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US Congresswoman introduces resolution against human rights violations in India

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker, has been vocal about targeted attacks against religious and cultural minorities

23 Jun 2022

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker,
Image: AFP

On June 22, Ilhan Omar who represents the 5th Congressional District of the US state of Minnesota introduced a resolution to condemn human rights violations in India. Needless to say, the resolution, promptly dubbed “anti-India” by a section of the Indian press, has not made the regime happy.

Though, so far, the Ministry of External Affairs has not issued any formal statement on the Resolution. However, when Omar had recently visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, MEA spokesperson Arndam Bagchi had not minced words and stated, “She visited a part of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home that may be her business, but violating our territorial integrity in its pursuit makes it ours.”

What does the Resolution say?

“The Indian government must be held responsible for human right violations against religious and cultural minorities,” said Omar, adding, “In recent years, the Indian government has been escalating repressive policies against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Dalits. The United States should stand for religious freedom in India and the fair treatment of all religious minorities.” She further said, “It is past time for the State Department to acknowledge the reality of the situation in India and formally designate India as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.” 

Demand to name India CPC

Readers would recall that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has been recommending that India be designated a CPC for the last three years. Omar’s Resolution has now added more heft to this demand. The Resolution is co-sponsored by Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Congresswoman from Michigan, Jim McGovern, a Congressman from Massachusetts, and Juan Vargas, a Congressman from California.

References to political prisoners, violation of minority rights

As per the official text of the Resolution H.RES.1196 uploaded to Omar’s official website also refers to USCIRF’s findings pertaining to the “emblematic cases of the Indian Government’s repression of religious minority leaders and voices for religious pluralism in India, including the Jesuit human rights defender Father Stan Swamy and the Muslim human rights advocate Khurram Parvez.”

The resolution also mentions how the USCIRF report had mention that the Indian Government was “criminalizing, harassing, and repressing interfaith couples and converts from Hinduism to Christianity or Islam.” It also refers to 45 prisoners of conscience in India, out of whom at 35 still remain under detention.

H.RES.1196 resolves that, “That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns human rights violations and violations of international religious freedom in India, including those targeting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis, and other religious and cultural minorities;

(2) expresses grave concern about the worsening treatment of religious minorities in India; and

(3) calls on the Secretary of State to designate India as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) and the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016 (Public Law 114–281).”

The entire Resolution may be read here: 

The Resolution has been forwarded to the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) that will decide if it should be considered and then forward it to the full House. But if the Resolution is not taken up before the November 2022 House elections, it will lapse.

Related:

USCIRF recommends India be designated Country of Particular Concern for third straight year!

Fr Stan Swamy, Khurram Parvez, Siddique Kappan on USCIRF’s Freedom of Religion or Belief victims list

Will the US tag India a 'country of particular concern'?

HRW World Report 2022 showcases India’s worsening Human Rights situation 

US Congresswoman introduces resolution against human rights violations in India

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker, has been vocal about targeted attacks against religious and cultural minorities

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker,
Image: AFP

On June 22, Ilhan Omar who represents the 5th Congressional District of the US state of Minnesota introduced a resolution to condemn human rights violations in India. Needless to say, the resolution, promptly dubbed “anti-India” by a section of the Indian press, has not made the regime happy.

Though, so far, the Ministry of External Affairs has not issued any formal statement on the Resolution. However, when Omar had recently visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, MEA spokesperson Arndam Bagchi had not minced words and stated, “She visited a part of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home that may be her business, but violating our territorial integrity in its pursuit makes it ours.”

What does the Resolution say?

“The Indian government must be held responsible for human right violations against religious and cultural minorities,” said Omar, adding, “In recent years, the Indian government has been escalating repressive policies against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Dalits. The United States should stand for religious freedom in India and the fair treatment of all religious minorities.” She further said, “It is past time for the State Department to acknowledge the reality of the situation in India and formally designate India as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.” 

Demand to name India CPC

Readers would recall that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has been recommending that India be designated a CPC for the last three years. Omar’s Resolution has now added more heft to this demand. The Resolution is co-sponsored by Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Congresswoman from Michigan, Jim McGovern, a Congressman from Massachusetts, and Juan Vargas, a Congressman from California.

References to political prisoners, violation of minority rights

As per the official text of the Resolution H.RES.1196 uploaded to Omar’s official website also refers to USCIRF’s findings pertaining to the “emblematic cases of the Indian Government’s repression of religious minority leaders and voices for religious pluralism in India, including the Jesuit human rights defender Father Stan Swamy and the Muslim human rights advocate Khurram Parvez.”

The resolution also mentions how the USCIRF report had mention that the Indian Government was “criminalizing, harassing, and repressing interfaith couples and converts from Hinduism to Christianity or Islam.” It also refers to 45 prisoners of conscience in India, out of whom at 35 still remain under detention.

H.RES.1196 resolves that, “That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns human rights violations and violations of international religious freedom in India, including those targeting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis, and other religious and cultural minorities;

(2) expresses grave concern about the worsening treatment of religious minorities in India; and

(3) calls on the Secretary of State to designate India as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) and the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016 (Public Law 114–281).”

The entire Resolution may be read here: 

The Resolution has been forwarded to the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) that will decide if it should be considered and then forward it to the full House. But if the Resolution is not taken up before the November 2022 House elections, it will lapse.

Related:

USCIRF recommends India be designated Country of Particular Concern for third straight year!

Fr Stan Swamy, Khurram Parvez, Siddique Kappan on USCIRF’s Freedom of Religion or Belief victims list

Will the US tag India a 'country of particular concern'?

HRW World Report 2022 showcases India’s worsening Human Rights situation 

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Breaking: Three UN Special Rapporteurs condemn India home demolitions, allege Collective punishment of Muslims

Strongly worded international condemnation has followed in the wake of continuing mala fide demolitions of Muslims in Prayagraj (Allahabad), Sahranpir, Kanpur and Khragone (MP) and Delhi in April

17 Jun 2022

JahangirpuriCompensation restitution and guarantee of non-repetition (of demolitions)–established international law standards for victims—have been violated by UP, MP and Delhi authroities over past months when Muslim homes were selectively demolished by bulldozers since April. This has been stated by three UN Special Rapporteurs to the Indian government recently.

In an exclusive interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Prof Balakrishnan Rajagopal Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing and Professor of Law and Development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that Indian and international law was broken in the spate of recent demolitions being carried out in Prayagraj (Allahabad), UP, Kanpur, Sahranpur, Khargone (Madhya Pradesh) and Jahangirpuri (Delhi)

Three United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Housing, Minority Issues, and Freedom of Religion, have written a letter dated 9th June to the Indian government allegedly strongly criticizing and protesting against arbitrary housing and property demolitions, ordered by local governments to punish Muslim minorities for inter-communal conflict between Hindus and Muslims. It’s believed their letter claims the government has carried out collective punishment against the minority Muslim community.

It’s said to cite quotations from the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister and senior state officials as proof of vindictive intention. Apparently, the letter says demolitions have been carried out without due process and without establishing proof of guilt. The Wire says that the three Rapporteurs express serious concern and ask the government to share with them the basis on which it has acted, the investigations it has carried out, and whether any prior consultation was held with the affected minority community. Unfortunately, the demolitions continued even after the letter was received by the government.

The Wire interview is with Prof. Balakrishnan Rajagopal,  

Here is the link: 

 

Breaking: Three UN Special Rapporteurs condemn India home demolitions, allege Collective punishment of Muslims

Strongly worded international condemnation has followed in the wake of continuing mala fide demolitions of Muslims in Prayagraj (Allahabad), Sahranpir, Kanpur and Khragone (MP) and Delhi in April

JahangirpuriCompensation restitution and guarantee of non-repetition (of demolitions)–established international law standards for victims—have been violated by UP, MP and Delhi authroities over past months when Muslim homes were selectively demolished by bulldozers since April. This has been stated by three UN Special Rapporteurs to the Indian government recently.

In an exclusive interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Prof Balakrishnan Rajagopal Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing and Professor of Law and Development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that Indian and international law was broken in the spate of recent demolitions being carried out in Prayagraj (Allahabad), UP, Kanpur, Sahranpur, Khargone (Madhya Pradesh) and Jahangirpuri (Delhi)

Three United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Housing, Minority Issues, and Freedom of Religion, have written a letter dated 9th June to the Indian government allegedly strongly criticizing and protesting against arbitrary housing and property demolitions, ordered by local governments to punish Muslim minorities for inter-communal conflict between Hindus and Muslims. It’s believed their letter claims the government has carried out collective punishment against the minority Muslim community.

