China Said It Closed Muslim Detention Camps. There’s Reason to Doubt That.
The Communist government’s narrative of redemption through state-enforced “re-education,” despite its dystopian echoes, remains the justification for the camps.
The camps have already swallowed up one million Muslims or more, by most estimates, wrenching them from their families and homes and subjecting them to what activists, relatives of detainees and former detainees describe as stressful, even debilitating, indoctrination. Detainees, they say, are forced to renounce their religious beliefs and embrace the ideology of the Communist Party.
The establishment of the detention and re-education system — which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently called “the stain of the century” — has generated the harshest criticism of China’s record on human rights since the bloody Tiananmen crackdown in 1989.
The government seems more eager to quell international outrage over the camps than to begin to wind down the far-flung system it has built over the past two years. It remains unapologetically proud of the centers, which were established in a region that experienced a string of deadly attacks up until 2016, especially targeting ethnic Chinese and government buildings.
The chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, Shohrat Zakir, declared that the re-education system was accomplishing its goal of eliminating radicalism and separatism.
The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism
Sweden was long seen as a progressive utopia. Then came waves of immigrants — and the forces of populism at home and abroad.
That nativist rhetoric — that immigrants are invading the homeland — has gained ever-greater traction, and political acceptance, across the West amid dislocations wrought by vast waves of migration from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In its most extreme form, it is echoed in the online manifesto of the man accused of gunning down 22 people last weekend in El Paso.
In the nationalists’ message-making, Sweden has become a prime cautionary tale, dripping with schadenfreude. What is even more striking is how many people in Sweden — progressive, egalitarian, welcoming Sweden — seem to be warming to the nationalists’ view: that immigration has brought crime, chaos and a fraying of the cherished social safety net, not to mention a withering away of national culture and tradition.
Fueled by an immigration backlash — Sweden has accepted more refugees per capita than any other European country — right-wing populism has taken hold, reflected most prominently in the steady ascent of a political party with neo-Nazi roots, the Sweden Democrats. In elections last year, they captured nearly 18 percent of the vote.
To dig beneath the surface of what is happening in Sweden, though, is to uncover the workings of an international disinformation machine, devoted to the cultivation, provocation and amplication of far-right, anti-immigrant passions and political forces. Indeed, that machine, most influentially rooted in Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia and the American far right, underscores a fundamental irony of this political moment: the globalization of nationalism.
Governments have underestimated a growing, and murderous, threat
THE SURGE in terrorist attacks by white nationalists includes, this year, the massacres in Christchurch (51 dead) and El Paso (22 dead). Often the killers cite fears of white “replacement” and draw inspiration from other, similar atrocities, especially Anders Breivik’s slaughter in 2011 of 77 people in Oslo and a nearby island. But what is white nationalism, and where did it come from?
The phenomenon is hard to define because of its ideological and geographical fractiousness. Broadly, white nationalists want to achieve an ethno-state of, and for, whites. Some do their best to avoid overtly claiming that any race is inferior, arguing that each should have its own ethno-state. The majority, however, are white supremacists, who also believe that races form a normative hierarchy with whiteness at the top. They demand policies ranging from stricter controls on immigration to wholesale ethnic cleansing, or even genocide. All this is often tied to the fear of “white genocide”, or white “replacement”, ie, the notion that the “white race” is being squeezed out of existence through its own low birth rate, miscegenation and more prolific reproduction by non-white people.
India Plans Big Detention Camps for Migrants. Muslims Are Afraid.
NEW DELHI — More than four million people in India, mostly Muslims, are at risk of being declared foreign migrants as the government pushes a hard-line Hindu nationalist agenda that has challenged the country’s pluralist traditions and aims to redefine what it means to be Indian.
The hunt for migrants is unfolding in Assam, a poor, hilly state near the borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh. Many of the people whose citizenship is now being questioned were born in India and have enjoyed all the rights of citizens, such as voting in elections.
State authorities are rapidly expanding foreigner tribunals and planning to build huge new detention camps. Hundreds of people have been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign migrant — including a Muslim veteran of the Indian Army. Local activists and lawyers say the pain of being left off a preliminary list of citizens and the prospect of being thrown into jail have driven dozens to suicide.
But the governing party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not backing down.
Instead, it is vowing to bring this campaign to force people to prove they are citizens to other parts of India, part of a far-reaching Hindu nationalist program fueled by Mr. Modi’s sweeping re-election victory in May and his stratospheric popularity.
