Hong Kong immigrants now constitute part of the largest ethnic minority in Northern Ireland after weathering the Troubles
- Numbering between 6,000 and 8,000, Chinese immigrants are Northern Ireland’s largest minority, with the mostly Cantonese-speaking Hongkongers comprising around three-quarters of those immigrants.
- The immigrants began arriving just before the start of Northern Ireland’s three decades of ethno-political conflict, remaining religiously neutral during the conflict that turned sectarian at times.
- Now, residents thrive as restauranteurs, students, and politicians, including the UK’s first East Asian elected to a legislative body, and the Belfast Chinese Christian Church stands as a pillar of the growing Chinese evangelical community.
Read the full story at EJInsight.
(Image Credit: Mark O’Neill/EJI)
Singapore releases teenage blogger convicted of obscenity and offending religious sensibilities
- Amos Yee, 16, was convicted and sentenced to four weeks of detention, which he had already served during his 50 days spent in jail.
- Yee had criticized revered former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew–considered the founding father of Singapore–with a video celebrating his death, comments decrying Christianity, and an image of depicting Lee and former British PM Margaret Thatcher in a sex act.
- Prosecutors did not pursue reformative training for the youth, which could have led to detention for up to 18 months, but the case drew international attention for its surfacing of Singapore’s restrictive policies on personal expression.
Read the full story at the New York Times.
Russian Muslim converts feel the sting of Islamophobia as the government cracks down on the community
- Among Russia’s 16 to 20 million Muslims are ethnic Russians who have converted to Islam for reasons ranging from marriage to economics to theology.
- Because converts are statistically more likely to convert to more conservative sects of Islam, the government cracks down on their activity, causing many to emigrate to Turkey, the UAE, and, for the radicalized, the Islamic State.
- The deep historical roots of the Russian Orthodox Church in the country has led to a post-Soviet national identity centered on the faith, which has led to an association of religious conversion with anti-Kremlin activity.
“Lawyers who were to speak about our problem with the authorities, they said that the first thing to do was to explain to the Turkish government that there is a group of ethnic Russian Muslims, because no one has the slightest idea of this. We know Tatars, Chechens; we know that Dagestanis of various ethnicities are killed, but that there are suppressed Russians and that you actually have a large ethnic group, we don’t know about this.”
Read the full story at the New York Times.
(Image Credit: Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times)
New poll indicates significant support in Northern Ireland for legalization of same-sex marriage
- The latest Ipsos MORI poll indicates 68% of adults in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriage, even higher than the 62.1% in favor in the Republic of Ireland at the time of its recently passed marriage referendum.
- Support is highest among 16- to 34-year-olds at 82%, while 75% of those between 35 and 54 and 47% of those over 50 expressed favor.
- Northern Ireland remains the only country in the British Isles where same-sex marriage is still illegal, with the constituent components of the U.K. left to establish their own marriage laws.
“The people have spoken and it’s clear they don’t want Northern Ireland to be left behind on marriage equality. … Continuing resistance to bringing Northern Ireland in step with all our neighbours is unacceptable. It’s high time Northern Ireland said a big ‘we do too’ to equality.”
Read the full story at the Belfast Telegraph.
(Image Credit: Kevin Scott/Presseye, via The Belfast Telegraph)
Sex-selective abortion continues to skew demographics and create oppressive conditions for women in parts of India
- The national average of births is 940 girls per 1,000 boys, while in some western states the number falls to as low as 871 per 1,000.
- Economic incentives compound cultural attitudes in the decision to abort, including the continued practice of dowry in rural areas despite its outlawing in 1961.
- The demographic disruption leads to increased oppression of women as they are trafficked to female-deficient areas, so new campaigns have led to increased numbers of girls in orphanages and public shaming of sex-selective aborters.
“People start planning their family in a rather regressive way – instead of counting their numbers, they start counting the children’s sex. What they want, they want. Anything else becomes collateral damage.”
Read the full story at Al Jazeera.
(Image Credit: Rafiq Maqbool/AP, via Al Jazeera)
Gender equality advocates campaign to remove marital status from Palestinian ID cards in the West Bank
- Women testify to facing harassment and discrimination when presenting their cards, including intrusive questioning from landlords while searching for housing rentals.
- Members of women’s rights groups launched a campaign in April petitioning for the removal of the status, with Sharia judges and other officials indicating openness to the change.
- The Ministry of the Interior has expressed support for the idea, but deflected responsibility for change to the Palestinian Legislative Council, which would have to create legislation for the removal to take effect.
“I experienced difficulty in finding a home to rent as a divorced woman. Landlords kept telling me, ‘You’re a woman, where are we supposed to find you to collect the rent?’”
(Image Credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters, via Al-Monitor)
Sardinia sees its own needy rallying to support newly arrived refugees
- After 90 refugees arrived in one town in the Carbonia-Iglesias province in the southwest of the island, residents quickly brought food, personal hygiene items, cigarettes, phone cards, and more in support.
