TagPrime Minister

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: Ethnic Indians on the Warpath

“Malaysia’s Hindus — mostly Tamil descendents of 19th century labourers — on Sunday ignored warnings by Prime Minister Abdul Badawi and braved tear gas and police batons to protest alleged official discrimination and demand a fair share of the national wealth. Their street demonstration, the first on this large scale since independence in 1957, shut down the city centre that is overlooked by the gleaming Twin Towers, the capital’s famed landmark. Commuters, shoppers and workers ran helter-skelter as teargas canisters rained on the protestors and filled the air with chemicals. Malaysiakini.com, an independent online news provider, put the number of protestors at 20,000, while other estimates said upto 50,000 people had turned up.
Many were turned away or arrested as they came into the city from the interior, said the organiser of Hindu Rights Action Force or HINDRAF, that was formed in 2005 to fight for Hindu rights. Many protestors waved the Malaysian flag and carried pictures of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi hung around their necks to signify non-violent protest.

They also carried banners urging the authorities to let them voice their grievances peaceably. “We only want to tell you our problems… don’t treat us like animals,” one banner said. But their cry for understanding and moderation went unheeded.”

via IPS News

(see also the Attack on Sufis)

Sam Harris and Salman Rushdie on Dutch government’s failure to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali

It is important to realize that Hirsi Ali may be the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. As such, she is a unique and indispensable witness to both the strength and weakness of the West: to the splendor of open society, and to the boundless energy of its antagonists. She knows the challenges we face in our struggle to contain the misogyny and religious fanaticism of the Muslim world, and she lives with the consequences of our failure each day. There is no one in a better position to remind us that tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.


There is also the matter of broken promises: Hirsi Ali was persuaded to run for Parliament, and to become the world’s most visible and imperiled spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women, on the understanding that she would be provided security for as long as she needed it. Gerrit Zalm, in his capacity as both the deputy prime minister and the minister of finance, promised her such security without qualification. Most shamefully, Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prime minister, has recommended that Hirsi Ali simply quit the Netherlands, while refusing to grant her even a week’s protection outside the country during which she might raise funds to hire security of her own. Is this a craven attempt to placate Muslim fanatics? A warning to other Dutch dissidents not to stir up trouble by speaking too frankly about Islam? Or just pure thoughtlessness?

Full Story: International Herald Tribune.

(via Hit and Run).

Australia to ban alcohol and porn for Aborigines

Australia’s prime minister announced plans Thursday to ban pornography and alcohol for Aborigines in northern areas and tighten control over their welfare benefits to fight child sex abuse among them.

Some Aboriginal leaders rejected the plan as paternalistic and said the measures were discriminatory and would violate the civil rights of the country’s original inhabitants. But others applauded the initiative and recommended extending the welfare restrictions to Aborigines in other parts of the country.

Full Story: Yahoo! News.

(via Hit and Run)

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