Tag Archives: intellectuals

Afghanistan News | Religious Scholars

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.
Read

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)

Turkey News | Advocates & Critics

Turkey halts activities of 370 NGOs as “purge” continues
  • Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned the activities of hundreds of organizations, including human rights and children’s organizations, arrested opposition lawmakers, and shuttered more than 100 media organizations on charges of collusion with terrorists.
  • Of the suspended, 153 were allegedly connected to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen (whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup), 190 with Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 19 to far-left militant group DHKP-C, and 8 to the Islamic State.
  • More than 100,000 in the military, police, political administration, journalism, and academia have lost their jobs and tens of thousands have been arrested, prompting condemnation from human rights monitors and warnings from foreign governments.

Read more:
Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens” (Reuters)
Erdogan Renews Putsch Purge With Targets in Media, Academia” (Bloomberg)
Erdogan’s ‘One-Man Regime’ Sacks 10,000, Closes Kurdish Media” (teleSUR English)

Global News | Uyghur Muslims

Uyghur activist wins prestigious human rights award
  • Chinese scholar Ilham Tohti, famed as a moderate bridge between Uyghur and Han Chinese cultures, was awarded the Martin Ennals Award, a human rights prize awarded by a jury including representatives from organizations such as Amnesty International.
  • Tohti is a prominent advocate for Uyghur rights and visibility, including drawing attention to the oppression of Uyghurs by the Chinese government in Xinjiang.
  • The Chinese government sentenced Tohti to life in prison in 2014, accusing him of ties to terrorism and promoting dissidence in the country.

Read more:
Ilham Tohti 2016 Martin Ennals Award Laureate for Human Rights Defenders (Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders)
Ilham Tohti, Uighur imprisoned for life by China, wins major human rights prize” (The Guardian)
Chinese Uighur wins prestigious rights award” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Andy Wong/AP, via The Guardian)

ClimateWatch | Turkey

ClimateWatch
Turkey’s “Purge”

The recent attempted coup by a faction within Turkey’s military has left the country in the throes of uncertainty, further increasing citizens’ and human rights watchdogs’ already pronounced concerns about the future of civil liberties in Turkey. Ground zero for the attempted overthrow of the government were Ankara and Istanbul, home to journalists overrun on the air by military forces and ordinary citizens called into the streets by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan via FaceTime.

Daylight illuminated the deaths of nearly 300, the wounds of the 1,400 injured, and the beginning of a so-called “purge” that has further endangered groups already vulnerable under Erdogan’s regime: political critics, journalists, and intellectuals. Women, too, found themselves targeted amidst the instability, and Turkish Kurds worry that the aftermath will further heighten anti-Kurd sentiment.

But the coup attempt and retaliation are only the latest in Turkey’s security woes. Terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Ankara, conflict with Kurdish militants and pro-Kurd advocates, ongoing intimidation and blackouts of journalists and political dissidents, and a regional refugee crisis have upended the tenuous stability in the country secured through a 2013 ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While the restoration of Erdogan’s government was seen as a victory for democracy, Turks and observers alike fear what measures Erdogan, already intolerant of dissent, will take in its wake.

Here is a look at coverage of the destabilizing security situation for at-risk communities in Turkey: Continue reading ClimateWatch | Turkey

Turkey News | Press Advocates

Three press rights advocates arrested in Turkey
  • Erol Onderoglu (Reporters Without Borders), Sebnem Korur Fincanci (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey), and Ahmet Nesin (author) were charged with spreading terrorist propaganda.
  • Now held in pre-trial detention, the three guest-edited an edition of Ozgur Kundem, a pro-Kurdish rights newspaper subjected to multiple investigations and lawsuits as part of the government’s crackdown on Kurdish separatist groups and their supporters.
  • President Tayyip Erdogan has come under international fire for his campaign against critical journalism in Turkey, which has seen journalists imprisoned, television stations taken off the air, and publications seized and shuttered.

Read more:
Turkey arrests raise further concerns over press freedom” (AP via The Guardian)
Reporters Without Borders representative, two others jailed in Turkey” (Committee to Protect Journalists)
Turkey arrests three prominent press-freedom campaigners” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Bangladesh News | Hindus

Hindu teacher attacked as Bangladesh cracks down on Islamist militants
  • Ribon Chakraborty, a college math teacher, survived a machete attack by three assailants in his home in Madaripur.
  • The government reported that the three attackers were a part of the banned group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
  • More than 11,000 have been arrested across the country in the last week, including political dissidents, as security forces have begun taking extensive action to combat the targeted killings of minorities that have left more than 30 dead since 2015.

Read more:
Hizb ut-Tahrir men hacked Madaripur teacher” (Dhaka Tribune)
Bangladesh Hindu teacher’s attacker killed in shootout” (Reuters)
194 Held in Bangladesh Mass Arrests May Have Militant Ties, Police Say” (The New York Times)

Iran News | Dual Citizens

Canadian-Iranian arrested in Iran as detentions of dual citizens continue
  • Homa Hoodfar, an anthropology professor at Concordia University in Montreal, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Tehran.
  • Her family indicated that she had been detained and transferred to Iran’s notorious Evin prison on unspecified charges following extended interrogation.
  • Iran, which doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, has imprisoned a growing number of dual nationals traveling from abroad in recent years under allegations of espionage and foreign collaboration.

Read more:
Canadian-Iranian professor arrested in Tehran by Revolutionary Guards” (The Guardian)
Arrest of Homa Hoodfar in Iran Shines Light on Dangers for Dual Citizens” (The New York Times)
Concordia University prof jailed in Iran’s Evin prison, family says” (CBC News)

(Image Credit: Amanda Ghahremani/Associated Press, via The New York Times)