Filipino Christians in Muslim-majority Marawi caught up in Mindanao violence
- Clashes between Islamist militants and Philippine soldiers in Marawi City have displaced as much as 90% of the city’s population.
- Militants have torched churches and reportedly taken hostages in the fight against the government, the extension of decades of conflict driven by increased Christian settlement in the region, the desire for more political autonomy by Moro (Muslim) liberation groups, and the rise of international terrorist organizations like the Islamic State.
- While the Philippine population as a whole is 90% Christian, Muslims comprise the majority of the population in Marawi City, located on the Philippines’ second-largest island, Mindanao.
“Christians caught up in Philippines’ urban battle with Islamists” (Reuters | May 2017)
“‘They kill defenceless people’: thousands flee Philippine city of Marawi” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Mindanao crisis: A city on fire” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Erik De Castro/Reuters)
Religious scholars in Afghanistan one of Taliban’s most frequent targets
- Over the last 16 years of war in the country, hundreds and perhaps thousands of ulema have been killed, although official numbers are difficult to track.
- Taliban members surveil sermons to monitor adherence to Taliban interpretations of sharia, both courting and threatening scholars to buttress their power across the nation’s provinces.
- Religious leaders note that the targeting of scholars is driven by anxiety over scholars’ influence on communities, a desire for ideological control, and the suppression of criticism.
“Taliban Target: Scholars of Islam” (The New York Times | May 2017)
“Religious scholar shot dead in eastern Afghanistan” (Andalou Agency | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times)
Reported hate crimes double in Manchester in aftermath of bombing
- Some 56 hate crimes were reported in the two days following the bombing in Manchester by a Briton of Libyan descent, a twofold increase over the 28 in the two previous days (the average amount, according to law enforcement).
- Incidents included bomb threats, intimidation, slurs, and racist graffiti across the city.
- Community members noted a significant number of incidents had gone unreported and expressed frustration at the expectation of apologizing on behalf of all Muslims while being subjected to anti-Muslim abuse.
“Manchester attack: Hate crime ‘doubles’ after incident” (BBC News | May 2017)
“Muslim leaders in Manchester report rise in Islamophobic incidents” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Manchester sees rise in hate crimes after attack” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters, via The Guardian)
Attackers connected to white supremacist groups kill 3, wound another in Oregon and Maryland
- In College Park, MD, black college senior Richard Collins III was stabbed and killed in an unprovoked attack by a 22-year-old white man on the University of Maryland-College Park campus.
- In Portland, OR, two white men were killed and another injured after intervening as a neo-Nazi white supremacist yelled anti-Muslim rhetoric at two Muslim women on a train.
- The attacks follow a number of high-profile incidents and an uptick in reported identity-based terrorism following the election of President Donald Trump, whose campaign was marked by anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric and a willingness to court and promote white-supremacist supporters.
“University of Maryland Fatal Stabbing Investigated by FBI as Possible Hate Crime” (NBC News | May 2017)
“Man shouting ‘anti-Muslim slurs’ fatally stabs two men in Portland” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Spread of Hate Crimes Has Lawmakers Seeking Harsher Penalties” (The New York Times | April 2017)
(Image Credit: via The Baltimore Sun)
More than 100 arrested and 2 publicly flogged as Indonesian authorities target gay men
- Jakarta police confirmed that 141 men had been rounded up at a sauna party and jailed, subject to pornography charges.
- In the conservative province of Aceh, two men, aged 20 and 23, were subject to public whippings after having been caught having sex, a new application of religious provincial law in a country that does not officially criminalize same-sex relations.
- Increased anti-gay sentiment in the country is seen as part of a rising wave of hardline Islamism in the country, which has in recent years been praised for its secular, relatively liberal social gains.
“Indonesian police arrest more than 140 men at alleged gay sauna party” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Two men publicly caned in Indonesia for having gay sex” (Reuters | May 2017)
“Indonesian men caned for gay sex in Aceh” (BBC News | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via BBC News)
Russia begins investigation into abduction, torture, and massacre of gay men in Chechnya
- Government officials reportedly launched an investigation as international pressure increased following reports from human rights organizations about the rounding up of gay men into camps.
- Gay Chechens have allegedly been held in extrajudicial detention and subjected to physical and psychological abuse including beatings, electroshock torture, outing to family, and murder.
- President Vladimir Putin was reportedly briefed by the country’s human rights ombudswoman and is set up for a showdown with Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of the republic.
“Russia investigates ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Chechnya’s anti-gay pogrom: Too much even for the Kremlin?” (The Christian Science Monitor | May 2017)
“‘They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me’” (Human Rights Watch | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Arden Arkman/AP, via The Christian Science Monitor)
More than two dozen Coptic Christians killed in attack in Egypt
- Gunmen killed at least 29 and wounded two dozen more in Minya Province while they were en route to a monastery in central Egypt.
- The Islamic State claimed responsibility, the latest in a series of attacks by the fundamentalist group on the religious minority that has left more than 100 dead since December 2016.
- Thousands mourned the dead at the Church of the Sacred Family in the village of Dayr Jarnous before beginning a defiant march expressing outrage and calling for retribution.
“Grief, rage in Egyptian church after Copts attacked by gunmen” (Reuters | May 2017)
“Gunmen in Egypt Force Coptic Christian Pilgrims From Buses and Kill 28” (The New York Times | May 2017)
“Egypt Coptic Christians: IS claims attack” (BBC News | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Amr Nabil/Associated Press, via The New York Times)