Showing posts from March, 2019

Myanmar the den of intolerance shows its ugly face again by disallowing freedom of worship for Muslims

People in central Myanmar town voted against reopening of mosques in what they call referendum, a sign that show some groups in Buddhist majority country are not willing to accept freedom of worship which is officially enshrined in the country’s constitution. Mosques in Chauk, Salin and Sinphy Kyun Townships of Sagaing Division were set alight or destroyed by Buddhist mob in the anti-Muslim riot broke out in 2006 at the time of military regime. Last year, local Muslims in Chauk Township sent a request letter to authorities asking for permission of reopening two Mosques which were seriously damaged in 2006 riot without repairing. Officials from Sagaing Regional government have decided to approve the request in the regional meeting held in October 2017 and instructed township authorities in November 2017 to follow the order. Approval letter to reopen tow mosques But township officials delayed the implementation. In March 30 th 2019, two neighborhoods – where two damaged mosque

Whither Pluralism in the USA?

by Habib Siddiqui   Pluralism still remains a far cry in the USA where Christian evangelism and conservatism got rejuvenated by the presidency of Donald Trump. More than a quarter of Americans identify themselves as   evangelists who see themselves as Jesus Christ’s soldiers for making the USA a Christian nation. Eighty percent of white evangelicals voted for and, by and large, continue to support President Trump. While such a support from the conservative wing of Christianity may seem like a fundamental contradiction , but to Trump’s faithful supporters, it is Providence at work in human history. They believe in Trump, and like any blind believers, they will not change their allegiance to him no matter what the ‘liberal’ media say about their beloved president. They also believe that God is making America great again through an imperfect human agent like Trump. They have a very narrow view about the notion of One Nation Under God than what the founding fathers envisioned

Overt and covert racism and communalism

Overt and covert racism and communalism Irfan Engineer On 15 th March 2019, 50 Muslims offering their Friday prayers died and 48 injured when they were gunned down in Masjid al Noor mosque in Christchurch and at Linwood Avenue mosque in New Zealand. Brenton Tarrant a 28 year old son of an Australian working class family and the gunman behind at least one of the mosque shootings in New Zealand posted his 74 page manifesto making his reasons for the shooting clear. Prime Minister of New Zealand called the attack as terrorist attack and condemned it strongly and unequivocally as New Zealand’s one of the darkest days. There was a world of difference how the media reported the Christchurch mass shooting incident wherein the shooter belonged to white race and Christian faith and how such incidents are reported when person involved professes to be a Muslim. London based Daily Mirror’s front page headlines the next day were “ Angelic boy who grew into an evil far-right mass killer ”.

Pennsylvania State lawmaker criticized for 'disrespectful' prayer

Pluralism still remains a far cry in the USA where Christian evangelism seems to be the driving force with Trump ruling from the White House. The die-hard Xian evangelists have a very narrow view about the notion of One Nation Under God. While Muslims are the most monotheist among all the monotheists, their religion of Islam (where the Jewish and Christian prophets are respected and all considered to be rightly guided men of God) is not accepted as part of the so-called Judio-Christian nexus. Allah, the One God, invoked by billions of people (including Arab/Semitic Christians), is considered an alien or foreign God. There is so much pressure from the evangelical xians like Tony Perkins and many of the religious zealots to close the door of multi-culture and pluralism it is difficult to sometimes believe that we are living in the 21st century America and not medieval Europe that witnessed for decades to religious wars! Recently, a bigot - PA rep Borowicz - created much fuss in her invo

People Vs. Pouvoir: Demonstrators take on Algeria's shadowy forces of power

In late February, just as protests against a fifth term for Algeria ’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika were gathering momentum, the country’s prime minister  warned ominously of a “Syrian scenario”. By this, he meant a peaceful protest movement turning into a civil war and destroying what had been a stable, placid nation. “Demonstrators offered roses to the policemen,” Ahmed Ouyahia told lawmakers, speaking of the Algerian protesters who have been taking to the streets week after week. “But we should remember Syria also began with roses.” Click here to read more.

Israel raids Birzeit University, arrests students

Tamara Nassar Israeli forces stormed the Birzeit University campus in the occupied West Bank disguised as Palestinians on Tuesday, and abducted three students. “The kidnappers entered the campus breaking the university’s main gate with a special machine, broke into the room that contains automated teller machines close to the student council building, and arrested Hamza Abu Qaraa, Udai Nakhla and Tawfiq Abu Arqoub,” the university said . Local media circulated pictures of the students following their arrest, as well as photos of damage caused during the raid. Abu Arqoub had been taking refuge on his university’s campus since late last month to avoid arrest by Palestinian Authority forces which work closely with Israel , according to Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer. Abu Arqoub has been detained several times by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, severely disrupting his university education for years. Birzeit condemned the abduction of its students, calling

Trump’s Green Light to Israel: First the Golan, Then the West Bank?