It’s said to cite quotations from the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister and senior state officials as proof of vindictive intention. Apparently, the letter says demolitions have been carried out without due process and without establishing proof of guilt. The Wire says that the three Rapporteurs express serious concern and ask the government to share with them the basis on which it has acted, the investigations it has carried out, and whether any prior consultation was held with the affected minority community. Unfortunately, the demolitions continued even after the letter was received by the government.

The Wire interview is with Prof. Balakrishnan Rajagopal,  

Here is the link: 

 

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Ending Israeli Occupation of Palestine essential in ending historic injustice: UN Commission

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, issues its first report to the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)

14 Jun 2022

palestine

The continued occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory, and discrimination against Palestinians, are the key root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict in the region, according to the first report by the new United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, issued today. The Terms of reference may be read here.

With an impressive line-up of independent commissioners that include Ms Navanethem Pillay who was the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from 2008-2014 and is a jurist from South Africa, Miloon Kothari who is a former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing with the HRC from 2000-2008, and Christopher Sidote who is a former Human Rights Commissioner and former commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission and an expert on international human rights law from Australia, this report is likely to again draw attention to the continuing and systemic injustices against the people of occupied Palestine. 

In brief, the report states that ending the continued Israeli occupation and discrimination against Palestinians is essential to stopping the conflict and halting the persistent cycle of violence, while a ‘culture of impunity’ feeds resentment and fuels recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict.

The 18-page report may be read here: 

 

The Commission has also noted that impunity is feeding increased resentment among the Palestinian people. It identified forced displacement, threats of forced displacement, demolitions, settlement construction and expansion, settler violence, and the blockade of Gaza as contributing factors to recurring cycles of violence.

“The findings and recommendations relevant to the underlying root causes were overwhelmingly directed towards Israel, which we have taken as an indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one State occupying the other,” Navanethem Pillay, chair of the Commission, said. The Commission released its 18-page report after conducting an assessment of recommendations made by previous Commissions of Inquiry and Fact-Finding Missions, as well as other United Nations mechanisms and its own hearings.

The Commission undertook two missions to Geneva and one to Jordan, and held consultations with various stakeholders, including Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations. 

“We also found that these recommendations have overwhelmingly not been implemented, including calls to ensure accountability for Israel’s violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and the indiscriminate firing of rockets fire by Palestinian armed groups into Israel. It is this lack of implementation coupled with a sense of impunity, clear evidence that Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, and the persistent discrimination against Palestinians that lies at the heart of the systematic recurrence of violations in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” Ms. Pillay added.

In its report, the Commission focused on the findings and recommendations directly related to underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict. In its assessment, key recommendations have not been implemented and this lies at the heart of the conflict. The Commission identified several overarching issues that lay at the core of most recommendations, including Israel’s failure to uphold the laws and customs of war, including those of belligerent occupation, violations and abuses of individual and collective rights, and a lack of accountability.

“Our review of the findings and recommendations of previous UN mechanisms and bodies clearly indicates that ending Israel’s occupation, in full conformity with Security Council resolutions, remains essential in stopping the persistent cycle of violence. It is only with the ending of occupation that the world can begin to reverse historical injustices and move towards self-determination of the Palestinian peoples,” Commissioner Miloon Kothari noted.

Commissioner Chris Sidoti added, “Israel clearly has no intention of ending the occupation. In fact, it has established clear policies to ensure complete permanent control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This includes altering the demography of these territories through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favourable environment for Israeli settlers. Israel's policies and actions build Palestinian frustration and lead to a sense of despair. They fuel the cycle of violence and the protraction of conflict.”

The report also noted that the Palestinian Authority frequently uses the occupation as a justification for its own human rights violations and as the core reason for its failure to hold legislative and presidential elections. At the same time, the de facto authorities in Gaza have shown little commitment to upholding human rights, and no adherence to international humanitarian law.

The report, which was presented to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council on June 13, 2022, concludes by laying out that the Commission will conduct investigations and legal analysis into alleged violations and abuses, and will work with judicial accountability mechanisms toward ensuring individual, state and corporate accountability. It will also carefully assess the responsibilities of third States and those of private actors in the continued policies of occupation.

Background of the present Commission

The UN Human Rights Council mandated the Commission on May 27, 2021 to “investigate, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up and since April 13, 2021”. In July 2021, the President of the Human Rights Council announced the appointment of Navanethem Pillay (South Africa), Miloon Kothari (India) and Christopher Sidoti (Australia) to serve as the three members of the Commission and indicated that Ms. Pillay would serve as Chair. 

The Resolution A/HRC/RES/S-30/1 further requested the commission of inquiry to “investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.” The Commission of Inquiry was mandated to report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly annually from June 2022 and September 2022, respectively.

Following the presentation of the report to the HRC today, the Commissioners will hold a press conference tomorrow.

(This report is based largely on a press release issued by the Commission.)

 

Related:

Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West Bank

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Ending Israeli Occupation of Palestine essential in ending historic injustice: UN Commission

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, issues its first report to the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)

palestine

The continued occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory, and discrimination against Palestinians, are the key root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict in the region, according to the first report by the new United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, issued today. The Terms of reference may be read here.

With an impressive line-up of independent commissioners that include Ms Navanethem Pillay who was the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from 2008-2014 and is a jurist from South Africa, Miloon Kothari who is a former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing with the HRC from 2000-2008, and Christopher Sidote who is a former Human Rights Commissioner and former commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission and an expert on international human rights law from Australia, this report is likely to again draw attention to the continuing and systemic injustices against the people of occupied Palestine. 

In brief, the report states that ending the continued Israeli occupation and discrimination against Palestinians is essential to stopping the conflict and halting the persistent cycle of violence, while a ‘culture of impunity’ feeds resentment and fuels recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict.

The 18-page report may be read here: 

 

The Commission has also noted that impunity is feeding increased resentment among the Palestinian people. It identified forced displacement, threats of forced displacement, demolitions, settlement construction and expansion, settler violence, and the blockade of Gaza as contributing factors to recurring cycles of violence.

“The findings and recommendations relevant to the underlying root causes were overwhelmingly directed towards Israel, which we have taken as an indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one State occupying the other,” Navanethem Pillay, chair of the Commission, said. The Commission released its 18-page report after conducting an assessment of recommendations made by previous Commissions of Inquiry and Fact-Finding Missions, as well as other United Nations mechanisms and its own hearings.

The Commission undertook two missions to Geneva and one to Jordan, and held consultations with various stakeholders, including Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations. 

“We also found that these recommendations have overwhelmingly not been implemented, including calls to ensure accountability for Israel’s violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and the indiscriminate firing of rockets fire by Palestinian armed groups into Israel. It is this lack of implementation coupled with a sense of impunity, clear evidence that Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, and the persistent discrimination against Palestinians that lies at the heart of the systematic recurrence of violations in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” Ms. Pillay added.

In its report, the Commission focused on the findings and recommendations directly related to underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict. In its assessment, key recommendations have not been implemented and this lies at the heart of the conflict. The Commission identified several overarching issues that lay at the core of most recommendations, including Israel’s failure to uphold the laws and customs of war, including those of belligerent occupation, violations and abuses of individual and collective rights, and a lack of accountability.

“Our review of the findings and recommendations of previous UN mechanisms and bodies clearly indicates that ending Israel’s occupation, in full conformity with Security Council resolutions, remains essential in stopping the persistent cycle of violence. It is only with the ending of occupation that the world can begin to reverse historical injustices and move towards self-determination of the Palestinian peoples,” Commissioner Miloon Kothari noted.

Commissioner Chris Sidoti added, “Israel clearly has no intention of ending the occupation. In fact, it has established clear policies to ensure complete permanent control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This includes altering the demography of these territories through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favourable environment for Israeli settlers. Israel's policies and actions build Palestinian frustration and lead to a sense of despair. They fuel the cycle of violence and the protraction of conflict.”

The report also noted that the Palestinian Authority frequently uses the occupation as a justification for its own human rights violations and as the core reason for its failure to hold legislative and presidential elections. At the same time, the de facto authorities in Gaza have shown little commitment to upholding human rights, and no adherence to international humanitarian law.

The report, which was presented to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council on June 13, 2022, concludes by laying out that the Commission will conduct investigations and legal analysis into alleged violations and abuses, and will work with judicial accountability mechanisms toward ensuring individual, state and corporate accountability. It will also carefully assess the responsibilities of third States and those of private actors in the continued policies of occupation.

Background of the present Commission

The UN Human Rights Council mandated the Commission on May 27, 2021 to “investigate, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up and since April 13, 2021”. In July 2021, the President of the Human Rights Council announced the appointment of Navanethem Pillay (South Africa), Miloon Kothari (India) and Christopher Sidoti (Australia) to serve as the three members of the Commission and indicated that Ms. Pillay would serve as Chair. 

