June 2013

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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►   Learning for the Future Based on the Experiences of the Past
A Muslim woman from Aceh in Indonesia who took part in Interfaith Cooperation Forum’s (ICF) School of Peace (SOP) in India is now pursuing her doctorate degree in comparative education at a university in the United States that she finds offers her an opportunity to share the stories of conflict she has experienced in Aceh as well as to better equip her academically in an area that is close to her heart: the lives of women and children surviving in areas of violent conflict. [Read more]

►   A Victim of Enforced Disappearance Speaks Out on the Indonesian’s Government’s Reluctance to Provide Remedies
Asian Human Rights Commission
Abducted and disappeared 15 years ago as a student activist, Mugiyanto shares his journey for justice that still eludes him and others who have disappeared in Indonesia. [Read more]

►   Every Day at Least One Person Undergoes Physical Torture in Each Police Station in Pakistan
Asian Human Rights Commission
With the international community observing the U.N. International Day in Support of Torture Victims on June 26, this article examines the widespread use of the practice in Pakistan by the police and members of the armed forces, concluding that a minimum of 1,300 people per day face pain inflicted by the authorities in the country—a phenomenon that contributes to intolerance and violence in Pakistani society. [Read more]

►   The Council of Islamic Ideology in Pakistan Intends to Complete the Elimination of Religious Minorities
Nasir Saeed
The author examines the use of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to oppress and, at times, violently suppress the country’s religious minorities. His outlook for a change in attitudes and behavior in the future is not overly optimistic. [Read more]

►   ‘It Was Her Destiny to Die This Way . . .’
Nida Paras
Acid was thrown on a daughter for looking at a boy twice against her family’s wishes, resulting in her death; five girls were killed for singing and clapping at a wedding with male companions; others were killed because the person they loved did not meet their parents’ approval. The author uses these few cases to illustrate a monumental problem in Pakistan in which religion and tradition are used to uphold family honor and to justify the “destiny” above of far too many women in the country. [Read more]

►   Frayed Justice (A Poem for Kainat Soomro)
Airyn Lentija Sloan
When she was 13, Kainat Soomro was violently gang-raped in the rural village of Dadu in Sindh Province in southern Pakistan in 2007. In response, the village elders ordered her family to kill her as they claimed she had dishonored the village. She received similar injustice from the country’s judicial system. Moreover, in the intervening years, her brother was killed by the perpetrators as he sought justice for his sister. Today Kainat still struggles to attain the justice that has eluded her. Her painful story motivated this poem. [Read more]

►   An Overview of Burma’s Unfolding Pogroms: Anti-Muslim Violence and Destruction
Myo Win
The violence between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Burma first erupted in June 2012 in the western state of Rakhine, or Arakan. In the past year, this violence has spread to Meiktila in Mandalay Division in the central part of Burma in March this year and most recently in Lashio in northeastern Shan State in May. Written on March 30, this analysis and reflection focuses on the violence in Meiktila and questions the role of the Burmese government in protecting the minority community of Muslims in the country. [Read more]

►   Burma Government Must End Impunity and Promote Religious Tolerance
Burma Partnership
From the West to the East in Burma, violent attacks against Muslims have spread across the country in the past year with the violence now reaching Shan State in the northeastern corner of the country. The needed response by the government to stem the destruction of lives and property in Burma is captured in the article’s title. [Read more]

►   Hope Fades as Despair Draws Near
Tiananmen Mothers
On the 24th anniversary of the June 4 tragedy in China, a group of parents, other family members and friends of the victims offer this statement that expresses their disappointment in the Chinese authorities and their stubborn unwillingness to render justice for the victims or to engage in dialogue. In the meantime, the parents who lost their children suffer and wait. [Read more]

►   More Tools for Transformation
Max Ediger
Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) conducted its second tools for transformation workshop in June in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Like the first workshop held in Siem Reap in December 2012 that focused on the tools of art, drama and music, this program was also devoted to various means of communication—writing, photography and videography in this second workshop—to educate people about the lives and issues of the marginalized through telling their stories and, in the process, to hopefully transform people to become their advocates to not only change the conditions of those who daily experience poverty, discrimination and exploitation but also to change the society that tolerates and accepts this denial of people’s dignity to take place. In the future, the participants of these two workshops will be resource people for the tool they studied in programs organized by ICF and others. [Read more]