By Jonathan Cook  who won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism Nazareth. When President Donald Trump moved the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem last year, effectively sabotaging any hope of establishing a viable Palestinian state, he tore up the international rulebook. Last week, he trampled all over its remaining tattered pages. He did so, of course, via Twitter. Referring to a large piece of territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967, Trump wrote: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability.” Israel expelled 130,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights in 1967, under cover of the Six Day War, and then annexed the territory 14 years later – in violation of international law. A small population of Syrian Druze are the only survivors of that ethnic cleansing operation. Replicating its illegal acts in the occ

Tens of Thousands of Yemenis Rally Against US, Saudis, and for Houthis

On war's anniversary, many vow to see resistance to invasion grow Jason Ditz    The Saudi-led invasion of Yemen has entered its fifth year this week. Those first four years saw predictions of a quick victory turned into a massive civilian death toll, constant airstrikes, food and medicine shortages, and a cholera outbreak worse than any in human history. Calling it war weariness would be putting it mildly , as tens of thousands took to the streets in many Yemeni cities to condemn the Saudis for invading, condemn the US for backing the Saudis, and to express support for the Houthis and other groups resisting the invasion. Slogans were chanting, and protesters said that whether it takes five years or fifty, Yemenis will remain steadfast in resisting foreign control . The rallies were present even in cities in particularly war-torn situations, like the port of Hodeidah. Immediate problems, beyond intense Saudi airstrikes against hospitals and schools, are food sh

A Jewish Field Log From the Rohingya Refugee Camps

Jewish Journal Judaism in Action in Bangladesh: A Field Log From the Rohingya Refugee Camps BY Ann Strimov Durbin A view of the Kutulalong camp in Cox’s Bazar. Photos by Rares Michael Ghilezan The Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar is one of the most persecuted populations in the world. After enduring decades of rights deprivations and abuses, more than 700,000 Rohingya in August 2017 fled full-blown genocide at the hands of the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military and security apparatus. This mass exodus joined previous waves of Rohingya refugees already living in neighboring Bangladesh, and together nearly 1 million remain today in sprawling, squalid camps. In my position at Jewish World Watch (JWW), one of my first priorities was to classify the Tatmadaw’s persistent persecution of the Rohingya as an ongoing genocide, and to push elected officials and the U.S. State Department to do the same. Last August, I wrote an essay posted on the JWW website that explained why the

Lessons from Christchurch for unity

" The mass killing in New Zealand’s Al Noor mosque triggered an instant response from a Queensland senator, in Australia: Fraser Anning not only justified, but valourised the 28-year-old fellow Australian killer, Brenton Harrison Tarrant. In a statement published on an official letterhead, Anning averred that the growing fear in Australia and New Zealand of increasing Muslim presence was bound to result in such an act. He condemned New Zealand’s immigration policy... Ironically, Australia and New Zealand are known for their usurpation of land rights and harsh treatment of the aboriginal people, the Maoris. Civilised nations the world over have a history of snatching the rights of the First Peoples in their quest for new lands and conquests. But history is usually forgotten and recalled only when an incident such as Christchurch uncovers the dirt that lies beneath the veneer of modernity. We learn that human depravity has seeped into some minds everywhere in the world. In In

Jewish Settlers Raid 2 Palestinian Elementary Schools

Jewish settlers, escorted by Israeli army, routinely raid Palestinian villages and schools. (Photo: via A group of Jewish settlers attempted to raid two Palestinian elementary schools, on Tuesday afternoon, in the Tuqu village, southeast of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. Locals told Ma’an that heavily armed Israeli forces escorted a group of Jewish settlers, who were gathered holding Israeli flags near the two mixed elementary schools, attempted to break in. Sources mentioned that teachers and school staff prevented Israeli settlers from entering the premises and closed the main gates. The attack caused panic among the students, forcing the two schools to dismiss them early, in fear that the Israeli settlers would become violent. No injuries were reported. It is noteworthy that the Palestinian Ministry of Education released its annual report for 2017 documenting the Israeli government’s violations against Palestinia

The case of Assam, India

"Assam has always been multicultural and multi-ethnic state" Centre for Study of Society and Secularism held a talk on the topic, ‘State of the Stateless – Story of NRC in Assam’ by eminent scholar Prof. Monirul Hussain, Chair Professor, Centre for North East Studies, Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi. The talk was organized in the background of the current debates on and concerns around the National Register of Citizens in Assam wherein 4 million people have been left out of the NRC which renders them stateless. The talk dwelled upon the historical roots of NRC process and the migration in Assam during the colonial period and even after Partition. Post this migration, indigenous groups opposed the migration and viewed that migrants as foreigners. The conflicts largely draw from the various ethnic disparities amongst the communities that have different demands and expectations from the government, state and the union.Initially the Assamese opposed the Bengali Hindus and Muslims