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)
The Endless Labors of Pakistan’s Debt-Bound Women
A form of indentured servitude persists in the vast fields of Pakistan’s poorest regions, where families labor on lands to pay off debts whose balance never seems to decrease. But while men may find their “payments” limited to hard labor, women and girls find themselves vulnerable not only to physical labor, but to domestic, sexual, and even marital labor forced under conditions of extreme duress. Religious minorities are particularly vulnerable, with an estimated 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls trafficked as a result of these debts, sold off to predatory landowners and forced to convert to Islam. The Associated Press examines the conditions faced by the more than 2 million Pakistanis living in what human rights organizations have called modern-day slavery and the particular indignities to which women and girls are subjected.
“A Pakistani girl is snatched away, payment for a family debt” (The Associated Press)
(Image Credit: B.K. Bangash/AP)
The Subversive Visibility of Pakistan’s First Trans Model
Activist and model Kami Sid was the subject of a recent photo shoot in collaboration with photographer Haseeb M. Siddiqi, stylist Waqar J.Khan, and makeup artist Nighat Misbah, making her debut as the first out trans model in Pakistan. The photographs stand in stark contrast to the other forms of visibility that has kept the Pakistani trans community in the news in recent years, including sexual assaults and homicides. BuzzFeed features photos from the shoot and a look at the struggle to combat transphobia in Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s First Trans Model Did An Absolutely Stunning Fashion Photoshoot” (BuzzFeed)
“Pakistan’s first transgender model makes debut with stunning photoshoot” (The Express Tribune)
“Kami Sid becomes Pakistan’s first transgender model and her debut photoshoot is gorgeous” (Mic)
(Image Credit: Muhammad Haseeb Siddiqui, via BuzzFeed)
Pakistan court stays expulsion order for Turkish teachers following school closure
- The Peshawar High Court temporarily blocked the government’s expulsion of more than 100 teachers at the PakTurk International Schools and Colleges, a network of private schools in the country, and their families.
- The closure of the schools comes as a result of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ongoing purge of organizations perceived as connected to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, leaning on Turkey’s relationship with Pakistan to push the government to close the schools.
- The administration has rejected the accusations, and staff have expressed fear at returning to Turkey, believing continued government antagonism awaits them.
“Turkish Teachers In Pakistan Face Uncertain Fate As Deportation Looms” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
“PHC halts government order to deport Pak-Turk school staff” (The Express Tribune)
“Peshawar High Court halts govt order to deport Pak-Turk school staff” (DAWN)
(Image Credit: via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
Attack on Shiite mosque in Kabul kills more than 30, injures dozens more
- A suicide attacker entered the Baqir-ul-Olum mosque during a gathering for Arbaeen, a devotional ritual.
- Among the dead were a number of children, and reports put the number of injured at at least 35.
- The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a series targeting Shiite Muslims in the Sunni-majority country.
“IS claims attack that kills dozens at Shi’ite mosque in Kabul” (Reuters)
“Afghanistan Kabul mosque suicide attack kills dozens” (BBC)
“Afghanistan mosque attack: 30 dead, ISIS claims responsibility” (CNN)
(Image Credit: Reuters, via BBC)
More than 50 killed after bombing at Sufi shrine in Pakistan
- The attack took place in the Khuzdar district of Baluchistan province, killing at least 52, wounding more than 100, and trapping an unknown number of others.
- Security forces believe a suicide attacker carried out the massacre as hundreds were in the shrine for daily devotional activities.
- The attack was the latest in a series targeting Sufis, members of a minority Islamic sect that has been the target of a number of attacks from extremist Sunni groups.
“Bombing at Sufi Shrine in Pakistan Kills Dozens” (The New York Times)
“IS-claimed bombing kills at least 52 at Khuzdar shrine” (The Express Tribune)
“‘No one was able to hear their cries’: Families ripped apart as terror strikes Khuzdar shrine” (AFP via DAWN.com)
(Image Credit: AP, via DAWN.com)
Gunmen kill at least 4 Shiite Muslims, injure others in Karachi
- The victims were attending a religious gathering in the North Nazimabad neighborhood of Pakistan’s largest city.
- The shooting was carried out by the Al Alami faction of the Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
- The attack follows the recent massacre of more than 60 police cadets by Al Alami in coordination with the Islamic State.
“Gunmen kill four at Shi’ite Muslim gathering in Karachi” (Reuters)
“Five killed, several injured in sectarian attack on Nazimabad majlis” (The Express Tribune)
“5 killed as gunmen target Shia gathering in Karachi” (The Nation)