Iraq Feature | Ethnic & Religious Minorities

The Unweaving of Mosul

As the battle rages between the Islamic State and a coalition of forces led by the Iraqi government for control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, many of the ethnic and religious minorities who called it home for generations fear the city will never again be the tolerant, culturally rich home it once was. Sunnis, Shiites, Yazidis, Christians, Kurds, Arabs, and others all coexisted in the vibrant cultural landscape of a city with both historical and contemporary significance, but the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq and the recent occupation of Mosul by the Islamic State have all but decimated the minority communities that called the city home. The New York Times takes a look at the city’s decline, the uncertainty of its future, and the stories of those who once flourished in a cosmopolitan city known for its diversity and tolerance.

Read:
In Once-Tolerant Mosul, a Social Unraveling That Feels Permanent” (The New York Times)

Additional reading:
Iraq: Can Mosul survive ISIL?” (Al Jazeera)

(Image Credit: Felipe Dana/Associated Press, via The New York Times)

China News | Pro-Democracy Politicians

Clashes erupt as newly elected pro-democracy officials in Hong Kong ousted by Beijing
  • As many as 10 newly elected members to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council may lose their seats as the Chinese government has declared that improperly declared oaths of office disqualify them from office.
  • The Chinese parliament passed a resolution removing two newly elected Hong Kong  officials for inserting a slur against China and a pledge to the “Hong Kong nation” in their oaths.
  • Thousands of protesters (including a large contingent of lawyers) took to the street, in demonstration against the government’s stance, clashing with police and denouncing increased intervention from Beijing into semi-autonomous Hong Kong’s affairs.

Read more:
8 More Pro-Democracy Lawmakers in Hong Kong May Lose Seats” (The New York Times)
Clashes, Pepper Spray in Hong Kong Amid Angry Protests Over China’s Intervention” (Radio Free Asia)
China moves to bar Hong Kong activists as fears grow over intervention” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Vincent Yu/Associated Press, via The New York Times)

Mexico News | LGBT

Mexican congressional committee rejects proposal to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples
  • President Enrique Peña Nieto’s office had asked for an amendment to the constitution to allow couples to marry irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.
  • The constitutional committee voted 19-8 (with one abstention) against allowing the proposal to proceed.
  • While same-sex marriage is permitted in several Mexican states and a judicial ruling declared marriage bans unconstitutional, the executive proposal was an attempt to secure marriage rights nationwide.

Read more:
Mexican congressional committee rejects Pena Nieto’s bid to legalize gay marriage” (Reuters)
Los diputados fulminan la propuesta de Peña Nieto de avalar el matrimonio igualitario” (El País, in Spanish)
Diputados desechan iniciativa de matrimonios gay” (El Universal, in Spanish)