Shadow of surveillance looms over Japan’s Muslims – The Japan Times

japanWhile millions around the world marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan last week, a cloud hung over celebrations in Japan. Muslims here say they feel they are constantly under the ever-watchful eyes of the police.

Otsuka Mosque in Tokyo usually hosts around a few dozen Muslims for morning prayers, but hundreds packed the small prayer rooms last Wednesday on Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that signals the end of Ramadan.

“We had to hold the prayers four separate times so all the people lining up could fit in,” explains Haroon Qureshi, secretary-general of the mosque’s Japan Islamic Trust organization. “There must have been 1,000 people waiting to pray.”

Full article – http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/07/13/issues/shadow-surveillance-looms-japans-muslims/#.V4z9hRV97IX

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Aboriginal Activists Marked One Year Since the Death of Ms Dhu in Custody – VICE

Photo by Jarni Blakkarly

Photo by Jarni Blakkarly

On Melbourne’s busy Burke Street mall during the rush of the lunch hour, the low voice of the singer Kutcha Edwards rang out in prayer; “Is this what we deserve?”

On Tuesday in major cities across Australia Indigenous rights activists gathered for the one year anniversary of the death of Yamatji woman Ms Dhu, who died in police lock-up in South Hedland, Western Australia, after medical complications.

Despite being almost the exact opposite side of the country from where that death occurred, Kutcha was singing to the dozens who gathered to mark the date and protest for justice as well as reform. The song was for the white-collar workers rushing by.

Full article – http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/aboriginal-activists-marked-one-year-since-the-death-of-ms-dhu-in-custody

Australia’s green-energy recession – Al Jazeera

A welder at Eureka's Future factory in Melbourne works on a solar-powered water heater [Jarni Blakkarly/Al Jazeera]

A welder at Eureka’s Future factory in Melbourne works on a solar-powered water heater [Jarni Blakkarly/Al Jazeera]

Melbourne, Australia – On the industrial fringe, one factory making solar energy hot-water tanks has become a meeting point for the environmental movement and the moribund manufacturing industry.  

While the Eureka’s Future factory looks identical to others lining the street, inside young environmentalists from the inner city and lifelong hardened factory workers from the suburbs are transforming this former private company into a not-for-profit, workers-owned cooperative.

Full article – http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/06/australia-green-energy-recession-150608074408692.html

Challenging Australia’s refugee narrative – Al Jazeera

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Sri Lankan migrants bound for Australia are detained in Indonesian waters [AP]

Melbourne, Australia –  A portrait of a thoughtful Malcolm X overlooks the chaotic office space in the heart of the city. It is home to a refugee-run organisation fighting to reframe Australia’s asylum seeker debate.

At a desk amid the stacked boxes and clutter sits Ramesh Fernandez, the founder ofRISE: Refugees Survivors and Ex-Detainees, an organisation that provides services to refugees and advocates for policy change.

Full article – http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/06/challenging-australia-refugee-narrative-150621100410664.html

Unease With Australia’s Islamaphobia – Al Jazeera

[Snehargho Ghosh/Al Jazeera]

[Snehargho Ghosh/Al Jazeera]

Melbourne, Australia – In Christian majority countries like Australia, Easter is usually a time of family gatherings and celebration.

However, a day before Easter Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets in major Australian cities to protest against what they see as the rising influence of Islam.

Under the banner “Reclaim Australia”, protesters, many waving Australian flags, chanted against Islamic law and held signs reading “No More Mosques” and “Islam is an Enemy of the West.”

Full article – http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/04/unease-australia-islamophobia-150409075748404.html

Indonesia’s minorities hope for a safer future under Widodo – AFP

(AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

(AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

(Jakarta) – Indonesian Ahmadis are no strangers to persecution, with attacks and discrimination rife, but leader Iskandar Gumay hopes better days are ahead for the minority Muslim sect under new President Joko Widodo.

The cleric has witnessed attempts to torch his mosque and seen worshippers elsewhere prevented from burying their dead, however he believes a draft law shows Indonesia’s leader is committed to tackling religious intolerance.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has seen its image as tolerant and pluralist suffer due to a spike in religious violence. As well as Ahmadis, minority Muslim Shiites and Christians have been targeted in the Sunni-majority country.

Full article – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-2939127/Indonesias-minorities-hope-safer-future-Widodo.html

Australia’s indigenous incarceration crisis – Al Jazeera

Protesters highlight the fight for justice for Aboriginal deaths in police custody or in prisons [AP]

Protesters highlight the fight for justice for Aboriginal deaths in police custody or in prisons [AP]

Sydney, Australia The indigenous people of Australia constitute only 2.5 percent of the country’s total population, however, 27 percent of those in prison across the country are of Aboriginal heritage.

The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration is now 18 times higher than that of non-indigenous Australians.

Last month, the Law Council of Australia declared the rate of indigenous imprisonment, which has grown by more than 50 percent in the last decade, a“national emergency”

But for many indigenous people, this crisis in the relationship between their communities and the criminal justice system is nothing new.

Full article – http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/12/australia-indigenous-incarceration-crisis-2014121472549972623.html