- Youth unemployment in the province has soared to 73.9% following the collapse of the area’s coal mining industry and the closure of an aluminum factory.
- With employment prospects low for the new arrivals, the number of refugees has dwindled to 48 as they depart for places with better opportunity.
“The people here are the most wonderful I have ever met in my life. … My husband died during the crossing. I am pregnant and it is by the grace of God that we are here. But I need a transfer to a place that is more developed.”
Read the full story at The Local.
A decade after same-sex marriage legalized in Spain, couple faces ongoing familial insecurity as legal challenges to their parental rights continue
- The couple had twins via surrogacy in 2013, but Spain’s National Institute of Social Security (INSS) denied one of the fathers’ request for leave benefits specifically due to the method of conception.
- The administration argued that surrogate parenting is excluded from leave benefits for fathers because it entails none of the burdens that childbirth, adoption, or foster care do.
- Two years later, a court sided with the new parents, ordering the INSS to pay the couple the withheld benefits, and after an appeal led to an additional ruling in favor of the couple, the INSS is appealing to the Supreme Court.
«Está claro que yo no he parido ni adoptado a mis hijos, pero ¿cómo vamos a conciliar nuestra vida familiar y laboral? ¿Pretende el INSS que renuncie al cuidado de mis hijos o que renuncie a pagar mis facturas e hipoteca?»
Translation: “It’s clear that I haven’t given birth or adopted my sons, but how are we going to reconcile our family and work life? Does the INSS expect me to give up caring for my sons or give up paying my bills and mortgage?”
Read the full story at La Verdad (in Spanish).
(Image Credit: Pablo Sánchez/AGM, via La Verdad)
Boko Haram attacks on mosque, church, and other city spaces in central Nigeria bring death total to more than 250 over the last week
- A suicide bomber killed at least five when she entered a crowded Christian church in Jos, followed soon by two bombs exploding at a mosque and restaurant that killed 44 people.
- Boko Haram agents also returned to villages in the northeast, going on a rampage leading to villagers’ deaths, burning churches, and destroyed homes.
- The attacks come as the Islamic State, to which Boko Haram has expressed allegiance, has called for mayhem during the month of Ramadan.
Read the full story at the Guardian.
Anti-gay demonstration takes place in Nairobi ahead of Obama visit
- Dozens gathered in the Kenyan capital to protest LGBT rights and advocacy and warn President Obama against attempts to speak out on the issue in Kenya following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
- MP Irungu Kangata spoke outside of the Kenyan Parliament at the rally billed as pro-family.
- Rights activists have called on the U.S. president to show solidarity with their struggles in the country, setting the stage for conflict regardless of the president’s actions.
“We are telling Mr Obama when he comes to Kenya this month and he tries to bring the abortion agenda, the gay agenda, we shall tell him to shut up and go home.”
Read the full story at Reuters.
(Image Credit: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)
Italian mayors ban migrants from entering towns without health certificate
- The mayors of six cities in the northwest Savona province have outlawed entrance of migrants in their town unless certified as disease-free.
- Despite the lack of major disease outbreaks since the arrival of nearly 68,000 migrants in Italy this year, mayors have claimed concern over public health in order to avoid having to take in migrants and refugees.
- Community organizations have slammed the policies as discriminatory, with instances having taken place of Milan bus drivers declaring refusal to transport migrants because of so-called public health concerns.
“The law cannot be used in a discriminatory way, which is something local leaders should know.”
Read the full story at The Local.
High levels of femicide keep women’s security low in Central Mexico
- For every 100 women murdered in Mexico’s 31 states between 2008 and 2013, 14 of them took place in Mexico State (Edomex).
- The deaths occur in the context of an ongoing drug war that has seen more than 100,000 people killed or gone missing.
- Despite bodies turning up regularly in rivers and sewers, state authorities are reluctant to cooperate with requests for exact figures and at times will bury individuals found without allowing families to see the bodies.
“We are never alone. We try to go in groups wherever we go.”
Read the full story at Channel NewsAsia.
(Image Credit: Omar Torres/AFP, via Channel NewsAsia)
Turkish nationalists attack group of Korean tourists in Istanbul, believing them to be Chinese
- Members of the Istanbul chapter of Ülkü Ocaklari, a far-right Turkish nationalist group, broke off from demonstrations in solidarity against China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority to attack the tourists at the Topkapi Palace.
- The Koreans had been at the popular tourist attraction as part of a tour group, and police quickly dispersed the attackers using tear gas.
- Turkey has summoned its Chinese ambassador to discuss concerns over China’s constraint of Uyghur’s religious freedom, which has led to tension and violence in Xinjiang in the northwest of China.
Read the full story at the Hurriyet Daily News.