The Resolution A/HRC/RES/S-30/1 further requested the commission of inquiry to “investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.” The Commission of Inquiry was mandated to report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly annually from June 2022 and September 2022, respectively.

Following the presentation of the report to the HRC today, the Commissioners will hold a press conference tomorrow.

(This report is based largely on a press release issued by the Commission.)

 

Related:

Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West Bank

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

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Why Muslim countries are quick at condemning defamation – but often ignore rights violations against Muslim minorities

14 Jun 2022

The conversation
Supporters of a Pakistani religious group burn an effigy depicting the former spokeswoman of India’s ruling party, Nupur Sharma, during a demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan. AP Photo/Fareed Khan


The Indian government finds itself in a diplomatic crisis following offensive remarks by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, on national television about the Prophet Muhammad and his wife, Aisha. The BJP has suspended Sharma from the position, but that has not been enough to quell the crisis. Over a dozen Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have condemned the Indian government and asked for a public apology.

This is just another incident of hate speech against Muslims, which has been rising in India since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014. The government has been criticized for several lynchings of Muslims by Hindu mobs with police indifference and judicial apathy over the past years. In 2019, the BJP passed a new citizenship law that discriminated against Muslims, and its Islamophobic attitudes recently encouraged some schools and colleges to impose a headscarf ban on students.

These discriminatory policies have a global significance because India has the world’s third-largest Muslim population, after Indonesia and Pakistan. Out of the estimated Indian population of 1.4 billion, about 210 million – 15% – are Muslim.

As a Muslim, I am aware of the deep reverence for Prophet Muhammad, and I understand Muslim individuals’ resentment. The reaction of Muslim governments, however, reflect their political regimes. As my book “Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment” explains, most Muslim governments are authoritarian and concentrate on condemning sacrilege against Islam – more than advocating to protect the rights of Muslim minorities abroad.
 

Aisha: a powerful woman

The recent Indian case focused on Aisha’s age when she married the Prophet. Aisha is one of the most important, vigorous and powerful figures in Islamic history. The favorite wife of the Prophet, she was the daughter of the Prophet’s successor and closest friend, Abu Bakr. She became a leading narrator of hadith – the records of the Prophet’s words and actions – the teacher of many scholars and a military leader in a civil war.

According to a hadith record, Aisha was 9 years old when she got married. Some Muslims accept this record and see it normal for a pre-modern marriage, whereas other Muslims believe that Aisha was either 18 or 19 years old by referring to other records.

It is not possible to know the true facts of Aisha’s age. As Islamic scholar Khaled Abou El Fadl stresses, “we do not know and will never know” them. Sharma thus used a single narration, while ignoring alternative Muslim explanations, in her remarks.
 

Prioritizing blasphemy, not human rights

This is not the first time that Muslim governments have reacted to defamatory actions against the Prophet. The long list of incidents includes Iran’s Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1989 call on Muslims to kill novelist Salman Rushdie and the 2006 boycott of Danish products throughout the Middle East in reaction to a dozen cartoons published in a newspaper.

An interesting pattern is visible in Muslim governments’ attitudes: They are very vocal when it comes to the cases of verbal or artistic attacks on Islamic values, whereas they are generally silent about human rights violations against Muslim individuals.

Muslim individuals in India have complained about the violations of their rights for almost a decade, but Muslim governments did not show a noteworthy reaction to the BJP until this defamation incident.

Two men and one woman holding posters with photographs of missing Uyghurs.

Uyghur protesters, saying they had not heard from their relatives in years, protest near the Chinese Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in Feb. 2021. AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

Another example is China, which has been persecuting 12 million Uyghur Muslims for many years. No Muslim government showed any major reaction. Instead, these governments have focused on their material interests and disregarded how the Chinese state treats its Muslim minority.

This double standard can be explained by the widespread authoritarianism in the Muslim world. Out of 50 Muslim countries, only five are democratic. Most authoritarian governments in the Muslim world have blasphemy laws that punish sacrilegious statements and suppress dissenting voices. That these governments should demand the punishment of blasphemy and defamation from India or other non-Muslim countries follows from these policies.

Another characteristic of authoritarian Muslim governments is their own violations of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities. In Pakistan, these violations have targeted the Ahmadiyya, Shia, Hindu and some other religious communities, while in Iran, ethnic minorities, including Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis and Kurds, faced discrimination in education and employment. A rights-based discourse abroad, therefore, would contradict these governments’ policies at home.

Authoritarianism in the Muslim world has tragic consequences for Muslim minorities in India and elsewhere. Muslim governments’ short-term, emotional reactions to some defamation cases do not help improve the conditions of Muslim minorities, who actually need a more consistent and principled support.

Author is Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University

This article was first published on The Conversation

Why Muslim countries are quick at condemning defamation – but often ignore rights violations against Muslim minorities

The conversation
Supporters of a Pakistani religious group burn an effigy depicting the former spokeswoman of India’s ruling party, Nupur Sharma, during a demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan. AP Photo/Fareed Khan


The Indian government finds itself in a diplomatic crisis following offensive remarks by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, on national television about the Prophet Muhammad and his wife, Aisha. The BJP has suspended Sharma from the position, but that has not been enough to quell the crisis. Over a dozen Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have condemned the Indian government and asked for a public apology.

This is just another incident of hate speech against Muslims, which has been rising in India since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014. The government has been criticized for several lynchings of Muslims by Hindu mobs with police indifference and judicial apathy over the past years. In 2019, the BJP passed a new citizenship law that discriminated against Muslims, and its Islamophobic attitudes recently encouraged some schools and colleges to impose a headscarf ban on students.

These discriminatory policies have a global significance because India has the world’s third-largest Muslim population, after Indonesia and Pakistan. Out of the estimated Indian population of 1.4 billion, about 210 million – 15% – are Muslim.

As a Muslim, I am aware of the deep reverence for Prophet Muhammad, and I understand Muslim individuals’ resentment. The reaction of Muslim governments, however, reflect their political regimes. As my book “Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment” explains, most Muslim governments are authoritarian and concentrate on condemning sacrilege against Islam – more than advocating to protect the rights of Muslim minorities abroad.
 

Aisha: a powerful woman

The recent Indian case focused on Aisha’s age when she married the Prophet. Aisha is one of the most important, vigorous and powerful figures in Islamic history. The favorite wife of the Prophet, she was the daughter of the Prophet’s successor and closest friend, Abu Bakr. She became a leading narrator of hadith – the records of the Prophet’s words and actions – the teacher of many scholars and a military leader in a civil war.

According to a hadith record, Aisha was 9 years old when she got married. Some Muslims accept this record and see it normal for a pre-modern marriage, whereas other Muslims believe that Aisha was either 18 or 19 years old by referring to other records.

It is not possible to know the true facts of Aisha’s age. As Islamic scholar Khaled Abou El Fadl stresses, “we do not know and will never know” them. Sharma thus used a single narration, while ignoring alternative Muslim explanations, in her remarks.
 

Prioritizing blasphemy, not human rights

This is not the first time that Muslim governments have reacted to defamatory actions against the Prophet. The long list of incidents includes Iran’s Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1989 call on Muslims to kill novelist Salman Rushdie and the 2006 boycott of Danish products throughout the Middle East in reaction to a dozen cartoons published in a newspaper.

An interesting pattern is visible in Muslim governments’ attitudes: They are very vocal when it comes to the cases of verbal or artistic attacks on Islamic values, whereas they are generally silent about human rights violations against Muslim individuals.

Muslim individuals in India have complained about the violations of their rights for almost a decade, but Muslim governments did not show a noteworthy reaction to the BJP until this defamation incident.

Two men and one woman holding posters with photographs of missing Uyghurs.

Uyghur protesters, saying they had not heard from their relatives in years, protest near the Chinese Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in Feb. 2021. AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

Another example is China, which has been persecuting 12 million Uyghur Muslims for many years. No Muslim government showed any major reaction. Instead, these governments have focused on their material interests and disregarded how the Chinese state treats its Muslim minority.

This double standard can be explained by the widespread authoritarianism in the Muslim world. Out of 50 Muslim countries, only five are democratic. Most authoritarian governments in the Muslim world have blasphemy laws that punish sacrilegious statements and suppress dissenting voices. That these governments should demand the punishment of blasphemy and defamation from India or other non-Muslim countries follows from these policies.

Another characteristic of authoritarian Muslim governments is their own violations of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities. In Pakistan, these violations have targeted the Ahmadiyya, Shia, Hindu and some other religious communities, while in Iran, ethnic minorities, including Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis and Kurds, faced discrimination in education and employment. A rights-based discourse abroad, therefore, would contradict these governments’ policies at home.