Citizens must have things in common and must also agree to forget many other things.
There are so many varieties of nationalism that it may be time to pause and ask: What is a nation? A provocative and useful answer once came from the 19th-century French scholar Ernest Renan: “The essence of a nation is that all of its individuals have many things in common, and also that everyone has forgotten many things.”
What must citizens forget before a nation becomes a nation? Ethnic differences, for one thing: “No French citizen knows whether he is a Burgund, an Alain, a Taifala, or a Visigoth,” Renan said. Ancient differences as to sect or creed must be left in the past. “Every French citizen has forgotten,” Renan claims, that in the 13th century the pope’s armies nearly wiped out the Cathars, a rival Christian sect, and that on St. Bartholomew’s Day in the 16th century, Catholic mobs slaughtered thousands of Calvinist Protestants.
Happily, by Renan’s day, such old conflicts had fallen into time immemorial, and in so doing freed France to become France.
What can happen to a nation whose citizens do not forget? Renan would not have been surprised by the fate of the former Yugoslavia. For many years, Muslim Bosniaks, Roman Catholic Croats and Eastern Orthodox Serbs lived in relative harmony. With the collapse of Communism in the late 1980s, however, it seemed likely that the country would splinter into its constituent parts, and the Serbs, fearing they would become a second-class minority, began to massacre their Muslim neighbors.
Slobodan Milosevic, a skilled apologist for the memory of difference, helped plant the seeds of that exercise in ethnic cleansing when he celebrated the anniversary of an ancient battle. For Serbs, it had become a so-called chosen trauma, an ancestral calamity whose memory mixes actual history with present-day grievance and hope. In the summer of 1389 at the Field of Blackbirds in Kosovo, an army of Muslim Turks defeated Christian Serbs led by the feudal lord Lazar Hrebeljanovic. The Ottoman Empire thereafter ruled over Kosovo for 400 years.
Roméo Dallaire named as 2019 recipient of Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship
Published August 22, 2019
Twenty-five years after drawing the world’s attention to the atrocities committed in Rwanda, retired lieutenant-general Roméo Dallaire has been named the recipient of an international award for promoting tolerance and respect.
The Institute for Canadian Citizenship announced Thursday that Mr. Dallaire, a former Canadian senator, is the recipient for this year’s Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.
“Despite all the psychological trauma that he has gone through, and it’s still not over really for him, he has continued to do what he can to draw attention to these causes,” said former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, the prize’s namesake and co-founder of the institute.
The international award was established in 2016 by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship to recognize a leader dedicated to establishing tolerance and inclusion. Previously, the prize has been awarded to Margaret Atwood (2018), Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (2017) and the Aga Khan (2016).
The announcement comes on the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, when Mr. Dallaire was serving as force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. He played a crucial role at the time when the UN withdrew its peacekeepers and then-Gen. Dallaire refused to leave, instead staying to protect targets of the massacre.
Although he battled with post traumatic stress disorder, Mr. Dallaire would go on to work on helping end the use of child soldiers through the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and to foster leadership in children through La Foundation Roméo Dallaire in his home province of Quebec.
Canada in 25 Years: Roméo Dallaire on the young leaders he envisions for the future
“I departed from Rwanda injured, even broken, but profoundly awake to the responsibility we have to each other as human beings and global citizens,” Mr. Dallaire said in a news release.
“In these perilous times, similar to those in 1994 when nearly two million refugees were fleeing one tiny country for their lives, it is critical we see ourselves beyond borders and as citizens who share an ethical covenant to respect and protect one another.”
Mr. Dallaire will receive his award on Sept. 25 at 6 Degrees Toronto, a three-day international forum on diversity, citizenship and inclusion.
Never before in the history of mankind, has the world been bereft with disputes, communal violence, warfare and civil unrest as it is now. From Brussels attacks to Orlando shooting, terrorism has firmed itself in our land. Meanwhile, Palestine, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan also continue to struggle with the havoc of terrorism. News channels are flooding with images of Syrian kids pleading for peace and citizens holding placards pleading for justice against corrupt governments. Though humanity is coming together yet we are entangled in the knots of mutual distrust and intolerance, racial and ethnic disharmony and ideological and religious differences. From the beginning of time and in every part of our world, people of different races, religions and cultures have lived side by side still people are not alike. No two human beings, no matter how closely related they maybe are exactly the same. Everyone is different, rather diverse. Diversity has been a constant feature of human existence. The notion of diversity in our world is nothing new. Neither is the human consciousness of this phenomenon something new. However, as we see it today, this notion has been made the basis for conflict rather than harmony in many cases. Diversity and pluralism have become the buzz words of 21st century. With the advent of modern technologies like the Internet combined with the processes of globalization and escalating migrations, these words have been employed so frequently that they tend to become a cliché. Some consider pluralism and diversity to be synonyms. Others tend to link it with terms like relativism, inclusiveness, tolerance, multiculturalism and many more. However, in the stream of current thought one is compelled to question that do we really understand the phenomenon of pluralism? Is it same as the concept of diversity or is it different? What is the standing of pluralism amidst all these terms and are they interchangeable in theory as well as in practice?
