The Tenth Parallel: The Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam

WED, SEP 22, 2010 (57:36)

Award-winning investigative journalist Eliza Griswold discusses one of the richest, though often contentious, ideological battlegrounds in current world culture–the meeting of Christianity and Islam across Africa and Asia–as described in her book, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam. The tenth parallel–the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator–is a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. More than half of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims live along the tenth parallel; so do 60 percent of the world’s 2 billion Christians. Here, in the buzzing megacities and swarming jungles of Africa and Asia, is where the two religions meet; their encounter is shaping the future of each faith, and of whole societies as well. An investigative journalist and poet, Eliza Griswold has spent the past seven years traveling between the equator and the tenth parallel: in Nigeria, the Sudan, and Somalia, and in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The stories she tells in The Tenth Parallel show us that religious conflicts are also conflicts about land, water, oil, and other natural resources, and that local and tribal issues are often shaped by religious ideas. Above all, she makes clear that, for the people she writes about, one’s sense of God is shaped by one’s place on earth; along the tenth parallel, faith is geographic and demographic.

+ BIO: Eliza Griswold

Eliza Griswold, a fellow at the New America Foundation, received a 2010 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Her journalism has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Harper’s Magazine, among others. A 2007 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she was awarded the first Robert I. Friedman Award for investigative reporting. A collection of her poems, Wideawake Field, was published in 2007.

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