Authoritarianism in the Muslim world has tragic consequences for Muslim minorities in India and elsewhere. Muslim governments’ short-term, emotional reactions to some defamation cases do not help improve the conditions of Muslim minorities, who actually need a more consistent and principled support.

Author is Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University

This article was first published on The Conversation

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Kuwait government to deport expats who protested over remarks against Prophet Mohammed?

Protestors could be deported to their respective countries for violating the country’s laws prohibiting sit-ins or demonstrations by expats

13 Jun 2022

Kuwait government to deport expats who protested over remarks against Prophet Mohammed
Image: Screenshot grab from Twitter video

The Kuwaiti government has decided to arrest and deport an unspecified number of expats who participated in a protest against the controversial remarks by two former functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against Prophet Mohammad, reported a newswire service. This is because the Gulf nation’s laws do not allow expats to organise or participate in such demonstrations.

“The detectives are in the process of arresting them and referring to the deportation centre to be deported to their countries and will be banned from entering Kuwait again,” reported Al Rai, a Kuwaiti newspaper. The report did not mention the nationalities of those expatriates who took part in the demonstration. The newspaper that is published from Kuwait also states that instructions have been issued to arrest expats from the Fahaheel area who organised a demonstration after Friday prayers in support of Prophet Muhammad.

Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper published in Saudi Arabia, quoted sources as saying that the protesters will be deported to their respective countries as they violated the laws and regulations of the country which prohibit sit-ins or demonstrations by expats.

Kuwait was one of the several Gulf countries that had summoned the Indian envoy over the remarks of the former BJP functionaries. A week ago, the Kuwait Foreign Ministry had publicly announced that that the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George was summoned and handed over an official protest note by the Assistant Secretary of State for Asia Affairs expressing Kuwait’s “categorical rejection and condemnation” of the statements issued by an official of the ruling party against the Prophet.

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that has almost never backtracked on a slew of hate speeches made by elected officials and party members, made an exception this time after the widespread condemnation of Gulf nations. It was quick to suspend and expel party spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal, both of whom had used offensive language against Prophet Mohammed, as it sought to defuse a row over the issue.

Thereafter, the ministry had welcomed the statement issued by the ruling party in India, in which it announced the suspension of Sharma.

Close to a dozen Islamic countries had condemned the controversial remarks uttered on a television debate on May 26. Times Now has since removed the video of the show from public viewing. 

Back in New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the government has made it clear that the remarks do not reflect the views of the government. “We have made it pretty clear that tweets and comments do not reflect views of the government,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said at a media briefing soon after the diplomatic fiasco. 

“This has been conveyed to our interlocutors as also the fact that action has been taken by the concerned quarters against those who made the comments and tweets. I do not think I have anything additional to say on this,” he had said.

Related:

Bulldozer Injustice: How far is the regime planning to go?

Right-wing calls Ranchi boy’s ordeal a “victim card” tactic

Ranchi: 2 dead, Muslim boy terrorised for Friday protests

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

After Times Now debate Nupur Sharma gets online threats from trolls

Kuwait government to deport expats who protested over remarks against Prophet Mohammed?

Protestors could be deported to their respective countries for violating the country’s laws prohibiting sit-ins or demonstrations by expats

Kuwait government to deport expats who protested over remarks against Prophet Mohammed
Image: Screenshot grab from Twitter video

The Kuwaiti government has decided to arrest and deport an unspecified number of expats who participated in a protest against the controversial remarks by two former functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against Prophet Mohammad, reported a newswire service. This is because the Gulf nation’s laws do not allow expats to organise or participate in such demonstrations.

“The detectives are in the process of arresting them and referring to the deportation centre to be deported to their countries and will be banned from entering Kuwait again,” reported Al Rai, a Kuwaiti newspaper. The report did not mention the nationalities of those expatriates who took part in the demonstration. The newspaper that is published from Kuwait also states that instructions have been issued to arrest expats from the Fahaheel area who organised a demonstration after Friday prayers in support of Prophet Muhammad.

Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper published in Saudi Arabia, quoted sources as saying that the protesters will be deported to their respective countries as they violated the laws and regulations of the country which prohibit sit-ins or demonstrations by expats.

Kuwait was one of the several Gulf countries that had summoned the Indian envoy over the remarks of the former BJP functionaries. A week ago, the Kuwait Foreign Ministry had publicly announced that that the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George was summoned and handed over an official protest note by the Assistant Secretary of State for Asia Affairs expressing Kuwait’s “categorical rejection and condemnation” of the statements issued by an official of the ruling party against the Prophet.

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that has almost never backtracked on a slew of hate speeches made by elected officials and party members, made an exception this time after the widespread condemnation of Gulf nations. It was quick to suspend and expel party spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal, both of whom had used offensive language against Prophet Mohammed, as it sought to defuse a row over the issue.

Thereafter, the ministry had welcomed the statement issued by the ruling party in India, in which it announced the suspension of Sharma.

Close to a dozen Islamic countries had condemned the controversial remarks uttered on a television debate on May 26. Times Now has since removed the video of the show from public viewing. 

Back in New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the government has made it clear that the remarks do not reflect the views of the government. “We have made it pretty clear that tweets and comments do not reflect views of the government,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said at a media briefing soon after the diplomatic fiasco. 

“This has been conveyed to our interlocutors as also the fact that action has been taken by the concerned quarters against those who made the comments and tweets. I do not think I have anything additional to say on this,” he had said.

Related:

Bulldozer Injustice: How far is the regime planning to go?

Right-wing calls Ranchi boy’s ordeal a “victim card” tactic

Ranchi: 2 dead, Muslim boy terrorised for Friday protests

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

After Times Now debate Nupur Sharma gets online threats from trolls

Related Articles


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BJP dumps spokesperson Nupur Sharma, Naveen K. Jindal in damage control move

Action comes after outrage from Gulf nations, days after Sharma Jindal made derogatory remarks about the Prophet

06 Jun 2022

Nupur Sharma, Naveen K. Jindal

On May 26 Bharatiya Janata Party’s star national spokesperson Nupur Sharma made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammad and Islam at a prime time debate on Times Now anchored by Navika Kumar. Nupur Sharma continued with her anti-Islam slurs and was allowed to do so by Navika Kumar who did not interject to stop the hate mongering. The BJP however, DID NOT issue any statement or explanation on the abuse spewed by its national spokesperson. This led to other BJP supporters repeating the same abuse on social media. Social media outrage ensues.  

May 28: Mumbai Police registered an FIR against Nupur Sharma based on a complaint made by Irfan Shaikh, joint secretary of the Mumbai wing of Raza Academy. However, she has still not been arrested. The BJP, once again chose to remain silent on the issue.

May 29: The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh government instead of cracking down on hatemongers, arrested the president of Shibli College students union Abdul Rehman in Azamgarh district for protesting against Nupur Sharma’s offensive remarks.

June 1: Attacks begin on Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair who was the first to expose the communal hate speech by Nupur Sharma. He has shared on social media platforms s that he has been named in multiple first information reports, in Uttar Pradesh, accusing him of allegedly hurting religious sentiments when he exposed communal hate speech. He continues to be threatened and abused online.

June 3: After a protest march is taken out to protest the offensive remarks violence breaks out in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, in a clash with police after Friday prayers.

June 4:  Vice President of India (HVPI) M Venkaiah Naidu arrived in Doha on the third leg of his 3-nation tour. He was accompanied by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar and Members of Parliament, Sushil Kumar Modi, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar and P. Ravindhranath. He was received by Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and was welcomed by the  ceremonial with a Guard of Honour.

June 5: VP Naidu called on Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, met the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani at Amiri Diwan and top ministers.

June 5: Sunday witnessed a massive diplomatic outrage from Gulf countries. This is what  led to and the ruling BJP ‘punished’ its spokespersons over their derogatory references to Islam and the Prophet. Meanwhile Qatar, Kuwait and Iran had summoned India’s ambassadors posted in their countries, and many calls were posted on social media urging “a boycott of Indian products”. The BJP has only suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma, but has expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal over their communal comments.

This symbolic action too has come after massive public outrage from the Gulf nations who have  condemned and denounced the BJP members statements insulting Prophet Muhammad.