The archives of history contain many occasions where communities and religious groups have not only tolerated each other but have based their mutual relationships on respect and shared aims. And over the course of history, this subject has continued to attract immense scholarly attention. Many scholars, philosophers and theorists have tried to explain this mutual and peaceful co-existence and answer afore mentioned questions through frameworks as diverse as the “Melting pot”, “Ethnic stew”, “Salad Bowl”, “The mosaic” and so on.
How Does Pluralism Advance the Sustainable Development Agenda?
The world gathers at the United Nations headquarters in New York this week for the 74th UN General Assembly to discuss the most pressing issues of our time. Progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ will be a major focus. The Goals present a roadmap towards an inclusive, just, equitable, peaceful and prosperous world.
The Agenda is comprehensive and ambitious, but despite commitments from 193 countries, progress has been uneven. With the first global review of the SDGs taking place on September 24-25, the Global Centre for Pluralism explores the connections between pluralism and sustainable development.
In her 2019 Annual Pluralism Lecture, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed outlined how pluralism - an ethic of respect for diversity - is foundational to all 17 Goals of Agenda 2030. Find out how the Centre’s work is addressing key aspects of the SDGs.
Ensuring equitable access to quality education is vital for development. Educating for pluralism takes this even further. The Centre is developing an approach to education that equips learners to engage critically with diverse viewpoints and challenge inequality. Learn more > https://www.pluralism.ca/education/
The Centre’s research demonstrates that addressing economic, political and social inequalities and exclusion can help eliminate group-based grievances, prevent violence and secure lasting peace. Read more in the UN/World Bank report Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict https://www.pathwaysforpeace.org/ . The Centre co-hosted launches of this report in Kenya and Canada.
Despite broad recognition that the SDGs must leave no one behind, measuring inclusion remains a challenge. This poses difficulties for measuring success towards the Goals. The Centre is developing a Global Pluralism Index to measure the state of inclusion, exclusion and inequalities in diverse societies. Learn more > https://www.pluralism.ca/global-pluralism-index/
China’s repression of Islam is spreading beyond Xinjiang
Millions more Muslims are being targeted by the Communist Party
As darkness begins to settle on Duanjiaping village, a few men in white skullcaps head towards a large mosque. It is time for the Maghrib, the fourth of the five daily prayers of devout Muslims. It is clear even before they reach the building’s high yellow walls that all is not right. The prayer-hall’s four minarets, topped by golden crescent moons, are still a towering landmark. But they are covered in scaffolding and green netting and they are not due for repair.
It is less than six years since hundreds of Muslim men gathered in the mosque’s courtyard to celebrate the completion of its new Arab-style prayer hall. It had cost 9.8m yuan ($1.37m)—a tidy sum in a county that is officially classified as impoverished. The festivities had official blessing. The imam of one of the most important mosques in Lanzhou, the provincial capital, was there. So, too, was a senior leader of the government-backed Islamic Association of China.
Much has changed. A chill political wind has been blowing over Duanjiaping and hundreds of other villages and towns in Linxia, a majority-Muslim prefecture in Gansu province, which borders on the Tibetan plateau and the far-western region of Xinjiang. Many villages in Linxia have at least one mosque, with minarets visible far and wide. The one with the scaffolding in Duanjiaping can accommodate 3,000 worshippers. Its grandeur is not unusual. In recent decades rural communities in Linxia—China’s “little Mecca”, as it is often called—have vied to outdo each other in mosque-building. Now the government is not only reining them in, it is tightening controls on their faith as well.
