It’s easy to pass a law that lets young girls report marital rape, but how exactly will this be implemented?

Child marriage is technically a punishable offence in India. If a male over the age of 18 is found guilty of marrying a child then the accused shall be punished under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006. The punishment, which is also applicable to parents and guardians of the child, is either rigorous imprisonment of two years, or fines which may extend to Rs1 lakh, or even both in certain cases. Despite the law, cases where girls as young as 15 or 16, of both Hindu and Muslim faith, are forced to marry continue to peak. The most inhumane ...

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Whether it’s ghosts, child traffickers or braid-choppers, the resilient people of Kashmir will continue to rise

It was the mid 90’s, winter had descended on Kashmir, and we had just had our dinner. Lately, dinner conversations had been just about one thing – the daeyn (feminine ghosts). The daeyn had recently arrived in Kashmir. Some would say they were from the jungles in Kupwara, while others said it was from the woods across the Line of Control (LoC) and was wreaking havoc in Kashmir. My uncle, in a hushed tone, informed my father of the latest victim of the daeyn’s attack – Samad Khan. Samad Khan, popularly known as Khan sahib, came from Islamabad in the Kashmir Valley and worked in the local mosque. ...

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Muslim immigrants’ alternative terror: “I’m relieved my religion or nationality is not questioned, at least this time”

I am a Muslim American and have lived in Las Vegas for over 17 years. It is my city, it is my home, and this is where all three of my kids were born. They were born in three different hospitals; the very same hospitals, which are now treating victims of the Sunday night massacre.  I am writing this to make a connection, a connection of love for the city, being invested in the city, being a part of the community and the very robust life of Las Vegas. Last night, as I saw the news unfold, I found myself in an unbelievable place; ...

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Saudi women are eager to take the wheel, but are they ready to be harassed even more?

On September 26th, a much-awaited milestone was achieved in Saudi Arabia – a royal decree issued by King Salman that allows Saudi women to drive. The Kingdom, which received much backlash for being the only country in the world that doesn’t already allow women to drive, has finally been relieved of this tarnish. Saudi women will no longer need their guardians’ permission to obtain a driving license nor need a man present with them in the car. After decades of struggle to get the ban uplifted, people took to social media to welcome the landmark decision, which is part of new reforms in the ...

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If the US does not recognise its glaring gun problem after the deadliest mass shooting, it never will

“Why are they not calling it terrorism,” was the text of the WhatsApp message I received from my wife as the news of the latest and deadliest mass shooting in Las Vegas spread. I replied by saying that terrorism by definition is a deliberate act conducted for achieving some political and ideological end. This kind of shooting cannot be called terrorism as it is more likely to be an outcome of a mental disorder. It was an inhumane and horrific act, but still cannot be called terrorism. But I understand as to why she, and for that matter many other Muslims, wanted it ...

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Before pointing the terrorism finger at Pakistan, it’ll be wise for India to take a look in their violent backyard first

While in Singapore, I met an Indian Hindu from Indian Gujarat, the state where I was born, in the hotel lobby. After exchanging pleasantries, he asked me, “And in which city do you live now?” When I said Karachi, he was shocked. “But that’s in Pakistan!” And then, when the truth dawned on him, he said, “You’re a Pakistani as well as a Muslim?!” He started edging away from me and I had to assure him that I wasn’t about to blow him up. Like most Indian Hindus, he had always believed that most Pakistanis cannot speak English, that they are too poor to afford vacations ...

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Scars of Partition: A Muslim and a Hindu walk into a dhabba to have a cup of chai, and all hell breaks loose

Recently, a video went viral on social media which shows a young Indian girl being physically assaulted by a female leader of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly having tea with a Muslim boy in public. मुस्लिम लड़के के साथ चाय पीने पर BJP की महिला नेता ने लड़की को… मुस्लिम लड़के के साथ चाय पीने पर BJP की महिला नेता ने लड़की को सरेआम मारा चांटा, वीडियो हुआ वायरल Posted by जनता का रिपोर्टर on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 This incident took place in Aligarh’s city of Uttar Pradesh (UP), which is one of the largest states in North India. The BJP leader who assaulted the ...

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India’s contract marriages: When Sheikhs marry, rape and divorce child brides, all in one week

Poverty is not a crime, but it surely is a curse for docile Muslim girls in the poverty-driven city of Hyderabad, India. Why, you ask? Because young girls from impoverished families are forced to marry ageing and rich men. Since the 90s, Hyderabad has been a hunting ground for the rich philanderers from oil-rich countries to seek young and virgin brides. Over the years, numerous unfortunate stories of teenaged brides wedded to ageing Arabs have unfolded at regular intervals. Recently, 20 people were arrested in a major crackdown against a ‘Sheikh marriage’ racket, which hints towards a much greater issue. Amidst poor living conditions and rising ...

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It is impossible to not fall in love with the rustic paradise that is Madagascar

Discovering new parts of the world always has an epiphanic effect on you – everything seems brighter and better. That’s exactly how I felt after my holiday to Madagascar. After a 13-hour journey with a 10-hour pit stop in Mauritius, I finally arrived in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. When I arrived in Antananarivo, I was suffering from a cold, but recovered after only a week in this paradise. The fresh island breeze, tall palm trees and happy faces of the local residents were the antidote that I very much needed. I only stayed in the capital for three days at a college ...

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Why an independent Kashmir is not good news for both Pakistan and India

In a previous blog that discussed the implications of President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy, I suggested that Pakistan requires a re-think of its policies towards the US and Afghanistan. It further stated that Pakistan should try to normalise relations with India, since the key to peace on the western border may lie on the eastern border. For this to happen, it is necessary for Pakistan to carry out an analysis of the continued validity of its Kashmir policy. This is not required as a concession that needs to be given to India to achieve peace, but it is necessary due ...

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