Afghanistan

Painfully familiar 'ghost' in the shooting of the U.S. general

Painfully familiar 'ghost' in the shooting of the U.S. general

What we have here is -- alas -- an example of a religion-new "ghost" that your GetReligionistas could write about day after day after day, world without end, amen.

For newcomers, a "ghost" (in the lingo of this weblog) is a religious issue or subject that journalists really should have included in a news report, that is if the goal was for readers to understand what is happening. For more information on this term read the very first post published at GetReligion.org, back on the original Day 1.

A classic example of a "ghost"? How long did it take for the mainstream press to explain the doctrinal elements at the heart of the bloody conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq? Way too long, quite frankly, and some newsrooms are still in the dark on that.

This brings me to the fatal shooting of that U.S. general in Afghanistan. Anyone who reads the main report in The New York Times learns, over and over, that he died because of "political" tensions. Period.

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NYTimes' riveting portrait of a Christian in Afghanistan

I have no words to describe this story – A Christian Convert, on the Run in Afghanistan http://t.co/DM87Ey5fpG A Christian Convert on the Run from Murderous Islam. Cherish Your Religious Liberty. This is from the @NYTimes. http://t.co/KsgqoJo1yT

Striking story by NYT's Azam Ahmed: A Christian Convert, on the Run in Afghanistan http://t.co/mjkqHW1n3t (h/t @rcallimachi)

A Christian Convert, on the Run in Afghanistan: “My body is in prison, but my soul is free.” http://t.co/c0gecENREh

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Bowe Bergdahl: Calvinist, Buddhist, Muslim seeker?

While most of the DC Beltway journalists do that dance that they do (Will the vaguely legal Taliban prisoner swap hurt Democrats in 2014 elections?!), there are some interesting religion-beat questions hiding between the lines in the story of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. As a jumping-off point, consider the following rather bizarre passage in this New York Post report:

As a teen, the home-schooled son of Calvinists took up ballet — recruited to be a “lifter” by “a beautiful local girl,” Rolling Stone reported, “the guy who holds the girl aloft in a ballet sequence.” The strategy worked: Bergdahl — who also began dabbling in Budd­hism and tarot card reading — soon moved in with the woman.

A BBC explainer has some of that information, but with a few more specifics:

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Was Kabul shooting over religion? Shouldn't someone ask?

Q: What question has no answer? A: The one you don’t ask. In Thursday’s shooting of several people at a Christian hospital in Kabul, the question would be: Could it have anything to do with their religion?

True, the answer doesn’t rest neatly on the surface. The shooter — horrifically, a policeman assigned to guard the hospital — didn’t shout the usual “Alahu Akbar” before gunning down Dr. Jerry Umanos and two visitors at CURE International Hospital. Nor have any organizations like the Taliban claimed responsibility.

So reporters need to look for clues. And there are a few scattered throughout news stories on the atrocity — clues that, thus far, don’t seem to have drawn journalistic curiosity.

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To use or not to use: Journalists and the word 'Islam'

Do you ever get the impression, when reading mainstream news stories, that some editors have created formal policies describing when reporters who cover terrorism stories can or cannot mention the words “Islam” or “Muslim”?

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Major Nidal Hasan talks about faith, like it or not

Some may disagree, but I think we have reached the point where we can say that journalists in the mainstream press are going to have trouble keeping the religion angle out of the coverage of the Fort Hood trial of U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan.

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