Posts in Asia
Anger in Kashmir, thanks in Jammu: South Asia's Hindu-Muslim conflict heats up in lockdown

After India’s unilateral decision to rid the Muslim-majority region Kashmir’s special autonomy from the constitution, some are angry and fear a rise in Hindu settlement, while others cheer the move as a way to help Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan and Kashmir.

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These 24 Indian villages are eliminating caste names to fight discrimination

A group of village councils in North India decided to tackle caste discrimination by changing their names — stripping their postal addresses, name plates, social media accounts and vehicle windshields of caste markers.

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Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow: faith gives us 'belief and courage to fight for freedom'

The 22-year-old Catholic woman has been one of the faces of the pro-democracy movement against Chinese repression in Hong Kong since 2012.

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Kashmiris worry about their future as Indian government relaxes lockdown

As the Indian government’s communication ban reaches two weeks, it announced that 50,000 landline connections have been restored for calls after crowds surged last week to the few phones available from government offices. Internet and mobile networks remain shut.

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Sri Lanka plans to use the death penalty and Catholics are campaigning against it

Skeptics believe that the Sri Lankan president’s move is aimed at increasing his support in the approaching elections. After the Easter bombings that killed more than 250 people, President Maithripala Sirisena’s leadership has come under sharp attack.

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Kashmir cut off from the world as India strips its autonomy

The Hindu nationalist-led Indian government has stripped Muslim-majority Kashmir of its agreed-upon terms of accession, a special status granting autonomy under the Indian constitution, and sent in more than 40,000 troops to the already heavily militarized region. Kashmiris there are living under curfews without access to phones, Internet or cable TV channels while elected representatives are under house arrest.

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Attacks on Muslims and Christians Continue to Rise in India

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014 and reelection this May, brutal mob attacks by Hindu nationalist groups against India’s Muslim and Christian minorities have continued to steadily rise.

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India's plan to resettle Hindus in Muslim-majority Kashmir

The Indian government is reportedly forming a new plan to resettle thousands of Kashmiri Hindus back to the Kashmir Valley, an army-occupied territory disputed with Pakistan. The plan would likely further inflame Hindu-Muslim tensions.

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South Asia's cradle of Sufism is losing its traditional music

Kashmiri classical music, which blends Sufi traditions from Persia with Indian classical music, is facing threat of extinction as fewer students have leisure or funds to study the art form and fewer maestros exist to teach them. Its musicians believe the genre could bring peace to the army-occupied region, following the ways of Sufi mystics who preached peace, tolerance, pluralism and universalism.

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In Kashmir, pilgrimages diffuse Hindu-Muslim tensions

This month, thousands of Indian Hindu pilgrims are visiting the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir — a region of armed conflict between Kashmiri Muslim militants and Indian security officials — to pray at the Amarnath cave and shrine. Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims are setting up shops and travel businesses to accommodate them.

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Duterte’s moral crusade against drugs is targeting the Catholic Church

(NEWS ANALYSIS) Rodrigo Duterte has wasted no time going after clergy, particularly when the church began opposing his human rights record. His bloody war against drugs has shocked the church, but has been met largely with approval from his supporters.

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Why India is trying to criminalize instant divorce for Muslim men

A bill to ban triple talaq, or Islamic instant divorce, is creating controversy in India. The bill could be unconstitutional in two ways: it would criminalize only Muslim men for deserting their wives and it trumps so-called personal laws meant to provide religious freedom in civil matters like marriage.

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5 Takeaways from the International Religious Freedom Report

Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and Myanmar are the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom in 2018, according to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report.

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On World Refugee Day, an overview of a persecuted Muslim minority

The Rohingya, an ethnic minority persecuted by some Buddhist groups in Myanmar, are facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises of this century. We spoke to Yangon-based activist Sam Naeem about the evolution of their struggle so far.

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Disappearing Chinese Uighurs are likely victims of organ harvesting

A recent report estimates 60,000 organ transplant surgeries happen in China every year, an industry adding $1 billion a year to the economy and cracking down on religious groups seen as a threat to the Communist Party.

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A Closer Look at North Korea’s Deadly Regime

(COMMENTARY) When we think of North Korean armed forces, most of us envision a formidable parade of clean-cut, perfectly uniformed soldiers marching in lock-step. However, like the “Potemkin Villages” a few tourists manage to see, those tidy uniforms are nothing more than window dressing for the bankrupt regime.

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17th century paintings show sexuality and purity of Hindu gods

(ART REVIEW) The exhibition shows the interactions of humans with Hindu gods like Shiva and the mischievous side of Krishna, with his lover Radha and stealing butter and the clothes of women bathing outside.

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Modi's second term likely to keep choking philanthropy, especially from Christians

(NEWS ANALYSIS) India’s Hindu nationalist and populist Bharatiya Janata Party won reelection Thursday in a sweeping parliamentary majority. Here’s what that means for religious minorities, other marginalized groups and the organizations working for their welfare.

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