Frequently Asked Questions


Alevism is a branch of Shi’a Islam that is practiced in Turkey and the Balkans among ethnic Turks and Kurds, and is related to—though distinct from—Alawism in Syria. Alevis make up 20% of Turkish Muslims and comprise Turkey’s largest religious minority community.

Alevism emerged in Turkey during the 10th century. Like other Shi’a Muslims, Alevis believe that the Prophet Muhammad’s nephew ‘Ali Ibn...

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Alfred Dreyfus

Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935) was a Jewish French military officer from the region of Alsace imprisoned in 1895 for sharing French military secrets with Germany, then a rival nation with whom France had suffered through the Franco-Prussian War. Though evidence emerged in coming years to show that someone else had committed the crime, the military suppressed this evidence and a scandal erupted that brought out the full ugliness of French anti-Semitism in the late 19th century. The “Dreyfus Affair” split French society between pro- and anti-“Dreyfusards,” and ultimately resulted in...

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Andrés Bonifacio

Andres Bonifacio (1863-1897) was the founder of the Katipunan, a militant nationalist secret society that led the rebellion against Spain. Bonifacio declared Philippine independence in 1896 in the wake of the execution of his hero and mentor José Rizal. He was arrested that year and charged with treason and sedition, and executed in 1897. He is remembered as a nationalist proletariat hero and father of the anti-colonial revolution, alongside Rizal. Like Rizal, he was remembered in celebrations of the...

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Anglicanism in Nigeria

Anglicanism is a Protestant Christian tradition that emerged during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. It includes the Church of England and a variety of others around the world united by shared doctrine and practice under the Anglican Communion umbrella organization. The Archbishop of Canterbury is regarded as the unofficial spiritual leader of the international Anglican community.

The Anglican Church Mission Society (CMS) members Samuel Ajayi Crowther—who would become Nigeria’s first African Anglican bishop—and Rev. J.F. Schön were part of the original British...

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In classical Greek, the term means “one who is sent away” as a messenger. In Christianity, the term is often used interchangeably with “disciple” but some scholars interpret Pentecost as a turning point in converting disciples or followers of Jesus into apostles or messengers of his teaching. 

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Apostle’s Creed

This is the Roman Catholic version of the Creed. Different Protestant and Orthodox communities have slightly altered wording.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the...

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Arab Spring in Egypt, The

The Arab Spring refers to a period of protests beginning on December 18, 2010 in Tunisia, which quickly spread to numerous other Arab nations and resulted in regime change in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, and repression and/or violence in Syria, Bahrain, Sudan, and elsewhere. In Egypt, protests and strikes began on January 25, 2011 (National Police Day) and lasted for 18 days, bringing together various opposition groups representing a wide cross section of Egyptian...

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Arabs in Syria

Sunni Arabs arrived in Syria in the 7th century with the wave of early Islamic expansion from the Arabian peninsula, and established the Umayyad Dynasty centered in Damascus. They form the dominant ethnic majority in contemporary Syria.

Armenian Apostolic Church in Syria, The

The Armenian Apostolic Church is an Eastern Orthodox Church and the second largest Orthodox tradition in Syria. The Church was founded in Armenia where Christianity was established as the state religion in the year 301 CE. With the fall of the Armenian kingdoms in the 11th century and the rise of the Safavids in Iran in the 16th century, Armenians immigrated to cities throughout Anatolia and the Levant. In 1742, Rome officially recognized a separate Armenian Catholic Church and over the next two centuries, Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries proselytized among members of the...

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