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Showing posts from July, 2014

West Papua crackdown overshadows Indonesian election

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(Originally published by Equal Times)
Translations: Español | Francais 

West Papuan independence activists have denounced the use of violence by Indonesian security forces in the lead up to the country’s general elections held on Wednesday.

Dozens of campaigners have reportedly been arrested and beaten for handing out flyers urging people in the region to boycott the elections.
More than 180 million people are estimated to have cast their vote but the arrests have angered West Papuans who allege their peaceful dissidence is routinely met with violence.
Benny Wenda, the exiled leader of the Free West Papua movement which campaigns for West Papuan independence, told Equal Times the arrests demonstrated the lack of democracy in the region.

“My people are living in a prison and are discriminated against in many forms, the current situation is very tense…If there was any democratic space for us in West Papua we would be able to freely express our political opinions.

“Instead the Indonesian Army …

Halal hysteria: should we be concerned about religious slaughter?

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(Originally published by Contributoria)

The Daily Mail is outraged. Each week a new story appears in the paper informing us that halal meat is being consumed, unsuspectingly, by some of the most vulnerable members of society. ‘Top British universities secretly serve halal meat to unknowing students,’ ran a headline in May. ‘British soldiers secretly fed halal food in canteens,’ screamed another. More recently, though, a line was crossed: ‘Now halal sneaks into our schools…Parents angered by move to ban sausages and replace them with ritually slaughtered meat.

It’s fairly obvious why the Mail is doing this. A simple search of the keyword ‘Islam’ on its website reveals the disturbing extent of the paper’s famous obsession with Muslims. On this basis it would be easy to dismiss all concerns about halal meat as equally ridiculous yet this would be foolish. Several of the UK’S most prominent animal welfare groups have also launched nationwide campaigns seeking to end non-stun …