 

 

BJP is in damage control mode

The BJP is now in damage control mode, perhaps for the first time in response to a communal abuse, and issued a statement asserting that it “respects all religions” and “strongly denounces insults of any religious personality”. In a note now circulating on social media, BJP's disciplinary committee said Nupur Sharma had violated its constitutional rules and was “suspended from the party and from your responsibilities, assignments if any, with immediate effect,”till “further inquiry’.” Jinadal has , expelling Jindal, who had echoed Sharma's sentiments the party stated his views on social media could “vitiate communal harmony”

Nupur Sharma was forced to post her personal ‘apology’ on Twitter claiming she had been upset with 'insult and disrespect' of Lord Shiva, “I have been attending TV debates for the past many days where our Mahadev was being insulted and disrespected continuously.” Interestingly these ‘apologies’ are not displayed on the BJP’s official website yet, but are only available on social media, or have been released to the news agency ANI by the party.

 

 

Naveen Kumar Jindal too was quick to delete his remarks and ‘apologise’. He claimed his “intention was not to hurt anyone's sentiments. We respect all religions. I made another tweet today afternoon in which I have written that one should respect all religions. My question was to those people whose mentality is to constantly talk nonsense about Lord Shri Ram, Goddess Sita, Goddess Janaki, Lord Hanuman and Goddess Saraswati. I asked the people a question. It doesn't mean that I want to hurt anyone's sentiments. That's why I want to say very clearly that one should respect all religions. I do not wish to spread hatred amongst people. No religion propagates hatred."

 

 

Both Nupur Sharma and Naveen K Jindal have claimed they are ‘victims’ and are being trolled and allegedly threatened for their remarks, even as they now continue to ‘explain’ those offensive remarks. The apologies have so far not been seen as effective or even meaningful. That the party is in mere damage control mode has also been called out.

 

 

CJP was among first to call out Times Now’s bias towards BJP’s Nupur Sharma

The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was perhaps among the first organisations to raise the issue and write to Times Now about their News Hour debate show ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ that aired on May 26, 2022. The CJP wrote to Times Now on June 1, soon after studying the issue in detail, after Mohd Zubair of ALtNews had tweeted exposing the story on May 27. The Times Now debate seemed one-sided and partisan, and had thus violated “the basic principles of journalism and those laid down by the esteemed News Broadcasting Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA),” wrote CJP. The letter highlighted how anchor Navika Kumar appeared biased towards Nupur Sharma and did not even attempt to intervene even when Sharma made remarks about Prophet Mohammed. The narrative of the show appears to suggest that it intended to spread hatred, stigmatise and demean the Muslim community on national television, on a channel that is accessible and within the reach of a large number of people and has a huge societal influence.

Nupur Sharma, then the BJP’s national  spokesperson said, “They (Muslims) should be told to shut up and stop insulting our (Hindu) religion. Otherwise, we are also capable of hitting them where it hurts. They may call it a fountain as much as they want, but the reality is that even the Supreme Court ordered immediate protection of the area…” She then went on to make even more comments targeting Muslims asking, “Claims made in the Quran about your flying horses… that the earth is flat …should I make fun of it?” But the shocker was when she alleged that Prophet Mohammed, revered by all Muslims, married and defiled a child.

Gulf trade powers BJP reaction to its own communal hate offenders

That the BJP’s took action, perhaps the first of its kind in recent times, has clearly been taken keeping in mind the nation’s relationship with the Gulf nations. There is also a massive Indian expat population that lives and works in the Gulf countries. VP Naidu in his ongoing visit to Qatar called these “deep rooted centuries old ties”. He also acknowledged that nearly 40 per cent of India’s gas requirements are met from Qatar and called for a “need to move beyond buyer-seller relationship into a comprehensive energy partnership” reported Indian Express.

Now the spokespersons of his party have done major damage to his image, and to that of the party.  Qatar and Kuwait summoned the Indian ambassadors on Sunday, reported The Telegraph, as did Iran. India’s ambassador in Doha, Deepak Mittal, reportedly “expressed regret and called any insult to the Prophet of Islam unacceptable”. However, the Narendra Modi led government has said the comments were made by  “fringe elements” ignoring the fact that Nupur Sharma and Navin K Jindal, were representing the BJP as spokesperson. Nupur Sharma continues to be a member of the party.

Qatar’s foreign ministry has stated that it expected a public apology from the Indian government.

 

 

Reports of photographs of the Indian prime minister on garbage bins have been circulating widely on social media since Sunday. Prime Minister Modi had visited UAE and Kuwait in January 2022, the latest of his many visits since 2014. Soon calls went out on social media asking that the Gulf nations boycott Indian products The Grand Mufti of Oman was among those who called for a boycott.

 

 

According to the news reports quoting official data “nearly 6.5 million Indians live in the region” and according to India’s Embassy in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — which is headquartered in Riyadh and includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE — has “tremendous significance for India”. The IE reported that, “in

2020-2021, the total value of India’s trade with GCC nations was worth over US $87 billion, which included total imports worth nearly US $60 billion.”

 

Related

Student leader, Abdul Rehman arrested for protesting against hate-monger, Nupur Sharma

Hate Watch: Couldn’t NKTV have stopped BJP’s Shiladitya Dev from making anti-Muslim comments on air?

Three FIRs registered, 500 booked as police personnel stay alert: Kanpur violence

Violence in Kanpur, clash with police after Friday prayers

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BJP dumps spokesperson Nupur Sharma, Naveen K. Jindal in damage control move

Action comes after outrage from Gulf nations, days after Sharma Jindal made derogatory remarks about the Prophet

Nupur Sharma, Naveen K. Jindal

On May 26 Bharatiya Janata Party’s star national spokesperson Nupur Sharma made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammad and Islam at a prime time debate on Times Now anchored by Navika Kumar. Nupur Sharma continued with her anti-Islam slurs and was allowed to do so by Navika Kumar who did not interject to stop the hate mongering. The BJP however, DID NOT issue any statement or explanation on the abuse spewed by its national spokesperson. This led to other BJP supporters repeating the same abuse on social media. Social media outrage ensues.  

May 28: Mumbai Police registered an FIR against Nupur Sharma based on a complaint made by Irfan Shaikh, joint secretary of the Mumbai wing of Raza Academy. However, she has still not been arrested. The BJP, once again chose to remain silent on the issue.

May 29: The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh government instead of cracking down on hatemongers, arrested the president of Shibli College students union Abdul Rehman in Azamgarh district for protesting against Nupur Sharma’s offensive remarks.

June 1: Attacks begin on Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair who was the first to expose the communal hate speech by Nupur Sharma. He has shared on social media platforms s that he has been named in multiple first information reports, in Uttar Pradesh, accusing him of allegedly hurting religious sentiments when he exposed communal hate speech. He continues to be threatened and abused online.

June 3: After a protest march is taken out to protest the offensive remarks violence breaks out in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, in a clash with police after Friday prayers.

June 4:  Vice President of India (HVPI) M Venkaiah Naidu arrived in Doha on the third leg of his 3-nation tour. He was accompanied by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar and Members of Parliament, Sushil Kumar Modi, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar and P. Ravindhranath. He was received by Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and was welcomed by the  ceremonial with a Guard of Honour.

June 5: VP Naidu called on Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, met the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani at Amiri Diwan and top ministers.

June 5: Sunday witnessed a massive diplomatic outrage from Gulf countries. This is what  led to and the ruling BJP ‘punished’ its spokespersons over their derogatory references to Islam and the Prophet. Meanwhile Qatar, Kuwait and Iran had summoned India’s ambassadors posted in their countries, and many calls were posted on social media urging “a boycott of Indian products”. The BJP has only suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma, but has expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal over their communal comments.

This symbolic action too has come after massive public outrage from the Gulf nations who have  condemned and denounced the BJP members statements insulting Prophet Muhammad.

 

 

BJP is in damage control mode

The BJP is now in damage control mode, perhaps for the first time in response to a communal abuse, and issued a statement asserting that it “respects all religions” and “strongly denounces insults of any religious personality”. In a note now circulating on social media, BJP's disciplinary committee said Nupur Sharma had violated its constitutional rules and was “suspended from the party and from your responsibilities, assignments if any, with immediate effect,”till “further inquiry’.” Jinadal has , expelling Jindal, who had echoed Sharma's sentiments the party stated his views on social media could “vitiate communal harmony”

Nupur Sharma was forced to post her personal ‘apology’ on Twitter claiming she had been upset with 'insult and disrespect' of Lord Shiva, “I have been attending TV debates for the past many days where our Mahadev was being insulted and disrespected continuously.” Interestingly these ‘apologies’ are not displayed on the BJP’s official website yet, but are only available on social media, or have been released to the news agency ANI by the party.

