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Books and Documents

Islam and Human Rights

Lesser Hindus, Purer Pakistan: This is how Pakistan reacts to Dr Ramesh Kumar’s disclosures on ethnic cleansing in Pakistan
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

Member of National Assembly and head of Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Ramesh Kumar has said on the floor of the Assembly that no member belonging to minority sections in Pakistan is safe even as the government has completely failed to provide protection to their places of worship and religious scriptures. ... Since we have looked at Dr Ramesh Kumar’s statement through the prism of conspiracy against Islam and Pakistan, his statement is not important to us nor have we to be bothered about the least bit. As the proverbial good riddance, if every year five thousand Hindus (according to Dr. Ramesh Kumar) migrate to India from Pakistan, it is a good omen for the purification of the country. It is also a warning to other minority communities of the country that they should leave the God’s own country for their own good.

Detention without Trial Common in ‘Democratic’ Israel
Daoud Kuttab

Imagine being stopped at an Israeli checkpoint and being taken into custody. Then finding yourself in an Israeli jail for six months without charge or trial. After six months, the administrative order signed by a military commander is renewed. An Israeli military judge is presented a secret file which neither you nor your lawyer are allowed to see. Within minutes your nightmare is extended for another six months…..

 

Rouhani Is No 'Moderate' When it Comes to Human Rights
Irwin Cotler

The Iranian regime also incites hatred and violence against other religious and ethnic minorities, violating their political, social, religious, economic, cultural, linguistic and educational rights. Among other abuses, minority schools and houses of worship have been closed or destroyed, restrictions have been imposed on both the public and private use of minority languages, and members of minority groups -- including the Baloch, Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, and Christians -- have been imprisoned on spurious charges such as "spreading corruption on earth."….

 

The Road from Abu Ghraib: A Torture Story without a Hero or an Ending
Karen J Greenberg

It’s mind-boggling. Torture is still up for grabs in America. No one questions anymore whether the CIA water boarded one individual 83 times or another 186 times. The basic facts are no longer in dispute either by those who champion torture or those who, like myself, despise the very idea of it. No one questions whether some individuals died being tortured in American custody.  (They did.) No one questions that it was a national policy devised by those at the very highest levels of government. (It was.)….

 

Free Speech Founders without Judgment, Tolerance
Andrew Coyne

Really? So if someone were fired for speaking in favour of gay marriage, we'd be OK with that? If a university lecture on "rape culture" were shouted down by a bunch of frat boys, it would just be an interesting clash of perspectives? Or leave aside the hypotheticals: those federal scientists, forbidden by their employer from sharing their expertise on environmental issues? They should just find other work? Really?...

 

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....

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