Religion

Mike Pence issues rebuke to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi over ‘persecution’ of Rohingya Muslims

US Vice President Mike Pence has issued his strongest condemnation yet of Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims warning leader Aung San Suu Kyi that “persecution” by her country’s army was “without excuse.” Sophie Williams Evening Standard He met with the Myanmar leader on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore. While sitting next to the Myanmar leader, he said: “The violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without ... Read More »

Labour condemned for rise of antisemitism in UK – ‘Friends and neighbours are afraid’

THE ORGANISATION which represents Jews in Europe has discussed issuing a “collective expression of concern” over the rise of antisemitism in Britain linked to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Labour. David Maddox Express The annual conference of the European Jewish Association (EJA), with representatives from most countries on the continent, devoted a significant part of its first day to hear about the problems in Britain. Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, told delegates that since Mr Corbyn had become ... Read More »

Blasphemy law is repealed in Ireland, enforced in Pakistan – and a problem in many Christian and Muslim countries

The citizens of Ireland voted recently, in a nationwide referendum, to remove a clause from their constitution that had made blasphemy a criminal offense. Steve Pinkerton The Conversation Ireland’s now-defunct Defamation Act of 2009 prohibited the “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter.” Just last year, in fact, Irish police opened a brief investigation into whether comedian Stephen Fry had broken the law when he described God as “capricious, mean-minded, stupid” and “an utter maniac” during a televised interview. The case was closed, however, as the… ... Read More »

Australia calls on China to end its ‘alarming’ mass detention of Muslims

The Australian government has expressed “alarm” at China’s crackdown against Muslim minorities and called for an end to the detention of up to 1 million people in indoctrination… Fergus Hunter WAtoday, with Reuters In the strongest Australian intervention yet on the Chinese government campaign, officials delivered a statement at the United Nations highlighting reports that minority groups and… “Australia shares the UN [Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s] alarm at numerous reports of detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs ... Read More »

Muslims Surround Toronto Synagogues With Protective ‘Rings Of Peace’

“We want them to know that we will always be there for them.” Liz Haq HuffPost People from various faiths came together in a moving act of solidarity for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, as well as a show of strength and protection for Jewish people across Canada. Numerous “Rings of Peace” were formed around Toronto synagogues on Friday night and Saturday morning, made up of multi-faith worshippers standing shoulder-to-shoulder and ... Read More »

Asia Bibi blasphemy case: Husband pleads for asylum

The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada. BBC Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, said they were in great danger in Pakistan. The Supreme Court overturned Asia Bibi’s conviction on Wednesday, saying the case against her was based on flimsy evidence. Her acquittal sparked violent protests, and the government has now agreed to try to stop her leaving the country. On Saturday, ... Read More »

Pakistan Islamists block roads to protest acquittal of Christian

Karachi:  Pakistan’s ultra-Islamist party blocked roads in major cities for a third day on Friday in protest against the acquittal of a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations. The Age Reuters Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) said talks with the government have failed, and called upon its followers to get ready for a show down. “Talks have completely failed, Federal and provincial representatives and an Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Faiz took part in talks,” Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of TLP ... Read More »

A Flawed European Ruling on Free Speech

The European Court of Human Rights invoked “religious peace” as a reason to limit criticisms of the Prophet Muhammad. Simon Cottee The Atlantic According to dominant Islamic traditions, the Prophet Muhammad’s third wife Aisha was six years old at their marriage and nine at its consummation. Muslims, as Graeme Wood has pointed out, have debated the issue of Aisha’s age for a very long time, and critics of Islam seemingly can’t keep off the subject. In the fall of 2009, a woman referred to as ... Read More »

Asia Bibi: Pakistan court overturns blasphemy death sentence

Christian woman to be freed after being sentenced in 2010, accused of insulting the prophet Muhammad Memphis Barker The Guardian Pakistan’s supreme court has struck down the death sentence for blasphemy handed down to Christian woman Asia Bibi, in a long-delayed, landmark decision that has seen the judiciary praised for its bravery in the face of threats of violence and protest from the country’s Islamist groups. The court, in a three-member bench led by chief justice Saqib Nisar, released the ... Read More »

Religion and refugees are deeply entwined in the US

Robert Bowers lashed out at what he believed to be a Jewish plot to bring more refugees and asylum seekers to the U.S. before allegedly murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Stephanie J. Nawyn The Conversation Bowers’s claim that HIAS, a prominent Jewish humanitarian organization, was bringing migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala northward to commit violence was false. But it is true that many religious communities in the U.S., including American Jews, have long supported refugees and asylum-seeking migrants who ... Read More »

Diarmaid Ferriter: Nuns’ side of story needs to be heard

Silence and selective recounting of history reinforces caricature of ‘bad nuns’ Diarmaid Ferriter The Irish Times Just what is the nuns’ story? That is a question I’ve often pondered when absorbing the revelations of recent years about Ireland’s reliance on institutions, the things that went on within them and the social, economic and cultural currents that… There has been much testimony from survivors of abuse and numerous declarations of sorrow from politicians reacting to the publication of the reports of ... Read More »

Assyrian Journalist Betrayed By the Indifference of the West Over Syria

Hasakah, Syria — Souleman Yusph, a Christian journalist and researcher specialising in minority issues, hails from Qamishli, a town in the Kurdish-controlled north-eastern region of Syria. AINA He spoke to AsiaNews about his disappointment vis-à-vis the indifference of the West, especially the United States, who could exert pressure to defend Christians in Syria but instead shows that it does not care about them and their future. He also expressed fear of ending up again in the crosshairs of Kurdish authorities ... 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 »

China’s hidden camps

What’s happened to the vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang? BBC China stands accused of locking up hundreds of thousands of Muslims without trial in its western region of Xinjiang. The government denies the claims, saying people are willingly attending special ”vocational schools” which combat ”terrorism and religious extremism”. Now a BBC investigation has found important new evidence of the reality. Detention in the desert On 12 July 2015 a satellite swung over the rolling deserts and oasis cities of China’s vast ... Read More »

A portrait of Othello as a black Muslim tragic hero

Adaptation explores religious roots of Shakespeare’s Moor of Venice as director says play is warning about ‘otherising’. Aina Khan AlJazeera London, England – A new adaptation of Othello in the UK subtly interrogates the tragic hero’s religious identity, presenting to audiences the possibility that the Moor of Venice was a… Produced by the English Touring Theatre, there is an Arabic recitation in the opening scene and an image of Othello with his hands cupped in what is unmistakably a… “I was ... 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 »