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Islam and Human Rights

The Slow Death of Free Speech
Mark Steyn

As it happens, the biggest ‘safe space’ on the planet is the Muslim world. For a millennium, Islamic scholars have insisted, as firmly as a climate scientist or an American sophomore, that there’s nothing to debate. And what happened? As the United Nations Human Development Programme’s famous 2002 report blandly noted, more books are translated in Spain in a single year than have been translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years. Free speech and a dynamic, innovative society are intimately connected: a culture that can’t bear a dissenting word on race or religion or gender fluidity or carbon offsets is a society that will cease to innovate, and then stagnate, and then decline, very fast. As American universities, British playwrights and Australian judges once understood, the ‘safe space’ is where cultures go to die…..

 

Freedom to Offend Everyone
Nesrine Malik

The defence of free speech often hides a multitude of sins. Since Brandeis University withdrew an honor it had intended to bestow on the author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, many have flocked to her defence in the name of free expression — no matter how offensive. But implicitly they are suggesting that Islam and Muslims are worthy targets of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s scorn. And their preciousness about the right to offend won’t be credible until they advocate extending it beyond Islamophobes — to racists, anti-Semites and homophobes, too....

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) has passed a resolution in a public gathering in Khwaja Khela against the construction of military cantonments in Swat. Earlier, Aza Khel Qaumi Jirga, Nikpa Khel and Swat Qaumi Jirga had also unanimously opposed this decision. Mehmood Khan Achakzai leader PMAP has reportedly conveyed the opposition of local population to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif against this ill-advised plan which shall seriously impact the climate and productivity of the entire region....

 

Brandeis University Bows to Islamism
Farzana Hassan

It is time to protect the long-cherished ideal of free, critical thought, which the West has fought for through many of its own convulsions. It is time to formulate a cogent response to Islamist assaults on freedom of speech and to implement it in an unflinching manner…..

Labour Enslavement and the Application of Law in Saudi Arabia
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

All we know so far is that the poor shepherd arrived in Saudi Arabia on a contract with the stockyard’s owner who only paid the former around $300 of his wages, prevented him from travelling to see his family and did not even allow him to call them. The Indian worker could not escape because the stockyard was in the middle of the an-Nafud desert and he was afraid he would get lost and die if he tried to escape....

 

The Iranian regime's execution campaign demonstrates that any form of Arab civic organisation in Iran is portrayed as terrorism, enabling it to impose the death penalty. Ahwazi Arab activists maintain this is part of the regime's campaign of ethnic cleansing against indigenous ethnic Arabs. Unfortunately, endemic anti-Arab racism has meant that the Ahwazi cause has been alienated by some so-called "opposition" groups.....

 

Executions Surge In Iran - Evidence Of Rowhani's ‘Moderate’ Rule?
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Nevertheless, every report independently conducted by human rights watch groups; the United Nations, Amnesty International as well as the official statistical numbers revealed by the Iranian government, indicate not only that Rowhani has not delivered on his promises (not even keeping the status of human rights similar to that of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s era), but that the condition of human rights has significantly worsened in Iran…..

 

Saudi Arabia's Human Rights 'Rebrand' Is Fooling No One
Nesrine Malik

It's not surprising that these moves are being greeted with scepticism. The report comes after some terrible press for the Saudi royal family, and the king in particular. One of the king's ex-wives has appealed to western media organisations to intercede in the case of her three daughters, allegedly virtually imprisoned in the royal compound by their father in Saudi Arabia......

Human Rights as State of Grace: Against Terrorism and Secular Nationalism
Khaled Abou El Fadl

Very much like in the Christian tradition, in the Islamic intellectual tradition there was an earlier intellectual battle between those who believed that the notion of right and wrong exists in a primordial and transcendent essence, and that it was not dependent upon a divine command, and those who made the locus of the existence of natural right - what they used to call al-Husn (beauty) versus al-Qubh (ugliness), very much like the idea of dark and light - to be the divine command and not anything beyond the divine command. These two factions battle it out throughout Islamic history and, as often happens, eventually both factions are completely swept up by the political trends of the day……

The Sufis asked for the return of two of their imprisoned members, Farshid Yadollahi and Reza Entesari, who has been summarily removed from Evin to Rajai-Shahr. They further demanded that Saeed Madani, an Iranian sociologist and member of the dissident Nationalist-Religious Front, be brought back from Rajai-Shahr, where he too had been shifted. Madani has been in jail since 2000. The Sufis also appealed for improvements in medical care for prisoners……

 

According to AP, the case stems from an email sent to the United Nations and The Sunday Times of London, which published a story saying two daughters of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia — Princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38 — had appealed for help claiming they and their sisters have been held for 13 years in the royal compound…..

 

Human Rights Situation in Iran Has Not Improved Substantially 8 Months after the Election of a Moderate President, Speakers Point Out at a Side-Event in UNHRC at Geneva
Milica Javdan Chairwoman,IWA in Norway

Ms. Milica Javdan:  The theocratic dictatorship ruling Iran is misogynist to its very core and relies on oppression in order to stay in power. What we consider subordination of woman, they consider the divine order of things and any claims to the contrary is severely punished as heresy.  So it is not enough to put the finger on the escalating number of executions and street arrest to warn of the treat the mullahs pose to humanity. If the mullahs were to abandon misogyny, the ruling theocracy would surely collapse. So, what do they do? They resort to misinformation instead. In order to present themselves as moderates while at the same time curbing the will of the people in their iron fist, they hide behind cultural and religious differences as a means of escape. When criticized for inequality and injustice in the Iranian penal code, they claim Iranian Islamic culture and society has a different view on these issues.

