Posts in Asia
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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Why Kashmir’s small Sikh community boycotted Indian elections

The region has long been plagued by atrocities against Kashmiri Muslims, some of whom advocate for separating from India, and ethnic Kashmiri Hindus, who support India’s military occupation and takeover. Caught in the conflict is a tiny minority of Sikhs, who say their voices are not being heard.

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In India, a controversial candidate is testing religious divisions

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a Hindu in Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party accused of aiding a terrorist attack against Muslims, is contesting for a seat in parliament in a region crucial to the BJP’s victory.

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‘Why I’m Not a Terrorist’: Victim of Extreme Hate in Sri Lanka

“I had all the reasons and justifications to join a terrorist group because of what has happened to me,” said Raghu Balachandran, a Christian who witnessed the murder of his father and brother in Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war between Tamil Hindus and Sinhalese Buddhists.

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Deep dive answers about Sri Lanka's Easter attacks

In the wake of the Easter terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, we spoke to Nishan De Mel, the executive director of Verité Research in Colombo, for a deeper analysis of who’s behind the attacks, what they may want, what they were targeting, and what this all means for South Asia and Sri Lanka’s religious groups and stability.

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Easter attacks killed Nigerian Christians too

(NEWS ANALYSIS) Reports claim that more than 40 Nigerian Christians were killed in the week leading up to Easter, and many more remain missing. Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari was quick to send condolences to Sri Lanka, but slower to respond to Islamist attacks on Christians in his country.

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After Sri Lanka attacks, media should look at China

(COMMENTARY) It is 10 years since deadly riots in Xinjiang province provoked a major crackdown against Muslims; 20 years since China launched its effort to liquidate the Fulan Gong movement; and 60 years since Tibet’s young Dalai Lama fled Chinese occupiers’ harassment of Buddhists. All three campaigns persist.

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Can the US choke Iran’s radical Islamist regime?

(COMMENTARY) Iran’s nefarious intentions and activities are being closely scrutinized by the Trump administration and have led to crippling sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. And now U.S. waivers – which permitted eight specific countries to purchase Iranian oil despite existing sanctions – will not be renewed in May 2019.

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Rohingya woman may soon become first in India to attend college

The 21-year-old Rohingya refugee is inspiring girls to study more and aim higher. She wants to become a human rights activist to speak up for the rights of Rohingya people, a stateless, Muslim-majority ethnic group from Myanmar.

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