Religion

Pakistan’s Campaign to Contain Polio in Face of Vaccine Hesitancy

Pakistan's North Waziristan district authorities have launched an aggressive vaccination drive after a polio case surfaced after 15 polio-free months in the country. The disease was detected in a 15-month-old toddler about 15 kilometers away from the Afghanistan border. This area was considered a Taliban militant’s hub until 2014.

India: Hijab Row the Latest Show of Hindu Nationalism


 

 
    In an election season, India’s ruling party has again resorted to the right-wing populist playbook, stirring up divisions for political gain. This time it is the turn of Muslim women, caught in the crossfire of a backlash against both the rights of religious minorities and women’s rights. The controversy over the wearing of the hijab in schools is just the latest chapter in the saga starring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party in their quest to consolidate power. Their attempts will continue, as will civil society resistance and struggles for rights.

Politics in Pakistan: The Captain’s Crisis!


 

 
“O, Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring….”
Walt Whitman

Chronicle of a Tragedy Unfolded

The Karnataka court’s verdict to uphold the hijab ban has intensified the protest in the state. The row has been typically perceived by many as manufactured by the politicians pointing to the culture of politics in the state. While the jury is still out there on this, evidence on how state’s local culture constructs and deconstructs religious identity allows drawing conclusions with some definitiveness. The culture of state’s politics is one side of the coin. Considering its flip side – politics of culture, particularly of the religious cultural identity, is just as relevant.

The Arrogance of Ignorance: War in Ukraine, Religion and Abiding Ethnocentrism

“The war in Ukraine is a European …and a Christian… matter... It does not require the involvement of a colourful array of religions or people”. These words were uttered and affirmed by some European Protestant men, working in interfaith circles in Europe. The ‘colourful’ encompassed other than European, mostly Christian - and likely mostly male.

China’s Entry into the Muslim World

The retrenchment of American power in the Middle East and the larger Muslim world, coupled with the war in Ukraine, has provided a geopolitical breather for China. Beijing is effectively deploying this to make strategic inroads into the region, given this vacuum and focus on Europe.

Afghanistan’s Girls’ Education is a Women’s Rights Issue

The late-night reversal of a decision by Taliban authorities in Afghanistan to allow girls from grades 7 to 12 to return to school has been met with distress from within the country and internationally – and fear that it could herald further restrictions.

Women’s Voices Raised Against Hate in India

More and more women from different walks of life and corners of the world are raising their voices against the treatment of minorities in India today.

Arc of History Bending Towards (Ab) Using Democracy & Human Rights: A Plea for Multi-Religious Civil Accountability

A “Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, issued on February 4, 2022 on International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development”, contains laudable and strong language about commitment to democracy and human rights:

Increased Investment Critical to End Female Genital Mutilation as COVID-19 Rages On

“Multiple overlapping crises are putting millions of girls at increased risk of female genital mutilation. “Countries already grappling with rising poverty, inequality and conflict are seeing the COVID-19 pandemic further threaten years of progress to end the practice, creating a crisis within a crisis for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized girls.

A Clash of Alms

Driven by unprecedented hardship to pass round the begging bowl, Sri Lanka has become the centre of a tussle between Asia’s two superpowers.

The Rise of Religious Extremism & Anti-Muslim Politics in Sri Lanka

On 28 October, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed the militant Buddhist monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara to head a presidential task force on legal reforms, shocking many in Sri Lanka and beyond. Gnanasara is the public face of the country’s leading anti-Muslim campaign group, Bodu Bala Sena (Army of Buddhist Power, or BBS). He is widely accused of inciting inter-communal violence, including two deadly anti-Muslim pogroms in June 2014 and March 2018.

Human Rights Violations and Culture of Impunity in South Asia

As countries across South Asia continue to battle the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, causing serious public health and economic crisis, this region, which is home to almost 2 billion people, is also grappling with the erosion of democratic norms, growing authoritarianism, the crackdown on freedom of press, speech and dissent.

Human Trafficking, Rape, Extortion Behind ‘Forced Conversions’, say Experts

Two years after Michelle, 15, was kidnapped, sold, forced to convert to Islam and married to a stranger, relatives still ostracise her.

Truth as War Causality? The Case of Ethiopia

A brutal drama is unfolding in Ethiopia and it is difficult to find straightforward accounts of what is happening there. However, this does not prevent people from taking a unilateral stand for either of the factions involved in the disaster.

Extraordinary Lives of Indian Muslim Women Documented

It’s time the achievements of Indian Muslim women were documented to make their contribution to society visible, says international health and gender expert Dr Farah Usmani.

Liberal Facade Hides Lebanon’s Patriarchy

Despite its apparent liberalism, Lebanon scores low in gender equality, especially in politics.

Extremists Harm Image of Islam and Pakistan

Every time, breaking news of a barbaric crime or terror act is reported from anywhere in the world, peace-loving Muslims the world over feel dejected and wish it had not been another tragedy that will make others glower at them with suspicion as though they too are complicit in the crime.

Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman: Bonded to Change the Trajectory of Muslim Women in India

Discriminated in society and concerned about the discrimination of women in their homes, the two women who co-founded the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) started the movement to further Muslim women’s leadership and help them reclaim their rights.

Refugee Voices Matter – Nothing about Us, Without Us

Over the past two years, the global refugee response has been tested. The world is being rocked by the greatest pandemic in over a century, while waves of refugees have fled from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Belarus, and Tigray. So, where do we go from here? Next week, the international community will convene to take stock of the successes and shortcomings of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), a unique multilateral mechanism built to ensure the protection of one of the most vulnerable populations. This marquee Compact is up for review, but unlike other review processes, the participation of the people whose lives are shaped by the decisions to be made in the review process will be marginal. Unfortunately, only 1 in 50 of the invited attendees at the UNHCR High-Level Official’s Meeting (HLOM) to discuss the GCR are refugees.

Time for Public Conversation, Justice after ‘Blasphemy’ killing in Pakistan, say Rights Activists

Mukhtiar’s heart sank when he saw the grisly incident of lynching of a man in the industrial city of Sialkot, in Punjab province.

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