 

 

Naveen Kumar Jindal too was quick to delete his remarks and ‘apologise’. He claimed his “intention was not to hurt anyone's sentiments. We respect all religions. I made another tweet today afternoon in which I have written that one should respect all religions. My question was to those people whose mentality is to constantly talk nonsense about Lord Shri Ram, Goddess Sita, Goddess Janaki, Lord Hanuman and Goddess Saraswati. I asked the people a question. It doesn't mean that I want to hurt anyone's sentiments. That's why I want to say very clearly that one should respect all religions. I do not wish to spread hatred amongst people. No religion propagates hatred."

 

 

Both Nupur Sharma and Naveen K Jindal have claimed they are ‘victims’ and are being trolled and allegedly threatened for their remarks, even as they now continue to ‘explain’ those offensive remarks. The apologies have so far not been seen as effective or even meaningful. That the party is in mere damage control mode has also been called out.

 

 

CJP was among first to call out Times Now’s bias towards BJP’s Nupur Sharma

The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was perhaps among the first organisations to raise the issue and write to Times Now about their News Hour debate show ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ that aired on May 26, 2022. The CJP wrote to Times Now on June 1, soon after studying the issue in detail, after Mohd Zubair of ALtNews had tweeted exposing the story on May 27. The Times Now debate seemed one-sided and partisan, and had thus violated “the basic principles of journalism and those laid down by the esteemed News Broadcasting Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA),” wrote CJP. The letter highlighted how anchor Navika Kumar appeared biased towards Nupur Sharma and did not even attempt to intervene even when Sharma made remarks about Prophet Mohammed. The narrative of the show appears to suggest that it intended to spread hatred, stigmatise and demean the Muslim community on national television, on a channel that is accessible and within the reach of a large number of people and has a huge societal influence.

Nupur Sharma, then the BJP’s national  spokesperson said, “They (Muslims) should be told to shut up and stop insulting our (Hindu) religion. Otherwise, we are also capable of hitting them where it hurts. They may call it a fountain as much as they want, but the reality is that even the Supreme Court ordered immediate protection of the area…” She then went on to make even more comments targeting Muslims asking, “Claims made in the Quran about your flying horses… that the earth is flat …should I make fun of it?” But the shocker was when she alleged that Prophet Mohammed, revered by all Muslims, married and defiled a child.

Gulf trade powers BJP reaction to its own communal hate offenders

That the BJP’s took action, perhaps the first of its kind in recent times, has clearly been taken keeping in mind the nation’s relationship with the Gulf nations. There is also a massive Indian expat population that lives and works in the Gulf countries. VP Naidu in his ongoing visit to Qatar called these “deep rooted centuries old ties”. He also acknowledged that nearly 40 per cent of India’s gas requirements are met from Qatar and called for a “need to move beyond buyer-seller relationship into a comprehensive energy partnership” reported Indian Express.

Now the spokespersons of his party have done major damage to his image, and to that of the party.  Qatar and Kuwait summoned the Indian ambassadors on Sunday, reported The Telegraph, as did Iran. India’s ambassador in Doha, Deepak Mittal, reportedly “expressed regret and called any insult to the Prophet of Islam unacceptable”. However, the Narendra Modi led government has said the comments were made by  “fringe elements” ignoring the fact that Nupur Sharma and Navin K Jindal, were representing the BJP as spokesperson. Nupur Sharma continues to be a member of the party.

Qatar’s foreign ministry has stated that it expected a public apology from the Indian government.

 

 

Reports of photographs of the Indian prime minister on garbage bins have been circulating widely on social media since Sunday. Prime Minister Modi had visited UAE and Kuwait in January 2022, the latest of his many visits since 2014. Soon calls went out on social media asking that the Gulf nations boycott Indian products The Grand Mufti of Oman was among those who called for a boycott.

 

 

According to the news reports quoting official data “nearly 6.5 million Indians live in the region” and according to India’s Embassy in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — which is headquartered in Riyadh and includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE — has “tremendous significance for India”. The IE reported that, “in

2020-2021, the total value of India’s trade with GCC nations was worth over US $87 billion, which included total imports worth nearly US $60 billion.”

 

Related

Student leader, Abdul Rehman arrested for protesting against hate-monger, Nupur Sharma

Hate Watch: Couldn’t NKTV have stopped BJP’s Shiladitya Dev from making anti-Muslim comments on air?

Three FIRs registered, 500 booked as police personnel stay alert: Kanpur violence

Violence in Kanpur, clash with police after Friday prayers

After Times Now debate Nupur Sharma gets online threats from trolls

 

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WHO bats for ASHA, calls them India’s ‘Global Health Leaders’

Union leaders argue true respect for ASHAs would entail payment of proper wages and job permanency

26 May 2022

ASHA workers
Image: Tumpa Mondal/Xinhua/Alamy


The World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 23, 2022 awarded India’s Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers with the ‘Global Health Leaders’ title. However, while masses including Prime Minister Narendra Modi showered praises, unions asked when the Government of India will similarly award the workers with basic rights.

“ASHA (which means hope in Hindi) are the more than one million female volunteers in India, honored for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system, to ensure those living in rural poverty can access primary health care services, as shown throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the WHO.

The global organisation acknowledged how ASHAs provide:

  • maternal care and immunization for children against vaccine-preventable diseases

  • community health care

  • treatment for hypertension and tuberculosis

  • and core areas of health promotion for nutrition, sanitation, and healthy living.

 

 

Many people including PM Modi celebrated this news and congratulated ASHAs for this title. In a tweet, he said that ASHAs are at the forefront of ensuring a healthy India. Their dedication and determination is admirable.

 

 

Similarly, unions like the All India ASHA Workers Federation affiliated to All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) too thanked WHO for rightly conferring the award. However, AITUC Secretary Vahida Nizam pointed out the supreme irony that despite such praise ASHAs still are not recognized as workers in India.

“No wages except the paltry sum of ₹ 2,000 per month and the meager incentives is all that they get. For decades, ASHAs’ demand for regularisation of their services and defined minimum wages has fallen on deaf ears,” said Nizam.

The union said that besides recognising leadership, contribution to global health advancement and commitment to regional health, this award vouchsafes the permanent nature of ASHA’s contributions. As such, the union government should announce an equivalent return of compliment to the workers, said leaders. The Federation demanded regularisation of ASHAs with ₹ 18,000 per month salary.

“We hope that greetings of admiration translate into reality of rendering justice to these ASHA workers. This is long overdue,” said Nizam.

Similarly, Delhi ASHA Workers Union General Secretary Shweta Raj thanked WHO for respecting “India's hopes” and asked when the central and Delhi governments intend to honour these hopes. Like Nizam, she said that the real meaning of respecting ASHAs is indicated by giving due rights.

“ASHAs served the public by playing on their lives during the last Covid-19 wave. But in return, neither do they get proper salary nor have they been given the status of government employees. Even ASHAs are mistreated every day from dispensaries to hospitals,” said Raj.

Regarding Modi’s tweet, she said that until the governments give the workers their rights, the congratulatory remarks remain as pure rhetoric. The union demanded respectable salary, government employee status for ASHAs and an immediate stoppage to misbehaviour suffered by the women.

Related:

No payment received for six months: UP Anganwadi workers

Just gratuity not enough: Anganwadi workers

CTUs celebrate success of General strike

UP: No payment for MDM cooks on election duty?

WHO bats for ASHA, calls them India’s ‘Global Health Leaders’

Union leaders argue true respect for ASHAs would entail payment of proper wages and job permanency

ASHA workers
Image: Tumpa Mondal/Xinhua/Alamy


The World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 23, 2022 awarded India’s Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers with the ‘Global Health Leaders’ title. However, while masses including Prime Minister Narendra Modi showered praises, unions asked when the Government of India will similarly award the workers with basic rights.

“ASHA (which means hope in Hindi) are the more than one million female volunteers in India, honored for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system, to ensure those living in rural poverty can access primary health care services, as shown throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the WHO.

The global organisation acknowledged how ASHAs provide:

  • maternal care and immunization for children against vaccine-preventable diseases

  • community health care

  • treatment for hypertension and tuberculosis

  • and core areas of health promotion for nutrition, sanitation, and healthy living.

 

 

Many people including PM Modi celebrated this news and congratulated ASHAs for this title. In a tweet, he said that ASHAs are at the forefront of ensuring a healthy India. Their dedication and determination is admirable.

 

 

Similarly, unions like the All India ASHA Workers Federation affiliated to All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) too thanked WHO for rightly conferring the award. However, AITUC Secretary Vahida Nizam pointed out the supreme irony that despite such praise ASHAs still are not recognized as workers in India.

“No wages except the paltry sum of ₹ 2,000 per month and the meager incentives is all that they get. For decades, ASHAs’ demand for regularisation of their services and defined minimum wages has fallen on deaf ears,” said Nizam.

