city’s main Methodist church left because of racial discrimination. One of the shooting’s victims, church pastor Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a Democratic state senator.

  • How Meditation Is Transforming American Schools

    On a Wednesday afternoon in early May, after a full day of studying the Byzantine Empire and sitting through lessons on annotation and critical reading, the sixth-graders in Zsazita Walker’s social studies and language arts class were, expectedly, acting like sixth-graders. Walker counted down from five, telling her students to make sure the table tops were cleared. Nearly in unison, the 25 students in class 601 at New York City's Brooklyn Urban Garden School closed their eyes.

  • 'Our Best Sermon Right Now Is Not Anything We Say But What We Do'

    As tensions and unrest continued Tuesday in Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, religious leaders took to the pews and the streets to call for peace. Several churches opened their doors to offer safe haven to local residents, especially students after Baltimore City Public Schools were closed Tuesday. The community has to step up and feed our children, provide youth activities and be there for people going through an understandably traumatic experience,” said the Rev. Heber Brown, pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, one of those offering refuge.

  • Why A Mother And Her 21-Year-Old Daughter Are Learning The 'Art Of Dying'

    Melanie Chaite has had many brushes with death. In 21 years of living with lymphangiomatosis, a rare cancer-like progressive lymphatic disorder that she’s had since birth, bouts of severe pneumonia have left her in intensive care.

  • More Than Half Of Americans Have Bad Feelings About Islam

    Younger Americans are the most likely to have positive views on Islam, be interested in learning about the religion and have Muslim friends. The findings, detailed in a HuffPost/YouGov poll on Americans’ views of Muslims released Friday as part of HuffPost Religion’s week-long Muslim Life in America series, show a nation of fractured opinions and experiences when it comes to Islam, with stark differences among age groups and political affiliations. Overall, 55 percent of Americans had either a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Islam, while one in four said they were not sure how they viewed the faith.

  • The Dalai Lama Will Celebrate His 80th Birthday With A Global Compassion Summit

    The Dalai Lama will celebrate his 80th birthday this summer with a Global Compassion Summit in Southern California, the nonprofit Friends of the Dalai Lama announced Thursday. The spiritual leader will kick off three days of events focusing on the role of compassion in the world by speaking July 5 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, according to the organizers. The Dalai Lama's birthday is July 6.

  • Rachel Held Evans Defends Leaving Evangelicals For Episcopalians

    Next month, Evans will release “Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church,” a book that oscillates between stinging critiques of American Christianity and prescriptions for how she believes believers can more faithfully participate in church life. In an interview with Religion News Service, she talked about the key to revitalizing the church and defended her exit from evangelicalism. Q: You say that the way to stop the exodus of millennials from churches isn’t cosmetic changes like better music, sleeker logos and more relevant programming.

  • Cardinal Edward Egan, Former Archbishop Of New York, Dead At 82

    Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the former Archbishop of New York, died on Thursday afternoon in New York, officials at the Archdiocese of New York announced. Egan, who was 82, died at 2:20 p.m. at NYU Langone Medical Center. Egan, one of America's most prominent Catholic leaders, was New York's top Catholic from 2000 until his retirement in May of 2009.

  • Rising Anti-Semitism Challenges Sweden's Proud And Tolerant Self-Image

    When a militant extremist stormed into a kosher supermarket in Paris shortly after cartoonists were massacred at the Charlie Hebdo publication, Swedish media described it as a hostage situation at a food store. There was no mention of an anti-Semitic motive. Now, the discourse has come full circle, with a full-throttle discussion in media about the magnitude and roots of anti-Semitism in Sweden, which prides itself as a beacon of tolerance and open doors.

  • Hundreds Of Norwegians Circle Oslo Mosque In 'Peace Ring'

    After weeks of news of hatred around the world against Jews and Muslims, Norwegians have shown humanity what it truly means to love your neighbor. On Saturday, hundreds gathered around the Central Jamaat-E Ahl-E Sunnat mosque in Oslo to participant in and support a human peace ring, an effort to show solidarity and respect for their Muslim brothers and sisters. The event was a symbolic "thank you" to Muslims, many of whom had formed formed a popular "peace circle" around an Oslo synagogue last weekend.

