No laughing matter: Souad Al-Shammary and the Saudi clergy


By Elham Manea

She made a joke about a beard and the medieval clergy went berserk; apparently they do not have a sense of humour.

Now she is in prison charged with, and I am not making this up, ‘publicly calling for the liberation of Saudi women and the separation of religion from the government’.

Are these the accusations of a just, modern, functioning society?

Another charge was added to the list: ‘denial of holiness of clergy’. The last charge gives an indication of the type of theocratic system we are talking about.

No matter. Now she is awaiting trial just as her famous blogger friend Raif Badawi did – for apostasy. Now the same clergy, who think they are holy, will judge her.

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Global Minorities Alliance condemns Pakistan School Massacre


Candlelit vigil for the victims – Trafalgar Square, London


Press statement 

For immediate use: 

Global Minorities Alliance, a human rights charity which advocates for minority rights worldwide, has called on the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, to step up security measures to stop the ongoing spate of terrorist attacks, as Pakistan mourns the dead after the horrific massacre of schoolchildren by the Taliban.

The school in the city of Peshawar, the Army Public School and Degree College, was in the military cantonment, although civilian children also attended the school. According to the Pakistan-based TV channel ARY, 144 dead are dead and 132 are injured at the time of writing this report. The overwhelming majority of the dead are children. A vigil is now underway, along with a period of national mourning. ​

The Alliance’s Chief Executive, Manassi Bernard, condemned the cowardly 16 December attack. While extending his message of solidarity to the Pakistani nation, he said:

“We are deeply shocked by this tragic attack and express our condolences to the families and friends. The loss of so many children is an irreplaceable loss.”

He urged the Government of Pakistan to work together with the law enforcement agencies to ensure the protection of the citizens, and further pointed out that security lapses often become a key reason behind such atrocities:

“From the target killing of minorities to the increasing bomb attacks which tear society apart, immediate measures should be enforced to stop this escalating terrorism.”

While expressing his condolences to the families who lost their loved ones, Shahzad Khan, Director of Interfaith Harmony, said:

“After this national tragedy we call on all the people of Pakistan to stand together against the forces which have turned our schools into graveyards and books into bullets. We urge Government of Pakistan to ensure security measures for all citizens.”


Global discrimination of transgender people: injustice at every turn


By Jack Telford

On 20 November, people around the world united to honour all of those who have been killed as a result of transgender hate and prejudice. International Transgender Day of Remembrance serves to highlight the historic and continuing discrimination facing transgender people, and calls for better treatment of the minority group.

This discrimination takes place all around the world, even in so-called ‘developed’ nations, and means that many suffer in the simple act of expressing their identity.

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