The union said that besides recognising leadership, contribution to global health advancement and commitment to regional health, this award vouchsafes the permanent nature of ASHA’s contributions. As such, the union government should announce an equivalent return of compliment to the workers, said leaders. The Federation demanded regularisation of ASHAs with ₹ 18,000 per month salary.

“We hope that greetings of admiration translate into reality of rendering justice to these ASHA workers. This is long overdue,” said Nizam.

Similarly, Delhi ASHA Workers Union General Secretary Shweta Raj thanked WHO for respecting “India's hopes” and asked when the central and Delhi governments intend to honour these hopes. Like Nizam, she said that the real meaning of respecting ASHAs is indicated by giving due rights.

“ASHAs served the public by playing on their lives during the last Covid-19 wave. But in return, neither do they get proper salary nor have they been given the status of government employees. Even ASHAs are mistreated every day from dispensaries to hospitals,” said Raj.

Regarding Modi’s tweet, she said that until the governments give the workers their rights, the congratulatory remarks remain as pure rhetoric. The union demanded respectable salary, government employee status for ASHAs and an immediate stoppage to misbehaviour suffered by the women.

Related:

No payment received for six months: UP Anganwadi workers

Just gratuity not enough: Anganwadi workers

CTUs celebrate success of General strike

UP: No payment for MDM cooks on election duty?

Related Articles


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Over 100 Indian journalists stand with Shireen Akleh and Palestinians

Journalists write to the Israeli Prime Minister condemning the response to the reporter’s assassination

18 May 2022

Shireen Akleh
Image courtesy: Reuters
 

Following the interrupted funeral procession of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, over 100 Indian journalists wrote to the Israeli Prime Minister on May 16, 2022 to demand ‘justice in death’.

Condemning the murder, journalists demanded a transparent investigation by an independent authority to stop more of such targeted attacks and killings. Akleh was shot in the face while reporting a raid by Israeli soldiers from Jenin. Known for her independent reporting, she was wearing a helmet and body armour marked “Press” at the time of her death.

“The shocking assassination – described as such by Al Jazeera – again underlines [the Israeli] government's inability to accept independent journalism that speaks the truth,” said the signatories to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Further, they stated that the attack comes from an induced environment of impunity, where Palestinians are targeted by Israeli military at will and journalists pay the price in the crossfire.

The deceased was standing alongside other journalists, including an Al Jazeera producer who was shot in the back but survived. Moreover, during Akleh’s funeral, Israeli police were directed to stop the procession of Palestinians trying to give her a proper burial. Viral videos show how the police resorted to brutal attacks on pall bearers who nearly dropped the casket.

“Videos also record the police beating and kicking mourners. We understand that some kind of enquiry has been ordered, as well as an investigation as to whether the well-known journalist was shot from an Israeli army jeep… We expect strong condemnation from you Sir,” said the letter.

Earlier, Bennett issued a formal statement blaming Palestinians for Akleh’s killing. He claimed that armed Palestinians, firing indiscriminately at the time, killed the journalist. However, Akleh’s colleague vehemently denied this statement. He accused the Israeli forces of firing at them and said that there were no Palestinian resistance fighters at that specific spot.

Related:

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Kashmir: Journalist Aasif Sultan jailed under PSA, after getting bail 

Kashmir: Journalist Fahad Shah faces fourth FIR now under J&K PSA!

Over 100 Indian journalists stand with Shireen Akleh and Palestinians

Journalists write to the Israeli Prime Minister condemning the response to the reporter’s assassination

Shireen Akleh
Image courtesy: Reuters
 

Following the interrupted funeral procession of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, over 100 Indian journalists wrote to the Israeli Prime Minister on May 16, 2022 to demand ‘justice in death’.

Condemning the murder, journalists demanded a transparent investigation by an independent authority to stop more of such targeted attacks and killings. Akleh was shot in the face while reporting a raid by Israeli soldiers from Jenin. Known for her independent reporting, she was wearing a helmet and body armour marked “Press” at the time of her death.

“The shocking assassination – described as such by Al Jazeera – again underlines [the Israeli] government's inability to accept independent journalism that speaks the truth,” said the signatories to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Further, they stated that the attack comes from an induced environment of impunity, where Palestinians are targeted by Israeli military at will and journalists pay the price in the crossfire.

The deceased was standing alongside other journalists, including an Al Jazeera producer who was shot in the back but survived. Moreover, during Akleh’s funeral, Israeli police were directed to stop the procession of Palestinians trying to give her a proper burial. Viral videos show how the police resorted to brutal attacks on pall bearers who nearly dropped the casket.

“Videos also record the police beating and kicking mourners. We understand that some kind of enquiry has been ordered, as well as an investigation as to whether the well-known journalist was shot from an Israeli army jeep… We expect strong condemnation from you Sir,” said the letter.

Earlier, Bennett issued a formal statement blaming Palestinians for Akleh’s killing. He claimed that armed Palestinians, firing indiscriminately at the time, killed the journalist. However, Akleh’s colleague vehemently denied this statement. He accused the Israeli forces of firing at them and said that there were no Palestinian resistance fighters at that specific spot.

Related:

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Kashmir: Journalist Aasif Sultan jailed under PSA, after getting bail 

Kashmir: Journalist Fahad Shah faces fourth FIR now under J&K PSA!

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Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West Bank

The court allows demolition of eight Palestinian villages, displacing inhabitants permanently

16 May 2022

 Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West BankImage: https://relevantmagazine.com


In one of the most long-awaited decisions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel’ Supreme Court,  on May 4, 2022, issued a final ruling on a two-decade tedious legal battle wherein it rejected a petition filed against the eviction of more than 1,000 Palestinian inhabitants of the occupied West Bank consisting of eight small Palestinian villages in the Masafer Yatta area in South Hebron hills, and ruled that the land be a designated zone for military exercises.

It is noteworthy that the Court’s decision came out ahead of Israel’s Independence Day. The decision permanently displaced Palestinian families who claimed to have been residing in the 3,000-hectare area since before Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, reported the Middle East Eye.

According to Norwegian Refugee Council, the Israeli army has been trying to drive out the Palestinians out of Masafer Yatta for atleast 40 years, since designating 7,400 acres of privately-owned Palestinian agricultural land as “Firing Zone 918”. For this reason, the Palestinian villagers have been subject to atrocities committed by Israeli authorities as they demolished their houses, roads, wells and confiscated their agricultural equipment. Many villagers have been forced to move out and live in natural caves. The said Supreme Court ruling may have put an end to the dispute but it grossly violates the rights of the Palestinian people. It contravenes international law including the laws of belligerent occupation as enshrined in the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Rome Statute of 1998.

“This court ruling effectively opens the door for the Israeli military to uproot entire Palestinian communities that have lived in Masafer Yatta for decades. The damage this decision will inflict on people’s homes and source of livelihoods is irredeemable. People could be made homeless overnight with nowhere for them to go,” said Caroline Ort, NRC’s Country Director for Palestine.

UN human rights experts urgently called on Israel and the international community to stop the forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer of Palestinian communities from Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. "Following the judgement of the Israeli High Court of Justice earlier this month, around 1,200 Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta, including 500 children, face imminent risks of forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer, in serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” said the experts.

As reported by the Guardian, the Court accepted the State’s argument that the community could not prove they were residents before the 1980s despite evidence submitted proving Palestinians residence even before 1981, when the firing zone was declared. The Guardian quoted the Israeli International Human Rights Lawyer Michael Sfard, “The judges also rejected the claim that the “prohibition of forcible transfer set forth in international law is customary and binding”, calling it instead a “treaty norm” that is not enforceable in a domestic court.

In response to this, the UN human rights experts said, “Dismissing, as not relevant or not binding, norms and principles that are foundational of international law is a worrisome indication that the Israeli judicial system is supportive of laws and practices that have progressively crystallized the subjugation of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli authorities have demolished or confiscated 217 Palestinian structures in "Firing Zone 918" since 2011, displacing 608 Palestinian residents.

Palestinians have been facing heavy casualties and are being denied basic human rights everyday. For the past 75 years Palestinians have been fighting for their rights. Since 1948, the demographics of the Israel-Palestine map have been changing. While the manay western nations sympathise with Jews for the Holocaust they faced during World War II, ironically history seems to be repeating itself as the Palestinian-Arab population are put through a similar experience.

Related:

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Plight of Palestinians in an unequal fight

Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West Bank

The court allows demolition of eight Palestinian villages, displacing inhabitants permanently

 Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West BankImage: https://relevantmagazine.com


In one of the most long-awaited decisions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel’ Supreme Court,  on May 4, 2022, issued a final ruling on a two-decade tedious legal battle wherein it rejected a petition filed against the eviction of more than 1,000 Palestinian inhabitants of the occupied West Bank consisting of eight small Palestinian villages in the Masafer Yatta area in South Hebron hills, and ruled that the land be a designated zone for military exercises.

