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Unidentified gunmen today opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in southern Egypt, killing at least 24 of them a
The Italian Supreme Court has ruled against a Sikh who wanted to carry a kirpan in public and said that migrants in the We
A 25-year-old Sikh cab driver in the US was assaulted and his turban knocked off by drunk passengers, an incident the poli
China today banned wearing veils or growing "abnormal" beards in Xinjiang as part of a major crackdown aimed at curbing "r
US President Donald Trump has vowed to fight a federal court ruling halting his revised temporary ban of refugees and nati
Over a thousand people from various faiths declared 'I am a Muslim too' as they assembled at the iconic Times Square here
President Donald Trump today said that he would issue a new executive order next week that would address the concerns rais
A five-year-old Sikh boy has been denied school enrolment in Australia for wearing turban as it does not align with its un
In a move aimed at ensuring religious accommodation to its officers, The New York Police Department will allow its Sikh of
A Sikh doctor in the US has filed a lawsuit against an American medical organisation alleging he was denied a neurology jo
Cithara Paul reported a few days back in the Telegraph:
The Centre will ask public and private sector companies to do a religion-based headcount of their employees as part of an effort to end discrimination.
The companies will be requested to prepare a database that will have all details of their staff, including religion and caste, minority affairs ministry sources said.
...“We are going to make it mandatory for all corporate houses to maintain a database of their staff. This would give the government, and particularly the Equal Opportunity Commission, which is going to be set up, a clear idea about the social and religious diversity among the workforce.”
R. Jagannathan joins issue with Tahir Mahmood, member of the Law Commission, in the DNA:
The Law Commission's opinion on Islam and bigamy is well intentioned, but it's really a double-edged sword. For two reasons. First, it is not appropriate for a non-religious body to quote the scriptures to justify a stand it wants to take for reasons of gender equity and justice.
Second, once a religious justification is used to promote a cause -- monogamy in this case -- what is to stop narrow-minded loonies from quoting the same books for whatever mayhem they have in mind? If the courts and law agencies start using religious justifications for secular causes, how can they uphold the Constitution?
There is no need to go down that slippery slope.
Chand-Fiza did exactly what two specific Supreme Court rulings forbid -- bigamy by non-Muslims under the cover of embracing Islam. The Law Commission has merely recommend that the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and other statutory marriage laws of India should incorporate the SC-held position of the law. Tahir Mahmood, member of the Law Commission writes in the TOI:
Conscious of the religious sensitivities of Muslim society in respect of personal law, the commission did not touch upon misuse of the Islamic law on bigamy by born Muslims themselves, which is not unknown. Ignorant of the limited scope of its report, the Law Commission is being uncharitably criticised in Muslim religious circles. Members of these circles naively believe that their personal law, despite being distorted and misused in practice, is outside the powers and functions of all constitutional organs and advisory bodies of the state.
Seeing it as an inseparable part of Islam, they want all such organs and bodies to perpetually keep away from it. They are yet to appreciate the true position of Muslim personal law under the Constitution of India and its real place in the legal and judicial systems of the country. It will be in their own interest to acquaint themselves with the proper legal position in this regard. Till this day all constitutional and statutory bodies in India have spoken of Islamic law with respect and done their best to accommodate the religious sensitivities of the community. Persistently alienating these bodies through irresponsible criticism is an act of short-sightedness.
Read the full article in the TOI
L'affaire Emraan Hashmi, where he said that he was denied a flat in a housing society only because he is a Muslim, is only the latest episode in the sad series of earlier such narratives. Salil Tripathi joins the debate in Mint:
If housing societies can frame rules about who can buy, can they make rules about who cannot buy? What if such exclusions are fuelled by prejudice, keeping out particular castes or faiths?
Singapore does it differently. There, the state does not want communal ghettos. So it requires that the ethnic composition in the flats it builds must be proportional—broadly—to the general population. Singapore can do it, being a city-state where four out of five Singaporeans live in government-built housing. But it is neither practical nor desirable to replicate such regimentation because it would violate an individual’s right to stay where he wants to, and another’s right to rent out property to whoever he wants.
But what if there is a persistent pattern to keep out some people? Can, or should, the state intervene...?
States keen to eliminate prejudice may want to intervene in cases of discrimination among private individuals. But look at our matrimonial ads—how can anti-discrimination laws be enforced while respecting individual freedom? That is the tough conundrum.
Hitch too isn't too thrilled with Obama's Cairo speech ("some of what he said was well-intentioned if ill-informed"):
Take the single case in which our president touched upon the best-known fact about the Islamic "world": its tendency to make women second-class citizens. He mentioned this only to say that "Western countries" were discriminating against Muslim women! And how is this discrimination imposed? By limiting the wearing of the head scarf or hijab.... The clear implication was an attack on the French law that prohibits the display of religious garb or symbols in state schools.
He goes on to quote "from an excellent commentary by an Algerian-American visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School, Karima Bennoune who says:
I have just published research conducted among the many people of Muslim, Arab and North African descent in France who support that country's 2004 law banning religious symbols in public schools which they see as a necessary deployment of the "law of the republic" to counter the "law of the Brothers," an informal rule imposed undemocratically on many women and girls in neighborhoods and at home and by fundamentalists.
After recounting what the anti-Muslim hysteria has done even to the moderate Muslim mind, Hasan Saroor, writing in the Hindu, also quotes her on the old housing issue:
Ms Azmi said not long ago she was quoted as complaining that she and her husband Javed Akhtar could not find a house of their choice in Bombay because they were Muslim.
“What I had in fact said was that I was not bitter about it because discrimination happens against everyone. They edited out that sentence and I was left sounding as a bitter Muslim complaining about discrimination — and this led to a huge controversy,” she said.
Tarunabh Khaitan had done a very useful piece on the possible legal responses here.
Post Script: In fact, going over the above and finding a reference, once again, to the excellent blog Law and Other Things, I find that he too had been following the moving Kafila narratives, and has done a very thoughtful follow-up post here. Do look at the the comments section as well.