The Politics of Faith
Around the world today, conflicts between religious groups are on the rise. Nearly a third of the world's population faces restrictions on how they worship, risking arrest, imprisonment or even death. We head to Egypt, Malaysia, China and Russia to examine the religious undercurrents that are sharpening societal divides.


In a world that seems increasingly secular, the role of religion remains surprisingly strong. Across the globe, nearly nine out of 10 people say they have some affiliation with religion. Yet, at the same time, conflicts because of religion are on the rise.

“People value the ability to practice their own religion more highly than they do the ability of others in their country to practice their religion. So you could call that somewhat of a religious intolerance gap.” –Brian Grim, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life

Nearly a third of the world's population faces restrictions on how they worship, risking arrest, imprisonment or even death. This hour, we head to Egypt, Malaysia, China and Russia to examine the religious undercurrents that are sharpening societal divides.

Noel King examines the political and religious forces that are competing for influence in Egypt as the country transitions from dictatorship to democracy.
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Katherine Lanpher speaks with Professor Khaled Fahmy of The American University in Cairo about what’s at stake in Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections and the future role of religion in Egyptian society.
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Jennifer Pak reports from Kuala Lumpur on escalating tensions between Muslims and Christians in Malaysia.
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Katherine Lanpher and Ambassador Stapleton Roy discuss the politics of religion in China.
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Anya Ardayeva reports from Moscow on the growing ties between the state and the Russian Orthodox Church that are causing tensions with other faiths in Russia.
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Katherine Lanpher talks to Brian Grim, author of “The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century,” about the rise of religious conflict and persecution around the world.
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Video Extra

In the United States it is common to take for granted a separation between church and state. But what does that separation mean, and how strictly should it be enforced? Is it possible for secular and religious authorities to interact in positive ways?

AAM speaks with author and journalist Ian Buruma. His newest book, "Taming the Gods," explores the relationship between religion and democracy in Asia, Europe, and the United States.


Featured Experts

Khaled Fahmy
Khaled Fahmy is professor and chair of American University in Cairo (AUC) Department of History. A renowned expert in Middle East studies, Fahmy served as associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University (NYU) before joining AUC as a faculty member.
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Brian Grim
Brian Grim is a senior researcher and director of cross-national data at the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life. He’s also a principle investigator for the international religious demography project at Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs.
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J. Stapleton Roy
Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy is Director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He retired from the Foreign Service in January 2001 after a career spanning 45 years with the U.S. Department of State.
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The Politics of Faith / Executive Producer: Aaron Lobel / Producers: Anya Ardayeva, Monica Bushman, Mallory Durr, Noel King, and Jennifer Pak / Intern: Andreana Lefton / Additional production help: Flawn Williams / Director of Broadcasting and Station Relations: Steve Martin / Web Producer: Javier Barrera / Photo credit: Jennifer Pak.

Special thanks to Feature Story News.

Host: Katherine Lanpher / Length: 51 minutes / Airdate: Nov 2011

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