What Xi Jinping Hasn’t Learned From China’s Emperors
Tolerance of diversity, not repression, is the surest way to govern a vast territory with many peoples.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) on Oct. 1, the party-state has much to celebrate: an unprecedented record of economic development, world-class education and technological innovation, an increasingly prominent position on the world stage. But even as the authorities go to extreme lengths to assure a triumphant birthday parade, the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) faces its most intense international criticism since 1989, when it killed hundreds of unarmed protesters in the heart of Beijing, at Tiananmen Square. Thirty years later, international concern is focused on China’s peripheries: Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
Both are thorns in the C.C.P.’s side, as is Tibet, where a dispute over who will succeed the elderly Dalai Lama could reawaken mass dissent, and Taiwan, where popular support is rising for a president who challenges Beijing’s view that the island is an integral part of China. Despite the C.C.P.’s claims, these challenges are not the doing of “hostile foreign forces,” “separatists” or “thugs” stirring up trouble in these territories. Rather, they result from the fact that when the C.C.P. came to power 70 years ago, it took over not a homogeneous China, but a sprawling empire with a variety of peoples.
In its first decades, the P.R.C. tacitly acknowledged this past and proudly proclaimed its identity as a multinational state. But now, under President Xi Jinping, the C.C.P. is actively working to erase the cultural and political diversity that is the legacy of its imperial precedents.
Please join us for a special screening of the 2019 Hot Docs Festival documentary “Bojayá: Caught in the Crossfire”, about the efforts of Leyner Palacios Asprilla, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and 2017 Global Pluralism Award winner, as he works to ensure key elements of the peace agreement are implemented for the safety of his community.
Following the film will be a discussion between Mr. Palacios and Ms. Colleen Duggan, the head of the Governance and Justice program at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Mr. Palacios and Ms. Duggan will explore how transitional justice can combat exclusion and create inclusive institutions and environments as a necessary requirement for sustaining peace.
Global Centre for Pluralism Announces the 2019 Global Pluralism Award Winners
Ottawa, Canada – October 15, 2019 – Today, the Global Centre for Pluralism announced the three winners of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award: Deborah Ahenkorah – a young Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher bringing African children’s stories to life; the Center for Social Integrity - an organization giving youth from conflict-affected regions in Myanmar the skills and voice to be leaders for change amidst the many overlapping conflicts ongoing in the country; and ‘Learning History that is not yet History’ - a network of history educators and specialists in the Balkans pioneering a new approach to teaching the controversial history of conflict.
“The jury was inspired by the vital work of the award winners and the hundreds of impressive submissions received. They are all deeply committed to equipping the next generation of leaders with the knowledge and empathy to respond to the biggest challenges to pluralism today and in the future.”
former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the Award Jury
Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism, said, “The Centre is honoured to be supporting the work of this year’s award winners. Their creative initiatives offer hope that negative trends toward exclusion and division can be reversed. The impact of their work is proof that we can build more richly diverse, peaceful and inclusive societies. These are examples we can all learn from.”
The Global Pluralism Award celebrates pluralism in action. As a result of their sustained achievements to promote respect across differences, the Award winners are helping to build more inclusive societies, in which human diversity is valued and thrives.
Watch the videos on YouTube
Deborah Ahenkorah - 2019 Global Pluralism Award winner
Government’s $15m grant matched Aga Khan’s gift
From Adrienne Clarkson, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Your report “Credibility gap leaves Trudeau in survival fight” (October 19) left an erroneous impression about a $15m contribution by the government of Canada to the Global Centre for Pluralism. It was not an “endowment” but rather a grant to match the Aga Khan’s generous incremental $15m gift to complete the rehabilitation of a derelict publicly-owned heritage property in Ottawa, now serving as the centre’s headquarters.
The contribution was directed to expand the work of a centre that is in fact a full 50/50 financial partnership between the Canadian government and the Aga Khan, a partnership structured and agreed to by Justin Trudeau’s predecessor, Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. Moreover, the $15m grant referred to in your report was approved by Mr Harper’s government, though it was executed after the 2015 election.
Chair, Board Executive Committee,
Global Centre for Pluralism,
Ottawa, ON, Canada
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If Trump opponents want to reach these voters, they need a better answer to one of the central challenges of our age: how to create a mass multicultural democracy where people feel at home.
This week I was at a Faith Angle Forum conference in France with a group of European and American scholars and journalists. I got a glimpse of that better answer.
The Europeans reminded me of something that is taboo here: that immigration is always, at the most personal level, a cultural encounter. It’s a person with one language and set of values interacting with a person with another language and set of values. When people meet in this way, they put their opinions, identities and way of life at risk. They might be changed by the encounter. The process is unsettling.
