Tag Archives: Western Asia

Israel News | Incarcerated Palestinians

Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli facilities win increased visitation rights following hunger strike
  • Incarcerated Palestinians were granted a second visitation day per month following a 41-day hunger strike in the lead up to Ramadan and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s seizure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Nearly 1,000 protesters took part in the strike, which ended following a deal struck by Israeli prison officials, the Palestinian Authority, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • More than 6,000 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israeli prisons for offenses ranging from throwing stones to murder.
Read

Mass Palestinian hunger strike in Israeli jails ends after visitation deal” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike in Israel After 40 Days” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike, Israel says it met none of their demands” (The Times of Israel | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters, via The New York Times)

Global Event | Christmas

Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World


Source: Al Jazeera YouTube

One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas

Lebanon News | Women

Appointment of man as Lebanon’s first women’s affairs minister sparks outrage
  • The appointment of Jean Ogasapian to the new post in Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri’s newly formed government drew widespread condemnation from women’s rights leaders and organizations, a further injury on top of the appointment of only one woman to the 30-member government.
  • The stakes are high as advocates work to combat high levels of domestic violence and discriminatory citizenship laws that deny women the power to pass citizenship on to their children upon marrying non-citizens.
  • Social media derision has given way to calls for protests against an appointment viewed as illegitimate and in line with the establishment of a cabinet built through nepotism and loyalism rather than competence.

Read more:
Lebanon protests urged after man picked as first women’s affairs minister” (The Guardian)
Lebanon appoints man as first ever women’s affairs minister” (The Independent)
Lebanon’s first minister for women is a man” (The Washington Post)

(Image Credit: Handout/Reuters, via The Guardian)

Saudi Arabia News | Transgender

Saudi transman speaks out at conference as Saudi Arabia reportedly mulls ban on trans pilgrims
  • Salman Al-Dukheil spoke at Trust Women, a London-based international conference on women’s rights and human trafficking, about his experience as a Saudi transman whose life has been split between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
  • Conflicting media reports have indicated that the Saudi government may be considering a ban on transgender pilgrims for Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca that, unlike the Hajj, can be undertaken at any time during the year.
  • While there is no official law against transgender identity, police have arrested people for cross-dressing and, for men, effeminate behavior.

Read more:
Saudi plan to bar transgender persons from performing Umrah is un-Islamic: Ghamidi” (The Express Tribune)
Transgender Saudi man speaks out publicly for first time to help others” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Trust Women: Salman Al-Dukheil

Iraq News | Refugees & Displaced Peoples

Mosul conflict displaces more than 68,000 in Iraq
  • The battle between the Islamic State and a coalition of Western, Arab-Iraqi, and Kurdish-Iraqi forces over one of Iraq’s largest cities has further fueled the migration crisis in the Middle East, with more than half of the displaced from Mosul children.
  • While Syria has borne the brunt of media myopia regarding migration coverage, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees have poured into the migration flows between the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.
  • Regardless of the outcome, analysts anticipate the fight for Mosul will create a migration surge that European countries will have to prepare for, either in accepting disaffected IS-affiliated citizens or refugees escaping the turmoil of the violence.

Read more:
UN Reports Steady Increase in Mosul Displaced” (Voice of America)
The Latest: UN says over 68,000 displaced by Mosul operation” (The Washington Post)
How Mosul’s Liberation Could Send Shockwaves Across Europe” (TIME)

Lebanon Feature | Women

The Enduring Civil Inequality of Lebanese Women

Lebanon’s complex civil status laws have given broad leeway for religious courts to adjudicate civil matters according to theological law, leaving a tangled relationship between church (or mosque) and state in disputes like divorce and child custody. Fatima Ali Hamzeh’s fight to retain custody of her three-year-old son after her husband married another woman while refusing to divorce her has revealed how the intertwined legal systems intersect to create significant disadvantages for women in what is considered to be one of the Middle East’s most progressive states. Global Voices highlights Hamzeh’s story and the women’s rights movement that has rallied around her to combat gender-based legal inequality in Lebanon.

Read:
A Mother’s Fight for Her Son Exposes Lebanon’s Institutionalized Sexism” (Global Voices)

Additional:
Hamzeh custody case draws Berri’s attention” (The Daily Star)

(Image Credit: via The Daily Star)

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)