It is noteworthy that the Court’s decision came out ahead of Israel’s Independence Day. The decision permanently displaced Palestinian families who claimed to have been residing in the 3,000-hectare area since before Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, reported the Middle East Eye.

According to Norwegian Refugee Council, the Israeli army has been trying to drive out the Palestinians out of Masafer Yatta for atleast 40 years, since designating 7,400 acres of privately-owned Palestinian agricultural land as “Firing Zone 918”. For this reason, the Palestinian villagers have been subject to atrocities committed by Israeli authorities as they demolished their houses, roads, wells and confiscated their agricultural equipment. Many villagers have been forced to move out and live in natural caves. The said Supreme Court ruling may have put an end to the dispute but it grossly violates the rights of the Palestinian people. It contravenes international law including the laws of belligerent occupation as enshrined in the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Rome Statute of 1998.

“This court ruling effectively opens the door for the Israeli military to uproot entire Palestinian communities that have lived in Masafer Yatta for decades. The damage this decision will inflict on people’s homes and source of livelihoods is irredeemable. People could be made homeless overnight with nowhere for them to go,” said Caroline Ort, NRC’s Country Director for Palestine.

UN human rights experts urgently called on Israel and the international community to stop the forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer of Palestinian communities from Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. "Following the judgement of the Israeli High Court of Justice earlier this month, around 1,200 Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta, including 500 children, face imminent risks of forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer, in serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” said the experts.

As reported by the Guardian, the Court accepted the State’s argument that the community could not prove they were residents before the 1980s despite evidence submitted proving Palestinians residence even before 1981, when the firing zone was declared. The Guardian quoted the Israeli International Human Rights Lawyer Michael Sfard, “The judges also rejected the claim that the “prohibition of forcible transfer set forth in international law is customary and binding”, calling it instead a “treaty norm” that is not enforceable in a domestic court.

In response to this, the UN human rights experts said, “Dismissing, as not relevant or not binding, norms and principles that are foundational of international law is a worrisome indication that the Israeli judicial system is supportive of laws and practices that have progressively crystallized the subjugation of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli authorities have demolished or confiscated 217 Palestinian structures in "Firing Zone 918" since 2011, displacing 608 Palestinian residents.

Palestinians have been facing heavy casualties and are being denied basic human rights everyday. For the past 75 years Palestinians have been fighting for their rights. Since 1948, the demographics of the Israel-Palestine map have been changing. While the manay western nations sympathise with Jews for the Holocaust they faced during World War II, ironically history seems to be repeating itself as the Palestinian-Arab population are put through a similar experience.

Related:

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Plight of Palestinians in an unequal fight

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Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

The veteran journalist was covering a raid on a Jenin refugee camp when she was shot in the head

11 May 2022

Al-Jazeera
Image Courtesy:arabnews.com

Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran journalist best known for her reportage of the Israel – Palestine conflict, was shot dead, allegedly by Israeli security forces while covering a raid on a refugee camp in the city of Jenin in the Israel-controlled West Bank area on Wednesday. While the 51-year-old Palestinian journalist died from a gun-shot wound to the head, her colleague Ali al-Samoudi, was wounded in the back, reported Al Jazeera, the organisation for which them both worked.

In a formal statement condemning the killing, Al Jazeera said, “In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh, targeting her with live fire early this morning, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, while conducting her journalistic duty, clearly wearing a press jacket that identifies her a journalist, covering the Israeli occupation forces storming of Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.”

The network minced no words while holding the Israelis accountable for their horrifying actions, “Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty. Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen.”

Akleh was a US citizen and had earned a reputation for her bold coverage of alleged excesses committed by Israeli forces upon Palestinians. Al Jazeera, in a moving tribute to their fallen colleague, traced her life saying, “Born in Jerusalem in 1971, Abu Akleh, who was a Christian, initially studied architecture before switching to journalism at Yarmouk University in Jordan. After graduating, she returned to Palestine and worked for several media outlets, including Voice of Palestine Radio and the Amman Satellite Channel. She joined Al Jazeera Media Network a year after it was launched in 1996, as one of the Qatar-based Arabic-language network’s first field correspondents and gained fame for her coverage of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.”

It further said, “As a television journalist, Abu Akleh covered events big and small, from the Gaza wars of 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2021 to the daring jailbreak of six Palestinians who escaped a maximum-security prison in northern Israel last September. She also covered regional news, including the war in Lebanon in 2006.”

Meanwhile, Israel has denied killing the journalist and Prime Minister Naftali Bennette issued a formal statement blaming Palestinians instead. “According to the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians — who were firing indiscriminately at the time — were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” said a tweet from the PM’s office.

But Akleh’s colleague who was with her when they were both shot at categorically denied this and said, that it was Israeli forces that fired at them and that there were no Palestinian resistance fighters at that specific spot. Akleh’s colleagues have also pointed out that she was wearing full protective gear including a bullet-proof vest and helmet and the angle of the shot was aimed at her head in a portion not covered by the helmet.

Meanwhile, there is growing condemnation of how the journalist was shot dead in cold blood. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed strong condemnation of the assassination of Al-Jazeera the correspondent, stressing that “this crime constituted a blatant violation of international laws and norms.” The State of Qatar issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms the assassination of the Israeli occupation forces, Al-Jazeera correspondent.”

But in what was arguably more shocking, Israeli forces allegedly stormed the house of the dead journalist where friends and colleagues had gathered to mourn her.

Related:

Kashmir: Journalist Aasif Sultan jailed under PSA, after getting bail 
Kashmir: Journalist Fahad Shah faces fourth FIR now under J&K PSA!

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

The veteran journalist was covering a raid on a Jenin refugee camp when she was shot in the head

Al-Jazeera
Image Courtesy:arabnews.com

Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran journalist best known for her reportage of the Israel – Palestine conflict, was shot dead, allegedly by Israeli security forces while covering a raid on a refugee camp in the city of Jenin in the Israel-controlled West Bank area on Wednesday. While the 51-year-old Palestinian journalist died from a gun-shot wound to the head, her colleague Ali al-Samoudi, was wounded in the back, reported Al Jazeera, the organisation for which them both worked.

In a formal statement condemning the killing, Al Jazeera said, “In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh, targeting her with live fire early this morning, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, while conducting her journalistic duty, clearly wearing a press jacket that identifies her a journalist, covering the Israeli occupation forces storming of Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.”

The network minced no words while holding the Israelis accountable for their horrifying actions, “Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty. Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen.”

Akleh was a US citizen and had earned a reputation for her bold coverage of alleged excesses committed by Israeli forces upon Palestinians. Al Jazeera, in a moving tribute to their fallen colleague, traced her life saying, “Born in Jerusalem in 1971, Abu Akleh, who was a Christian, initially studied architecture before switching to journalism at Yarmouk University in Jordan. After graduating, she returned to Palestine and worked for several media outlets, including Voice of Palestine Radio and the Amman Satellite Channel. She joined Al Jazeera Media Network a year after it was launched in 1996, as one of the Qatar-based Arabic-language network’s first field correspondents and gained fame for her coverage of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.”

It further said, “As a television journalist, Abu Akleh covered events big and small, from the Gaza wars of 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2021 to the daring jailbreak of six Palestinians who escaped a maximum-security prison in northern Israel last September. She also covered regional news, including the war in Lebanon in 2006.”

Meanwhile, Israel has denied killing the journalist and Prime Minister Naftali Bennette issued a formal statement blaming Palestinians instead. “According to the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians — who were firing indiscriminately at the time — were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” said a tweet from the PM’s office.

But Akleh’s colleague who was with her when they were both shot at categorically denied this and said, that it was Israeli forces that fired at them and that there were no Palestinian resistance fighters at that specific spot. Akleh’s colleagues have also pointed out that she was wearing full protective gear including a bullet-proof vest and helmet and the angle of the shot was aimed at her head in a portion not covered by the helmet.

Meanwhile, there is growing condemnation of how the journalist was shot dead in cold blood. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed strong condemnation of the assassination of Al-Jazeera the correspondent, stressing that “this crime constituted a blatant violation of international laws and norms.” The State of Qatar issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms the assassination of the Israeli occupation forces, Al-Jazeera correspondent.”

But in what was arguably more shocking, Israeli forces allegedly stormed the house of the dead journalist where friends and colleagues had gathered to mourn her.

Related:

Kashmir: Journalist Aasif Sultan jailed under PSA, after getting bail 
Kashmir: Journalist Fahad Shah faces fourth FIR now under J&K PSA!

Related Articles


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