The crucial question becomes: Do the people in the encounter feel secure enough to learn from it rather than to react with anxiety and fear? Right now, we are asking millions of Americans to accept high immigration while they are already living with maximum insecurity. Their wages are declining, their families and communities are fragmenting, their churches are shrinking, government services are being cut, their values and national identity feel unstable.
Of course they are going to react with suspicion if suddenly on top of all this they begin to feel like strangers in their own place.
The lesson is that to create thick pluralistic society, you first have to help people embed in a secure base. That includes economic and health care security, but it also involves cultural and spiritual security. It involves offering people opportunities to embed in their local culture, to practice their particular faith, to live by local values that may seem alien to you and me.
Only people who are securely rooted in their own particularity are confident enough to enjoy the encounter with difference.
This is the paradox of pluralism: In order to get people to integrate with others you have to help them weave close communities with their own kind. Cosmopolitans never get this.
A person who is firmly rooted can go out and enjoy the adventure of pluralism. This is the second phase of thick pluralism. The person with the pluralist mind-set acknowledges that God’s truth is radically dispersed. It is not contained in one tradition and community. The good life is only understood through a holistic journey across traditions.
The pluralist doesn’t see society as a competition for scarce resources, but as a joint voyage of discovery in search of life’s biggest answers. Pluralism offers us the chance, and the civic duty, to be a daring social explorer, venturing across subcultures, sometimes having the exciting experience of being the only one of you in the room, harvesting the wisdom embedded in other people’s lifeways. A key pluralist trait is curiosity, the opposite of anxiety.
Social exploration is a skill. It requires the ability to not merely tolerate difference, but to greet it with a generosity of spirit. Walking into each room confident in your convictions but humbly aware that they are not the only convictions. Being slow to take offense when somebody says the wrong thing, quick to forget the transgressions of others and honest in acknowledging your group’s past wrongs.
Ethic of pluralism explored at institutional dinner in France
The Ismaili Council for France held an institutional dinner attended by Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism (GCP) on 10 November, ahead of the upcoming Paris Peace Forum.
In keeping with GCP’s mandate, Secretary General McGhie discussed some of the challenges that the world faces today, and her vision of how pluralism might help overcome these challenges.
Addressing an audience of Jamati leaders and youth, Ms McGhie offered insights into her own life journey and personal contribution to peacebuilding processes. In a world that is becoming more divided by nationalistic forces and grappling with emerging global challenges such as climate change and exponential increases in population migration, Secretary General McGhie made the case that pluralism is not only a desirable tool for dialogue and peace, but also a necessary mindset to building a peaceful future.
“Pluralism is a really big idea and it needs to have practical roots,” she said.
“We need to be able to say: what does that mean in my daily life? What does this mean if I am a teacher, if I am a peacemaker, if I am a government administrator or if I am a mayor of a small town. What does this mean in my day to day life?”
Pluralism also requires empathy, Ms McGhie suggested, which is developed by practicing at local, community, and national levels, something the GCP strives to stimulate by catalysing and promoting exemplary initiatives.
Secretary General McGhie also highlighted how the Global Pluralism Award fits into the overall vision of the GCP by recognising inclusivity in practice and rewarding outstanding contributions to pluralism and peace.
Attendees at the dinner benefitted from an insight into the mandate of the GCP. President Shamir Samdjee of the Ismaili Council for France said, “listening to Meredith’s inspiring talk has allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the essential role that the Global Centre for Pluralism is playing in the promotion of pluralism and peace worldwide… it has truly been a remarkable evening.”
A number of students and young professionals were also in attendance, and were offered the opportunity to pose questions. Elisa Piaraly, a student at the dinner remarked, “the event has allowed me to better grasp what pluralism really means, and how it relates to my day-to-day life as a student in France. It has also enabled me to put things in perspective and to better understand the role of empathy in pluralism.”
India’s Soundtrack of Hate, With a Pop Sheen
Mixing dance tracks with calls for religious warfare, Hindutva pop amplifies a wave of Hindu nationalism in Narendra Modi’s India.
RAIPUR, India — The Indian pop star, swaddled in gold-trimmed tulle, stepped to the front of the stage at a neighborhood concert. Thunder effects crackled through speakers stacked near an electronics store.
“Every house will be saffron!” the singer, Laxmi Dubey, yelled into her microphone, referring to the color representing Hinduism. “We have to make terrorists run from our blessed land!” The crowd cheered when she added a throat-slitting hand gesture.
