Stories: Religion

  • In Senegal, family planning finds a key ally: imams

    The mosque loudspeaker crackles to life, just as it does five times a day, every day, in this quiet village just outside the Senegalese capital, Dakar. But instead of the typical melodious call to prayer, the voice booming from the minaret is all business. “If you are interested in learning about your family-planning options, please come to the health...

  • FOR G-D SO LOVED HAITI

    It was a muggy autumn afternoon when I finally managed to squeeze my way to the front of a service at Shalom. I normally preferred to hang toward the back—the only foreigner, curious and awed by the crush of bodies pressed in together, sometimes as many as twenty thousand, though church leaders boasted of crowds twice that size...

  • A Trump-like politician in Brazil could snag the support of a powerful religious group: evangelicals

    SÃO PAULO — Corruption scandals that have landed several of Brazil’s leading politicians in prison have motivated voters to consider dark-horse candidates for next year’s presidential race. One of those, Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who likens himself to President Trump, could find support from a key group: evangelicals, who have become politically powerful in recent...

  • This Is What It’s Like On The Front Lines Of Nicaragua’s Abortion Crisis

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua — On a warm day in June, at the start of the rainy season, Ixelis waits outside of Managua’s German Nicaraguan Hospital. She is homeless, and several months pregnant. The 21-year-old has been waiting for several hours to see what the doctors will tell her. Ixelis is addicted to drugs. She has a gentle smile and...

  • How the prosperity gospel is sparking a major change in the world’s most Catholic country

    SAO PAULO — Speaking from a stage encircled by 12 large wooden crosses, Gabriel Camargo held up wads of fake Brazilian money, showing his flock what could be theirs. “God will bless you if you give a lot more to the church,” said Camargo, a pastor with the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. Then he extended an...

  • Argentina bans abortion in most cases. So why is its abortion rate far higher than that of the U.S.?

    The woman stumbled into a public hospital late one night, her stomach turning as she approached the lobby. She was bleeding. Dr. Damian Levy ushered her into a room. Like many of his patients at Hospital Alvarez in Buenos Aires, she was young and poor. At first, she refused to tell him why she was there. Then she burst...

  • “Justice is Afraid of the Priest’s Robe”: Rape and Power in Nicaragua

    In a central Nicaraguan town in 2014, not far from the birthplace of revolutionary hero Augusto Sandino, Lucia, 15, had been suffering from stomach pains. After several days of discomfort, her mother walked her to a nearby health clinic, where a doctor informed them that Lucia was pregnant. Lucia’s mother was shocked. Nicaragua has one of the highest rates of...

  • After Ahok: Indonesia Grapples with the Rise of Political Islam

    JAKARTA – Five months after its closure, the doors of the Al-Hidayah mosque were sealed with wooden planks and crisscrossed with yellow police tape, as if it some kind of grisly crime had taken place within. Barred from entering their house of worship by official order, four young men held their midday prayer in the heat outside, their bodies bent...

  • Ghosts of Pogroms Past Haunt Indonesia

    JAKARTA — Nearly two decades after anti-Chinese riots tore through this part of Indonesia’s capital, one busy road still bears the scars. Amid the clamor of heat and traffic of Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown, a row of shop-houses lies abandoned, an octagonal feng shui tile still attached to a bricked-up window. Across the street, through locked steel...

  • The Church of Duterte

    On July 22, the Philippine Congress extended the martial law, which was first enacted in May, on the southern island of Mindanao for an additional five months. The army continues to battle militants inspired by the Islamic State (also called ISIS) in the regional city of Marawi, and the extension—coupled with the bellicose rhetoric of President Rodrigo Duterte&rsquo...