Hallie Arias

Digital Content Intern, World Views

Hallie Arias is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with degrees in international relations, Spanish, photojournalism, and social justice. A life-long fan of NPR and public radio, Hallie also enjoys traveling, watching British television, and ballroom dancing.

The Jewish Star of David, Arab- Christian Cross and Crescent on the front of Beit Hagefen Arab-Jewish Center in Haifa.
zeevveez / Flickr

What makes religion turn violent?

That’s the question Charles Kimball is trying to answer.

An ordained Baptist minister with a Th.D. in comparative religion from Harvard, Kimball has studied the intersection of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam for four decades. He’s made more than three dozen trips to the Middle East, worked closely with Congress, the White House, and the U.S. State Department as an analyst of Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and of the intersection of religion and politics in the United States.

U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell in Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during in-processing to the temporary detention facility on Jan. 11, 2002.
Photographers Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy / U.S. Department of Defense

On Tuesday the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a 525-page report detailing the use of enhanced interrogation techniques against detainees in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This so-called torture report describes the CIA’s extensive waterboarding, rectal feeding, and up to 180 hours of forced sleep deprivation.

Wikimedia Commons

Burkina Faso’s 26 member cabinet held its first meeting on Monday. Appointed by coup leader and current Prime Minister Isaac Zida Yacouba, the cabinet will govern the country’s affairs until the November 2015 elections. 

With the exception of Adama Sagnon who resigned as Culture and Tourism Minister on Tuesday after two days protests, the cabinet has been well-received.

Wikimedia Commons

After a surprise win in the second round of presidential elections earlier this month, Romanian President-Elect Klaus Iohannis is maintaining his momentum. 

This week he discussed plans to strengthen Romania’s ties to the West and investigate allegations of the rampant political corruption – platforms he campaigned on. He also predicted that lawmakers would soon start to abandon Prime Minister Victor Ponta's ruling coalition in order to purse these policies.

A refugee camp in Syria's northern city Aleppo, December 2013
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation / Flickr

In recent years, millions have been killed or forced to flee their homes due to instability and violence across Iraq and Syria. Among these victims are many ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis.

Rebecca Cruise talks with Joshua Landis about air strikes against the Islamic State, and how Syria’s neighbors are affected by millions of refugees.

Later, Suzette Grillot's recent interview with the 2014 Neustadt Prize for International Literature winner Mia Couto. Shortly after the country’s independence from Portugal, the Mozambique Liberation Front asked him to suspend his medical studies and work as a journalist.

People walk on rubble of collapsed buildings at a site hit by what activists said was barrel bombs dropped by government forces in Aleppo's Dahret Awwad neighborhood January 29, 2014.
Freedom House / Flickr

On Tuesday the United Nations announced a new plan to freeze fighting in the besieged northern Syrian city of Aleppo. If it’s successful, it will be implemented in other areas throughout the war-torn country.

U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said unlike previous attempts at broad-based ceasefires, the narrow focus of this one may actually lead to the de-escalation of violence. The only real solution to the ongoing conflict, though, will be a political one.

Rebecca Cruise explains how a proposed internet tax drew tens of thousands of Hungarians to the streets of Budapest in protest, and Joshua Landis provides an update on a victory by secularists in Tunisia’s elections.

Later, a discussion with Oklahoma City imam Imad Enchassi. As a child in Lebanon’s refugee camps, he witnessed the massacre of thousands of his fellow Palestinians. Suzette Grillot talks about humanitarian work in the Middle East with Enchassi and Oklahoma City University political scientist Mohamed Daadoui.

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban at a European People's Party summit in Brussels, October 2014
European People's Party / Flickr Creative Commons

Prime Minister Viktor Orban cancelled plans to tax internet usage in Hungary on Friday after mass protests across the country.

The protests began in Budapest on Sunday as tens of thousands of Hungarians flooded the streets of the capital.

The proposed measure would have taxed internet usage at a rate 150 Hungarian forint, or about 60 cents, per gigabyte of data. After this week’s initial protests, Orban announced a monthly tax cap of 700 forint, or about $3.00, per internet subscription for individuals and 5,000 forint, or about $20.00, for companies.

Members of the Ennahda Movement in Tunisia's Constituent Assembly. The party lost 16 seats in Sunday's parliamentary elections.
Parti Mouvement Ennahdha / Flickr Creative Commons

On Sunday Tunisia’s secular Nidaa Tounes party defeated the Islamist Ennahda party in the country’s first full parliamentary election since the 2010-2011 revolution that launched the Arab Spring.

“It's been a good news story in a world of bad news in the Middle East,” say Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.