Worldview

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Broadcast from the Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson Foundation Talk Studio, supporting arts and communications outreach

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Aug. 08, 2012

Wednesday on Worldview:

Earlier this week the Syrian prime minister defected and over the last few days fighting has escalated in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo. Concern is growing over what might happen inside Syria if the Assad regime were to collapse, with many suggesting the country would divide along ethnic and religious lines. We’ll take a look at Syria’s various ethnic and religious groups, and examine how the uprising has affected relations among these different groups with Christina Abraham. She’s the Civil Rights Director at CAIR-Chicago and she’s working on a project to develop a radio station in Syria that will highlight minority voices.

Then, members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot are currently on trial on charges of religious hooliganism. The performance that got them into trouble in the first place took place at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, where band members ascended the altar and called on the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out!" The band’s troubles highlight the increasing political power of the Russian Orthodox Church. Eighty percent of Russians identify themselves as Orthodox Christians, and in the decades since the fall of the Soviet Union, the church has gained influence and access to Russia’s most powerful politicians, including President Vladimir Putin. Writer Julia Ioffe is a reporter covering Russia for The New Republic, and has been covering the Pussy Riot trial from the courtroom. She joins Worldview to examine the intersection between religion and political power in Russia.

And in our Global Notes segment , in recognition of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence, Eight Forty-Eight host Tony Sarabia stops by to highlight the island country’s greatest cultural export — reggae music — and its deep connections to Rastafari, a religious movement that at one time were considered subversive.