Civil Liberties

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 »

Shocking video emerges after two women and child ‘racially abused’ on Melbourne train

Ugly footage has emerged after a woman allegedly verbally abused a mother and child over their religion on a Melbourne train before yanking the hijab off a passenger who tried to help. Joe Hinchliffe The Age Fahima Adan, 20, appeared on Nine News on Sunday night sporting bruises and scratches on her arm following the incident which occurred shortly after midday on Saturday on a train from Dandenong, ending in the arrest of a… Ms Adan, from Dandenong, said she ... Read More »

How Viktor Orban degraded Hungary’s weak democracy

The roots of democracy in Hungary are shallow. John Shattuck The Conversation That’s been especially clear in the last nine years, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban has created a repressive and increasingly authoritarian state, operating under a pretense of democracy. In recent weeks the political situation has become volatile. By early 2019 the Hungarian government was the target of a series of major demonstrations in Budapest and other Hungarian cities. A flash point was a new labor law allowing employers ... Read More »

Rahaf and Hakeem: why has one refugee captured the world’s attention while another is left in jail?

When it comes to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun and Hakeem al-Araibi, the reasons are varied but likely include the age-old non-science of what makes news and what doesn’t Helen Davidson The Guardian Australia, Thailand and the Gulf states have been inextricably linked in two global news stories lately, when two young people faced being forcibly returned to the places and people they fled simply because they happened to step foot in Bangkok. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman, was on ... Read More »

Erdogan’s war on workers

Turkey’s crackdown on dissent extends to the country’s fractured labor movement. Cole Stangler Le Monde Diplomatique If the presence of a two dozen riot cops blocking the entrance of the Gaziosmanpaşa Courthouse didn’t send the message, then the arrival of a water-cannon truck—slowly backing up from the… Eyüp Özer, an organizer and head of international relations at Turkey’s United Metalworkers Union, which is part of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), shrugged off the… ‘It’s not that unusual,’ he ... Read More »

Thai court rejects bid to block deportation of Saudi woman

A Thai court Monday rejected an attempt to block the deportation of a Saudi woman who made a desperate plea for asylum, saying she feared for her life after escaping an abusive family. BANGKOK – AFP Hurriyet Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun told AFP she ran away from her family while travelling in Kuwait because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse. The 18-year-old said she had planned to travel to Australia and seek asylum there, and feared she would be killed if ... Read More »

Fraser Anning slammed for attending St Kilda far-Right rally

Labor leader Bill Shorten has joined Prime Minister Scott Morrison in condemning the far-Right extremists who participated in a wild rally in St Kilda on… Annika Smethurst, Brianna Travers, Kaitlyn Offer and Anthony Galloway, Sunday Herald Sun “In the corrosive and fragmented climate of public debate, it’s become unfortunately common for some to seek out attention by picking on minorities, the less powerful, by attacking in the most vile terms, normally someone who… “Here and around the world, right-wing extremists ... Read More »

Belgium Bans Religious Slaughtering Practices, Drawing Praise and Protest

BRUSSELS — A Belgian ban on the Muslim and Jewish ways of ritually slaughtering animals went into effect on New Year’s Day, part of a clash across Europe over the balance between animal welfare and… Milan Schreuer The New York Times With both animal rights advocates and right-wing nationalists pushing to ban ritual slaughter, religious minorities in Belgium and other countries fear that they are the targets of bigotry under the guise of … “It is impossible to know the ... 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 »

Competitive elections are good for democracy – just not every democracy

The 2018 U.S. midterm elections were fierce, expensive and full of upsets, with political newcomers ousting long-tenured incumbents and Democrats unseating Republicans to retake the House of Representatives. Authors: The Conversation That makes them an exemplary democratic exercise from a political science standpoint: American voters booted the congressional representatives who they believed did not fight for their interests. That’s exactly what elections are meant to do: Hold politicians accountable. But it doesn’t work that way everywhere. In younger democracies, our ... Read More »

Lakhs Join Hands For Kerala’s ‘Women’s Wall’, Initiative Attacked In Kasaragod

State health minister KK Shylaja led the chain at Kasargod while senior CPM leader Brinda Karat was the last person at the end of the chain in Thiruvananthapuram. HuffPost Lakhs of women participated in the 620 km-long ‘Women’s wall’, organised by the Kerala government, which stretched from the northern tip of the state in Kasaragod to the southern end in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. State health minister KK Shylaja led the chain at Kasaragod while senior CPM leader Brinda Karat was ... Read More »

Khashoggi, other journalists honored at Times Square

Injecting a somber note into the festivities, the NewYork City’s Times Square Alliance, the business association that organizes the famous New Year’s Eve party, paid a special tribute to freedom of the press, after a… New York Hurriyet Karen Attiah, who edited the Washington Post columns of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was killed inside a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, was among the invitees. Mr. Holt of NBC, Alisyn Camerota of CNN, Vladimir Duthiers of CBS, Jon Scott of Fox News, editors from The Wall Street ... 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 »

North Korea defector hack: Personal data of almost 1,000 leaked

Almost 1,000 North Korean defectors have had their personal data leaked after a computer at a South Korean resettlement centre was hacked, the unification ministry said. BBC A personal computer at the state-run centre was found to have been “infected with a malicious code”. The ministry said this is thought to be the first large-scale information leak involving North Korean defectors. The hackers’ identity and the origin of the cyber-attack is not yet confirmed. The North Gyeongsang resettlement centre is ... Read More »

What Populists Do to Democracies

According to our research, populist governments have deepened corruption, eroded individual rights, and inflicted serious damage on democratic institutions. Yascha Mounk Jordan Kyle The Atlantic When Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election in October to the consternation of the country’s traditional political elite, commentators were sharply divided about the implications. Some warned that Bolsonaro, a far-right populist who has openly expressed admiration for the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985, presented a clear and present threat ... Read More »

2018: The year in figures and charts

BY THE NUMBERS Telling the story of the last 12 months through data. By ARNAU BUSQUETS GUÀRDIA Politico What a tremendous, nebulous year. Very much like last year, 2018 was full of endless Brexit drama. And endless Trump drama. And then there was some more Brexit drama. And some more Trump drama. But hey, other stuff happened too (right?). The French proved that they are still the global champions of street protests, the far right grabbed headlines across the Continent and Angela ... Read More »