Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Desmond Tutu wins Templeton Prize

Also in this week's news roundup, Femen declare 'jihad' against the hijab and ancient complex discovered in Iraq.

Desmond Tutu waxwork
by A. Tayyaba

Templeton Prize 2013 for Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu, a prominent campaigner against apartheid in South Africa and former Anglican archbishop of Capetown, has been awarded the Templeton Prize for promoting peace and forgiveness around the world. The prize is worth $1.7 million and the award was established in 1972 by the late American born philanthropist John Templeton for a living person, 'who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension'. Tutu, 81, is a close friend of Nelson Mandela and accepted the prize graciously, saying: "When you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd it's usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others." 

Femen conduct nude protests against hijab
This week has seen huge controversy between supporters and detractor of the topless hijab protester Amina Tyler in Tunisia. The nineteen year old posted two topless photos of herself on her Facebook page to protest against the changes in rights for women that have been happening since the fall of President Zain ul Abideen and the rise of the ultra conservative Salafis. There have been calls for her to be stoned to death, whipped, or jailed and fined. Other women have joined her in her protests on April 4 by posting similar photos of themselves or protesting outside Tunisian embassies/mosques. 

Tyler is said to have opened a Tunisian chapter of the extreme feminist group Femen, which has protested topless outside the Vatican and other places around the world. There has been a backlash by a group called ‘Muslim Women Against Femen’, who have written to the Ukranian base of Femen: "We are proud Muslimahs, and we're sick of your colonial racist rubbish disguised as 'Women’s Liberation'!"

Archaelogists discover ancient complex in Iraq
An exciting discovery has been made by archaeologists in Tell Khabeer in southern Iraq where a site the size of a football pitch has been uncovered and has been provisionally dated at 2000 BC. The discovery in the Ur area, once a commercial hub, is believed by some scholars to also have been the birthplace of Abraham. 

Mormon Patriarch Dies aged 106 
Eldred G. Smith, the oldest living Mormon has died in Utah. He was famous for giving over 18,000 blessings and being the last known patriarch of the Mormons. 

Holocaust Remembrance Day marked in Israel
This week Israelis looked back on the tragedies of the holocaust in which millions of European Jews were killed. The day marked the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which became a symbol of Jewish resistance against the oppression of the Nazis. 

Wikileaks reveals Vatican underestimated Pinochet's threat
Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks show the Vatican underestimated the terrible consequences of General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. In a diplomatic cable addressed to Henry Kissinger, then the US secretary of state, a high-ranking Vatican official spoke of 'the pope's grave concern over successful international leftist campaign to misconstrue completely realities of Chilean situation'. The cable also dismissed violence in Chile as 'unfortunately natural following a coup d'etat' and the reports of deaths as 'unfounded' and 'propoganda'.

Burmese Muslims under Threat
A worrying wave of violence against the minority Muslim population has been unleashed in the town of Miektila. Over 40 people were killed including 20 boys, children taken from their school and hacked to death. Shops and homes have been destroyed and the town’s Muslim population has fled, some to camps, protected for their own safety by armed police. The violence occurred after an attack on a monk, who later died.

Indonesian religious groups unite against persecution
A rally has been held to protest against the religious discrimination in Indonesia. Around 200 people from different faiths joined the rally in the capital Jakarta. The protest took place after a Church in Bekasi was demolished, an Ahmadi Mosque was sealed on Thursday and incidents of violence against Shias rose. Although 90% of Indonesia’s population is classed as Muslim, the constitution does guarantee religious rights. @TayyabaNoor02

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