August 2011

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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 Noraisa Saban: ‘Previously, I Wanted to Go to Dubai and Work . . . after SOP; Now I Want to Return to Mindanao and Work with My People’
Bruce Van Voorhis
As a person working primarily with issues affecting the lives of Muslim women and children in the Philippines, this community organizer saw few possibilities for change. Fourteen weeks after beginning the School of Peace (SOP) of Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) in Bangalore, India, she believes she now has greater insights into the problems of her community, more tools to deal with them and, most importantly, a renewed willingness and commitment to face these challenges. [Read more]

 Conflict, Corruption, Gender Discrimination—Some Lessons from an Internship in Indonesia
So Nasier
The author, a 2008 School of Peace (SOP) alumni from Cambodia, completed his three-month internship in several communities on Indonesia’s island of Sulawesi in August. He shares in this reflection what he learned from working with the women and children of Palu and Poso. [Read more]

 No Justice for Rimsha: Judge in Pakistan Disrespects the Orders of President Zardari
Khalid Shahzad
A 14-year-old Christian girl with the mental capabilities of a child several years younger has been charged with blasphemy in Pakistan. Her case has once again brought the legitimacy, purpose and enforcement of the country’s blasphemy laws before the court of public opinion, both inside and outside of Pakistan. [Read more]

  Forced Conversions and Religious Intolerance Forcing Hindus to Abandon Pakistan
Altaf Hussain
Pakistan’s Hindu community, especially in Sindh Province, is increasingly moving to India to escape abductions, the forced conversions of girls, kidnappings for ransom and other forms of intimidation. They are also leaving their homeland to escape the indifference of the authorities to protect them. [Read more]

 Once Again, Men in Military Uniforms Kill Shia Muslims in Pakistan
Asian Human Rights Commission
Muslims of the Shia sect in Pakistan have again been specifically identified, placed in a line and summarily executed. No one once again has been held accountable. Impunity is the culprit. [Read more]

  Continued Conflict Overshadows Karen Martyrs Day
Burma Partnership
The Karen people in Burma and elsewhere throughout the world observed the 62nd Karen Martyrs Day on Aug. 12 to commemorate the death of their first national leader, Saw Ba Oo Gyi, who was killed by the Burma army on this date in 1950. The article uses this occasion to highlight the inconsistencies between the government’s reform credentials and their actions, such as ongoing fighting in spite of ceasefires with the Karen and other ethnic groups, persistent human rights abuses and impunity for their perpetrators and a stubborn unwillingness to create institutions that will address these problems. [Read more]

 Experiences and Feelings of Working Together with Kamaiyas in Nepal
Laxmi Bahadur Maharjan
When the Kamaiyas were freed from their socio-economic captivity as bonded laborers by the Nepalese government in July 2000, there was much cause for celebration. In this article, the author notes the progress that has been made in their lives in the past 12 years but also the challenges that remain. [Read more]

 America after the Sikh Temple Shooting
Valarie Kaur
In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of six people and the wounding of three others at a Sikh temple in the United States on Aug. 5, the author expresses her hope that this tragedy will lead to transformation, that an intolerance to differences will be replaced by a celebration of diversity, that the common denominator of humanity will be recognized and valued: we are all human beings. [Read more]

 Religious Leaders Call for Ethical Response to Economic Crisis
Maria-Paz Lopez
The author shared the thinking of religious leaders from Latin America, Portugal and Spain at a recent interfaith conference in Barcelona toward addressing the economic crisis afflicting the host country and much of Europe, as well as the economic and social ripples being felt by people around the world in this age of economic globalization. What people of all faiths have to offer to responding to this crisis, the author explains, is a moral compass to take action against poverty and inequality and to place an important actor at the center of all economic activity—human beings. [Read more]

 Muslims Ask if Charity Should Begin at Home
Sughra Ahmed
During Ramadan, the author reflects on how easy it is to only donate to charities connected with our own faith. Our common humanity, she says, should move us, however, to express our compassion beyond the borders of our faith and the other boundaries we create in our lives. [Read more]