 

Indonesia and the Act of Forgetting
Andreas Harsono

The Islamic People’s Forum, the Islamic Defenders Front and other Islamic groups are at the forefront of this intolerance. These groups have attacked the places of worship of Shiite and Ahmadiyah Muslims as well as some Christian churches. Although government officials and security forces have played a passive, or even active, role in such violence, Mr. Yudhoyono’s government has failed to confront those responsible or to obtain any redress for the victims…..

 

The Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi: 600 Lashes for Expressing Opinions

He was, however, critical of the Wahhabi religious establishment, its medieval control of society and its religious police, who instil fear in Saudi citizens. He also warned of the dangers of the extremism generated in Saudi universities, stating – and quite rightly one should add – that Imam Mohamed ibn Saud University had become a "den for terrorists" and asked simple questions, such as why Valentine's Day is banned in Saudi Arabia…..

Hamas: Teaching Human Rights is Against Palestinian, Islamic Culture
Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas' real problem with the UNRWA curriculum is that it could spoil the Islamist movement's ongoing efforts to stir the hearts and minds of Palestinian children to wage jihad against the "enemies" of Islam. Hamas wants Palestinian children to be taught how to become suicide bombers and seek the death of Jews and "infidels."….

What If The Arab World Committed To Human Rights?
Jamal Khashoggi

Dozens of Arab commentators and authors have rationalised their statements by referring to a quote attributed to British Prime Minister David Cameron: “Don’t [talk] to me about human rights when my country’s national security is under threat.” This is how they justified human rights’ violations in their countries. None of them bothered to apologize after it was confirmed that Cameron did not say that. And perhaps they even have the audacity to say: “It may be false but its meaning is true.”….

Deported To a War Zone on the Altar of Saudisation
Laura Moth

“There is the Philippines room, the Ethiopia room, the Sudan room, the Somalia room. You don't want to go to the Somalia room.” These words of welcome were from the sole English-speaking guard at the Riyadh detention centre where I was held before being deported in 2012. If the place had a name it would have been the King Khalid International Airport Ladies Detention Centre…..

 

The new constitution has a provision that makes the state “the protector of religion” and requires it to prohibit “offenses to the sacred.” However, Tunisia should not negate the clear right in article 31 to “freedom of opinion, thought, expression, information and publication.” Article 49 states that authorities may restrict public freedoms only if those restrictions are allowed by law and are “necessary to a civil and democratic state and with the aim of protecting the rights of others….

 

Contract Slavery: Dependent On Remittance Payments From Gulf, Ethiopia Has Remained Mute To The Vicious Mistreatment Of Its Citizens In Saudi Arabia
Vijay Prashad

With its economy dependent on remittance payments from the Gulf region, Ethiopia has remained mute to the vicious mistreatment of its citizens in Saudi Arabia, which is cynically targeting migrant labourers in order to quell growing unrest among its poor citizens....

 

Abolition of Slavery, Including Sex Slavery in Islam (The Qur’an)
Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

The Qur’an was revealed at a time, the early seventh century of the Christian era, when the world at large was in a state of Jahiliya - an Arabic word that denotes a state of darkness and gloom (Zulumat) when the notion of universal justice had not evolved, punishments were arbitrary, the common man was bullied, oppressed and exploited, slavery was normative and, women were treated like chattel and brutalized, to cite the major vices of the era. The Qur’an came to bring humanity out of darkness into light (2:257, 14:1, 57:9), and to lift the burden that was on them from before (7:157). Since slavery was at the root of many of societal evils, it had to be eradicated to pave the way for its quantum reforms....

Human Responsibilities and Human Rights
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Muslims must adopt a two-point formula: of education and Sabr, or patience. Education is the source of intellectual awakening and enlightenment. Sabr means realistic planning. When you save yourself from reaction, when you are able to exercise patience in the face of difficult situations, when you are awakened intellectually, you are able to assess the situation objectively, and you can then chalk-out your approach and strategy on positive lines.....

Caught In the Cross-Fire
Ramzy Baroud

A worst-case scenario is unfolding in Syria, and Palestinian refugees, particularly in the Yarmouk refugee camp, are paying a heavy price for Syria’s cruelest war. They are starving, although there can be no justification, nor logistical explanation for why they are dying from hunger….

Locked In Winter in Kabul
Kathy Kelly

As many as 35,000 displaced persons are now living in the slum areas in Kabul alone. “Conflict affects more Afghans now than at any point in the last decade,” according to Amnesty International's 2012 report, Fleeing War, Finding Misery. “The conflict has intensified in many areas, and fighting has spread to parts of the country previously deemed relatively peaceful. The surge in hostilities has many obvious consequences, among them that families and even entire communities flee their homes in search of greater security….

 

The Human Right to Live Without Terror
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Religious ideology is based on the relationship between man and God. On the other hand, the ideology behind present terrorist movements is based on what can be called a ‘man-versus-man’ concept. It is this ‘man-versus-man’ activism that results in violence and terror. Contrary to this, activism based on the relationship between Man and God produces love and peace in society. This is not a passive attitude. Rather, it is activism in the complete sense of the word…..

 

Silently hanging over our civilised debate was violence like the murder of Theo van Gogh, maker of the film Submission, and the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai. Salman Rushdie, on whom a mortal fatwa was imposed in 1989, was mentioned in the introduction by the chair, Simon Longstaff. Badar queried whether the Western world was really in a position to lecture others about violence, citing the killing of little girls in Afghanistan by drones bombing their homes on top of them…..

 
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