Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Religion

Strife in Ethiopia over an Anti-Radical (or Is It Radical?) Muslim Sect

By Martin W. Lewis | July 23, 2012 |

The Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa has been recently shaken by violent clashes between the police and Muslim protestors. According to Shabelle News, “The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.” The protestors were angered by the government’s alleged interference in the practice of their religion, claiming that it has been trying to foist the Al Ahbash sect on the Ethiopian Muslim community.

Robert Kelly’s Delusions about Indonesia

By Martin W. Lewis | June 13, 2012 | 10 Comments

A recent post in Robert Kelly’s Asian Security Blog that lists “America’s 8 most important allies … in order” (see map) has been getting a lot of attention. Kelly’s response to his critics has not done much to bolster his position. Consider, for example, what he has to say about Indonesia (here and here), which he regards as the sixth …

Religious and Racial Strife in Western Burma

By Martin W. Lewis | June 6, 2012 |

Although Burma (Myanmar) has seen substantial reform over the past few months, several deeply entrenched conflicts create major obstacles for the country’s transition. According to The Irrawaddy, tensions in the western Arakan region recently exploded into violence when “300 people stopped a bus carrying Muslims from a religious gathering, dragged out the 10 occupants, beat them to death and burned the vehicle in Taunggup…” The attack occurred in retaliation for the alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist girl by three Muslim youths.

Rioting Threatens Zanzibar’s Tourist Economy

By Martin W. Lewis | June 2, 2012 | 3 Comments

Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island in the country of Tanzania, is still reeling from widespread rioting in late May. At that time, members of an Islamist separatist movement allegedly set fire two churches and clashed with the police. The Zanzibar government accuses the leadership of Uamsho, or the Islamic Revival Forum, of ordering its followers into the streets to cause havoc.

More Great Maps from M. Izady at Gulf 2000

By Martin W. Lewis | March 5, 2012 | 13 Comments
Middle East Cultural Historical Regions Map by M. Izady

The fantastic map trove at Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 Project, generated by cartographer M. Izady, continues to expand. Many detailed maps of language, religion, ethnicity, and cultural-historical regions in the greater Middle East are found on the site.
Today’s GeoNote highlights Izady’s map of “Primary Cultural and Historical Zones.” This map makes an invaluable companion for historical sources covering the region. …

Egypt’s Electoral Geography Revealed

By Martin W. Lewis | March 4, 2012 | 3 Comments
Egyptian Block Vote Map from Electoral Politics 2.0

By Western standards, Cairo is a socially conservative and religiously devout metropolis. By Egyptian standards, however, it is a rather liberal place. Such a position is evident in the electoral maps of Egypt’s 2011 legislative election, recently put on-line by the invaluable website, Electoral Geography 2.0: Mapped Politics. As the first map posted here shows, the secular, center-left party, Egyptian …

Religious Diversity in Northern California

By Martin W. Lewis | February 23, 2012 | 5 Comments

Most detailed maps of religion in the United States depict the leading denomination of each country, as in the first map here. Here one can see a Baptist belt in the southeast, a Mormon region in the central part of the west, a Lutheran Zone in the center-north, and a vast area of Roman Catholicism spread over most of the …

Mapping Mormonism (and Religious Adherence)

By Martin W. Lewis | February 21, 2012 |
Slate Magazine Map of Mormons in the US, modified

Slate Magazine recently published an excellent interactive map of “Mormons in America,” which shows “where the country’s largest homegrown religion thrives—and where it doesn’t.” By moving one’s cursor over the map on the Slate site, one can see how many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints reside in almost every U.S. county. My one criticism …

From Sarmatia to Alania to Ossetia: The Land of the Iron People

By Martin W. Lewis | January 16, 2012 | 29 Comments
Map of the Sarmatian Tribes in Late Antiquity

The Caucasus is often noted as a place of cultural refuge, its steep slopes and hidden valleys preserving traditions and languages that were swept away in the less rugged landscapes to the north and south. Such a depiction generally seems fitting for the Ossetians, the apparent descendents of a nomadic group called the Sarmatians that dominated the grasslands of western …

Conflict in the Comoros

By Martin W. Lewis | October 28, 2011 | 4 Comments
Wikipedia Map of the Invasion of Anjouan in the Comoros

Although Mayotte is a troubled island, its difficulties are minor compared to those of the other islands in the Comoro Archipelago, which collectively form an independent state. By some accounts, the Comoros is the most coup-wracked country in the world, having suffered twenty military assaults on its government since independence in 1975. Its instability is almost matched by its poverty; …

Arabs and Persians; Shiites and Sunnis: More Complicated Than You Might Think

By Martin W. Lewis | October 25, 2011 | 17 Comments
Language Map of Persian/Arabic Gulf from Muturzikin

Uninformed voices in the United States commonly refer to Iran as an “Arab country”—a fundamental error committed even by outlets as respectable as Slate magazine. Few Americans grasp the lines of division between Arab and Persian (or Iranian) culture and society. Iranian-Americans emphasize the distinction; calling a person of Iranian heritage an Arab is likely

Oil and Arabic-Speakers in Iran’s Troubled Southwest

By Martin W. Lewis | October 22, 2011 | 9 Comments
Incorrect Map of Sunni/Shia Distribution in the Middle East

If Saudi Arabia faces a restive Shia minority in its main oil-producing area (see GeoCurrents Oct. 14, 2011), Iran has a similar challenge. Its foremost oil-producing zone—the southwestern province of Khuzestan (Ahwaz in Arabic)—is the heart of Iran’s dissatisfied Arabic-speaking minority. Fear of unrest in Khuzestan looms large in Iranian security deliberations. Not only does

Saudi-Iranian Tensions and Shia Islam in Saudi Arabia

By Martin W. Lewis | October 14, 2011 | 2 Comments
Ralph Peters Blood Borders Map

After the United States accused Iran of hatching an elaborate and ill-conceived plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, a number of commentators expressed incredulity, some wondering why the Saudi diplomat would be so targeted. The most common response to such questioning was to outline the history of Saudi-Iranian regional rivalry

Electoral Politics and Religious Strife in Nigeria

By Martin W. Lewis | May 5, 2011 |
Map of Nigeria's 2011 Presidential Election

For the past week, GeoCurrents has demonstrated that the conflict in Ivory Coast cannot be reduced to a simple north/south, Muslim/Christian split. This kind of broad cleavage is more apparent in Nigeria, as shown by its recent election. But even in Nigeria, the contrast between a Muslim north and a Christian south is not as

The New York Times Misleading Map of Religion in Syria

By Martin W. Lewis | May 1, 2011 | 7 Comments

I was delighted to find in the New York Times this morning a large, colored map of cultural diversity in Syria and neighboring areas, focusing on religion but including some linguistic information as well. It was immediately apparent that the map was based on M. Izady’s work at the Gulf 2000 project, the best available

?php get_sidebar(); ?>