  • New Report Says Anti-Semitism Is A Big Problem At American College Campuses

    WASHINGTON (RNS) A student group in South Africa this month called on all Jews to leave the Durban University of Technology, an act of anti-Semitism that Americans could not imagine on their own college campuses. The National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students, produced by a Trinity College team well-known for its research on religious groups, found that 54 percent of Jewish students experienced anti-Semitism on campus in the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year. Professors Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar asked 1,157 students in an online questionnaire about the types, context and location of anti-Semitism they had encountered, and found that anti-Jewish bias is a problem for Jews of all levels of religious observance.

  • Snow Won't Stop These New England Churches From Soldiering On

    New Englanders, clobbered by four major storms in the past month and bracing for a fifth, are finding it difficult to travel anywhere, including to services on Sundays. “I always tell parishioners that I live in the house behind the church, so it’s easy for me,” said Cryans, of St. Thomas More Catholic Church. In Hingham, Mass., where the National Guard has been brought in to help the seaside town dig out from more than 8 feet of snow, the Rev. Peter Allen didn’t want to cancel services at Hingham Congregational Church.

  • How Atheists Are Giving Back In The Wake Of The Chapel Hill Shooting

    One of the slain students, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, was a graduate dental student at the University of North Carolina and planned to travel with the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation to Syrian refugee camps. Barakat’s cause has now been adopted by atheists, humanists and other nonbelievers who are raising funds for SAMS in his name.

  • Does Obama's 'God Talk' Stand A Chance In A Polarized America?

    WASHINGTON (RNS) After taking heat from the religious right for saying Christians and Muslims have all committed horrors in God’s name, President Obama is now angering the religious left with an upcoming White House conference on combating ”violent extremism” that seems to focus only on Muslims. The back-to-back controversies raise the question: Can Obama — or any president — walk the tightrope of religious rhetoric in today’s political crosswinds? It’s a perilous walk, taken without a safety net as news and social media voices wait to savage him in a nanosecond.

  • #CopticLivesMatter Mourns 21 Christians ISIS Killed In Libya

    After ISIS released a video on Sunday purporting to show the horrific execution of 21 Coptic Christians on the Libyan coast, prayers and condolences have poured in for the victims, their families and the Coptic church, with many on social media using the hashtag #CopticLivesMatter. Shocked by the mass killing, world leaders and religious figures have expressed their solidarity with Copts, already a persecuted minority before the killings. In a statement, the Coptic church said that its leadership had "confidence that their great nation won’t rest without retribution for the evil criminals." During a speech on Monday to members of the Church of Scotland, Pope Francis decried the deaths.

  • Mourners Organize Prayers And Vigils For Chapel Hill Shooting Victims

    Following the shooting deaths of three Muslim university students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday, Muslim and non-Muslim mourners alike have taken to social media to organize prayers and vigils for the victims. Police have arrested a neighbor, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, and news reports on Wednesday indicated that the three students may have been killed because of an ongoing dispute about parking at their condominum complex.

  • African Religious Leaders Draw Road Map Of Safe Practices To Fight Ebola

    NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) African church leaders, theologians and health professionals have drawn up a road map they hope might help ease stigma and educate faith communities in the fight against Ebola. The virus has killed more than 5,000 so far and has been declared a global security threat by the U.N. The road map, drawn at a three-day conference that ended Wednesday (Nov. 26) in Nairobi and was attended by 70 religious and health care leaders, highlights the role faith groups can play as part of the global response, according to church leaders.

  • What Pope Francis Hopes To Accomplish In Turkey

    VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis leaves on Friday (Nov. 28) for a three-day visit to Turkey and, given the issues on his plate and the troubles in the neighborhood, it is expected to be his most challenging and potentially most dangerous trip yet. There are so few Christians — around 120,000 — in this overwhelmingly Muslim country that he is leaving the armored popemobile at home. Francis has a close relationship with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, who leads the world’s 250 million Eastern Orthodox Christians from Istanbul.