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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, March 25

A Sikh woman takes pride in her religion and her body despite intolerance. Muslims take lessons in self-defense during a rise tide of racism and Islamophobia. And Ruism (aka Confucianism) experiences a resurgence in China. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on faiths and religious communities around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Sikh men are required by their faith to adhere to a dress code: they are forbidden from cutting their hair (or beards) and to wear a turban. But what if you're a Sikh woman who also has a beard? Do the same rule apply to you. Sikh model Harnaam Kaur believes they do and proudly sports her own beard and turban on the runway.

There's a lot of aspects to the Jewish identity: the Jewish religion, the dietary laws, and a shared history of marginalization and persecution. For many Jews, the latter stands out above all other considerations, particularly considering the extent of the worst persecution the Jews ever faced: the Holocaust in the 1940s. For The Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer considers the legacy of the Holocaust in the Jewish community.

With politicians like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz openly calling for enhanced scrutiny of Muslims in the United States and possibly even a ban on Muslim immigrants and tourists there's little sign that the tide of Islamophobia in the West is subsiding. With this in mind many Muslims, particular Muslim women, are becoming increasingly concerned with learning how to defend themselves. Reuters has more on the story here.

The ultimate goal of Buddhism is neither union with the divine (as in Hinduism) nor ascent into paradise (like in Christianity or Islam). Instead, Buddhists aspire to achieve a state of self-perfection and emotional serenity marked by the extinction of all material desires and attachments, known alternatively as nirvana (Sanskrit) or nibbana (Pali). But how do Buddhists go about seeking nirvana? Buddhist writer Mahasi Sayadaw weighs in.

Of the three principal native religions of China (the other two of which are Taoism and Shenism), Ruism is perhaps the one most commonly associated with Chinese culture. The ethics of filial piety, social harmony, and philanthropy espoused by Ruism were for centuries the guiding principle of Chinese society and made a strong impression on early Western visitors. With the rise of Communist China, Ruism was for a time suppressed. But today it's looking to make a comeback.

Top image by the UK Department for International Development

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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