On November 29, the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), Italy, and the Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), Belgium, hosted a seminar on human rights entitled ‘Intolerance and Discrimination Against New Religious Movements: An International Problem’.This seminar, held in Seoul, South Korea, was devoted to the protection of the rights of religious minorities targeted by the majority groups, particularly in the context of anti-human rights situations such as the forced conversions that occurred in Korea.Forced conversion, also known as ‘deprogramming’, involves kidnapping and detaining the members of religious groups—labeled as “cults” by their opponents---in order to compel them to abandon their faith. It is a social issue that causes human rights violations.More than 80 participants including legal experts, journalists, and civil society representatives reviewed the current situation of forced … [Read more...] about Seminar on freedom of faith and human rights held by CESNUR and HRWF
Defending religious freedom
On Dec 3rd local time, the US House of Representatives passed the so-called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019". This bill deliberately smears the human rights condition in Xinjiang, slanders China's efforts in de-radicalization and counter-terrorism and viciously attacks the Chinese government's Xinjiang policy. Such malicious attack on Chinese government's Xinjiang policies and the unethical practices of distorting facts seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, and grossly interferes in China's internal affairs. Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism. Since the 1990s, elements of terrorist, separatist and extremist forces launched several thousand terrorist attacks there, causing loss of life to and damaging the property of people of all ethnic groups, and trampling upon the basic human rights. However, some US politicians just turned a blind … [Read more...] about China allows no one to back terrorist forces
Riyadh: Restaurants in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to maintain entrances segregated by sex, the authorities said on Sunday, further eroding some of the world's strictest social rules as sweeping reforms take hold. Previously, Saudi Arabia required all restaurants to have one entrance for families and women, and another for men on their own. The ministry of municipalities and rural affairs announced on Twitter this would no longer be mandatory. Unrelated men and women have for decades been barred from mixing in public places under strict social rules once enforced by hardline clerics and the religious police. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has brought the religious establishment to heel — partly by arresting critics — and eased other restrictions, including bans on women driving and public entertainment. Segregation has quietly eased over the past year or so, as eateries, cafes, conference centres and concert halls stopped strictly enforcing it. A spokesman for … [Read more...] about As Part of Sweeping Reforms, Saudi Arabia Ends Gender-segregated Entrances for Restaurants
U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images A telling exchange took place on Friday after the Ilhan Omar dustup in West Virginia. When asked to comment on a poster that was displayed in the Capitol rotunda on “WVGOP Day,” which depicted the Muslim congresswoman beneath a photograph of the World Trade Center on fire, captioned, “‘Never forget,’ you said … I am the proof — you have forgotten,” delegate Dianna Graves invoked the First Amendment. “My issue with what I saw outside has to do with another truly American foundational issue, and that’s freedom of speech,” the Republican said, according to the Washington Post. “So, while I may not agree with everything that is out there, I do agree that freedom of speech is something that we have to protect, even if we don’t agree with it.” This was a total non sequitur. No one had … [Read more...] about The Shield of Free Speech
The winter holidays are right around the corner. Soon, many Americans will gather around the table with family and friends to give thanks for abundant blessings and freedoms as they indulge in a surfeit of delicious traditional foods. Leftovers will last for days. In December, people of different faiths and traditions will celebrate religious or cultural holidays – enjoying more festive and plentiful food and the added indulgence of gift-giving. This season can leave many of us feeling stuffed and uncomfortable – in more ways than one. As you plan for this “season of excess,” consider a few eye-opening facts: Over Halloween, Americans spent $490 million on costumes for pets, $3.2 billion on costumes for people, and $2.6 billion on candy treats. Billions more were spent on decorations. In November and December, Americans are expected to spend $730 billion on holiday buying of gifts (often unneeded or unwanted), food, greeting cards and wrapping paper. The 2.65 … [Read more...] about On Philanthropy: Suffering from seasonal gluttony syndrome? Here’s a cure.
The sorites paradox is concerned with the question of when an object ceases to be an object. To demonstrate, a hypothetical mound of sand is depleted one grain at a time: at what point, after which grain, does the mound of sand cease to be a mound at all? This paradox is what now defines the status of those migrants to the UK who have traditionally voted Conservative, and the party loyalties of their children. I often think of the depleting mound whenever the chancellor, Sajid Javid, appears, frantically trying to justify another racially suspect Conservative policy by pointing to his own brown existence within the party. I am sure that, at one point, Javid thought he was promoting a legitimate defence of the party he joined as an idealistic upwardly mobile Ayn Rand-loving student in the 1980s. In contrast, he has been tasked with defending today’s party against claims of Islamophobia, racism and draconian policies such as citizenship-stripping. At what point does Javid cease to … [Read more...] about Many migrants once voted Tory. Now their loyalty is fading fast