Culture

Between the Millet System and EU Values: The Sunni Muslim Turkish State and Non-Muslim Minorities

The relationship between the state and non-Muslim communities[1] has been a sensitive issue since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Dr. Özgür Kaymak MDC Although the principle of secularism has been stated in the constitution, wherein the state was ostensibly required to distance itself from all religious beliefs equally,  Islam had always played an important role in the formation of Turkish identity. The debates with regard to freedom of religion and conscience as well as the rights of ... Read More »

The Damage of Demographic Misinterpretations

The way demographers treat Hispanics is both out of date and incorrect. Amitai Etzioni The National Interest The New York Times recently repeated an often cited misleading figure on demographics, that by 2044 “white Americans [are] projected to fall below half the population and lose their majority status.” This claim has unusually wide-reaching implications for America’s polarized politics. It is leading many whites, especially among those who have not been to college and who live in rural areas, to fear that they will be ... Read More »

How A Facebook Page Helped Two Women Enter The Sabrimala Shrine

As a conservative backlash sought to silence women who wanted to visit Sabrimala, they turned online to find each other. K.A. Shaji HuffPost THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Kerala —Forty two-year-old law professor Bindu Ammini, a law professor, and 44-year-old Kanakadurga, assistant manager of a state-run grocery store, first met online in… In the early hours of January 2 this year, the two women entered the shrine under heavy police protection, prompting a violent backlash from those opposed to allowing women “of… The two ... Read More »

The new generation of Filipino women rejecting skin whitening

“Growing up as a kid, I used to hate my skin as I was teased a lot because of it.” Kirsten Jelinek SBS Whitening lotion, whitening soap, whitening deodorant, and even capsules of glutathione – an antioxidant which purports to prevent skin cells from producing darkening melanin – fill the bustling shopping centres of Manila. The Philippines beauty standard of whitening goes by many names – skin lightening, skin evening, skin-fading and even skin brightening. Avon boutique owner Mary Anne ... Read More »

British Jews look to Germany for Brexit ‘insurance policy’

The German constitution allows for people whose citizenship was revoked for ‘political, racist, or religious reasons’ to have it reinstated. Hannah Roberts Politico LONDON — Sally Geppert, a legal secretary from Cologne, was 27 when she arrived in the U.K. on the last day of August 1939 — one of tens of thousands of German Jews who fled the Nazis and found refuge in Britain. The next day, September 1, Germany invaded Poland, war broke out and emigration to Britain from Nazi-controlled ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

Japan withdraws from International Whaling Commission

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Tokyo has long deflected criticism for its commercial whaling activities, arguing that eating whale meat is a part of its culture. DW Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The move sets the stage for Japan to resume commercial whaling activities next year. “Commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We ... Read More »

U.S. returns 3 church bells taken as war booty from Philippines in 1901

MANILA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — After 117 years, the United States returned the three original church bells taken by American soldiers as war booty during the Philippine-American war in 1901. Li Xia Xinhua A U.S. Air Force plane bearing the three historic bells landed in the Philippines on Tuesday morning. U.S. officials led by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim handed the… “It is a most memorable day of our nation’s history and we celebrate it with deep gratitude ... Read More »

Meet the first woman to contact one of the world’s most isolated tribes

Anthropologist Madhumala Chattopadhyay floated coconuts to the Sentinelese in an unusually friendly exchange with a tribe hostile to outsiders. Fehmida Zakeer National Geographic The recent death of an American missionary on North Sentinel Island has put the remote island in the Bay of Bengal, officially off-limits to most outsiders for decades, back in the news and raised questions about the… In the later 20th century, the Indian government, which administers the Andaman and Nicobar islands archipelago to which North Sentinel ... Read More »

North Sentinel Island: uncontacted tribes’ ‘right to be left alone’ doesn’t gel with broader human rights

John Allen Chau knew he might die. The 26-year-old US evangelical missionary was killed, in late November, on North Sentinel Island, by members of the indigenous community that he sought to convert to Christianity. Karolina Follis The Conversation He saw this as his life’s mission – and understood the risks. North Sentinel Island is part of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It is home to the Sentinelese people, who are among the world’s last uncontacted tribes – ... Read More »

Detained and in danger: The tortured Australian families who fear for their missing loved ones

Increasingly helpless and desperate, Uighurs building new lives in Australian suburbs feel compelled to go public with their stories and identities despite the risks. Fergus Hunter The Age The security agents came for Adeham Abliz late on a Thursday night. That day, September 8, 2016, had been much like any other in the 59-year-old Uighur man’s life in the city of Ghulja in north-western China. Abliz, a shopkeeper, had performed his five daily prayers, starting with fajr at dawn through ... Read More »

A county in Idaho offered Spanish-language ballots for the first time and here’s what happened

On the morning of Election Day, the top trending search on Google was “donde votar,” which means “where to vote” in Spanish. Gabe Osterhout The Conversation Voter access to the polls was a major issue during the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S. Charges of voter suppression were made in in Georgia and North Dakota. Critics of new voting rules claimed they disenfranchised African-Americans and Native Americans. While those problems were extensively covered by the press, less attention was paid ... Read More »

Indigenous groups slam ‘pathetic, divisive’ Hanson for land rights comments

Pauline Hanson thinks Indigenous people “milk” the issue of land rights and the One Nation Senator says it really annoys her. Nick Baker SBS Indigenous organisations have slammed One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for making “ridiculous” and “divisive” comments around land rights. On Sunday, Ms Hanson blasted Indigenous groups for “milking” land rights claims. Senator Hanson told Sky News she gets upset when Australia is referred to as Aboriginal land, arguing “I didn’t steal it”. “This is what’s happened in the… Indigenous ... Read More »

Why believing in ghosts can make you a better person

Halloween is a time when ghosts and spooky decorations are on public display, reminding us of the realm of the dead. Tok Thompson The Conversation But could they also be instructing us in important lessons on how to lead moral lives? Roots of Halloween The origins of modern-day Halloween go back to “samhain,” a Celtic celebration for the beginning of the dark half of the year when, it was widely believed, the realm between the living and the dead overlapped and ghosts ... Read More »

Xinjiang top official defends Uighur ‘internment camps’

The top official in China’s Xinjiang region has given the most detailed description yet of the alleged use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims. BBC In an interview with state media, Shohrat Zakir said the “vocational education” centres were proving effective in staving off terrorism. He said “trainees” were grateful for the opportunity to change their ways and make their lives more “colourful”. China’s massive security crackdown in Xinjiang has sparked widespread alarm. Rights groups say Muslims are being detained ... Read More »

EU human rights defenders alarmed at Ukraine’s surge in religious discrimination

European human rights organizations are concerned about the predicament of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church believers MOSCOW, September 28 / TASS European human rights organizations are concerned about the predicament of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church believers, Bishop Victor of Baryshevka, a vicar of the Kiev Diocese, said on Friday in an interview with the Church’s Information Department, following a Warsaw meeting of the Organization for Security and… “This year, a great number of international organizations focused on the… EU human rights… Read More »