Ms. Dubey is one of the biggest stars driving the rise of Hindutva pop music in India over the past few years. Hindutva is a word describing a devout Hindu culture and way of life, and the music that bears its name sets traditional Hindu religious stories or Bollywood clips to dance beats — with added lyrics that in some cases openly call for the slaughter of nonbelievers, forced conversions, or attacks on Pakistan.
The songs are amassing huge numbers of views on YouTube — Ms. Dubey’s most popular song has more than 50 million on its own — and a growing fan base among the young.
Recognizing Outstanding Leaders of Inclusion at the 2019 Global Pluralism Award Ceremony
2019 Global Pluralism Award Ceremony
At a ceremony on November 20, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada, His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the Centre’s Board of Directors, will present the Global Pluralism Award to three winners and seven honourable mention recipients, with opening remarks by the Centre’s new Secretary General, Meredith Preston McGhie.
This event is by invitation.
Watch the Ceremony Livestream:
We invite you to watch the livestream on Nov. 20, 2019 at 6 PM Eastern Time. A link will be provided here.
Watch the 2019 Global Pluralism Award Ceremony on 20 November at 6 p.m. EST, as Mawlana Hazar Imam presents awards to this year's three recipients.
The Global Pluralism Award, an initiative of the Global Centre for Pluralism (GCP), recognizes the remarkable achievements of individuals, organizations, and governments tackling the challenge of living peacefully and productively with diversity.
Earlier this year, GCP announced 10 finalists for the 2019 Global Pluralism Award, from Canada, the United States, Lebanon, Hungary, Ghana, France, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar and several countries of the former Yugoslavia — all making vital contributions to pluralism, mainly through peacebuilding, the arts, education, social cohesion and integration of refugees and migrants.
“At a time of heightened hatred and escalating tensions in communities around the globe, these winners embody the best of humanity,” said the Right Honourable Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and Jury Chair. “The emphasis on pluralism is much more important now than ever. In only a few years, we have moved from a time in which there was, at least, a general acceptance of difference, to a time where there is fear about it, and very often a contesting of it.”
‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims
More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.
HONG KONG — The students booked their tickets home at the end of the semester, hoping for a relaxing break after exams and a summer of happy reunions with family in China’s far west.
Instead, they would soon be told that their parents were gone, relatives had vanished and neighbors were missing — all of them locked up in an expanding network of detention camps built to hold Muslim ethnic minorities.
The authorities in the Xinjiang region worried the situation was a powder keg. And so they prepared.
The leadership distributed a classified directive advising local officials to corner returning students as soon as they arrived and keep them quiet. It included a chillingly bureaucratic guide for how to handle their anguished questions, beginning with the most obvious: Where is my family?
“They’re in a training school set up by the government,” the prescribed answer began. If pressed, officials were to tell students that their relatives were not criminals — yet could not leave these “schools.”
The question-and-answer script also included a barely concealed threat: Students were to be told that their behavior could either shorten or extend the detention of their relatives.
“I’m sure that you will support them, because this is for their own good,” officials were advised to say, “and also for your own good.”
The directive was among 403 pages of internal documents that have been shared with The New York Times in one of the most significant leaks of government papers from inside China’s ruling Communist Party in decades. They provide an unprecedented inside view of the continuing clampdown in Xinjiang, in which the authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.
Mawlana Hazar Imam arrives in Canada for Global Pluralism Awards ceremony
Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived in Canada today, accompanied by Princess Zahra, in advance of a ceremony to recognise the recipients of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award.
Hazar Imam and Princess Zahra were welcomed in Ottawa by Ismaili Council for Canada President Ameerally Kassim-Lakha, AKDN Resident Representative for Canada Dr Mahmoud Eboo, and Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie.
On Wednesday 20 November, Mawlana Hazar Imam will preside over a ceremony hosted by the Global Centre for Pluralism at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat to honour the winners of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award.
This year, the award is being granted to three recipients: the Center for Social Integrity, an organisation that provides youth from Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions with the skills to be leaders for change; Deborah Ahenkorah, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher; and Learning History that is not yet History, a network in the Balkans developing a new approach to teaching the history of conflict. The recipients will each receive $50,000 in support of their work to build more “peaceful, sustainable and successful societies.”
The winners were chosen from 10 finalists who will also receive honourable mentions during the ceremony. The event will be webcast at the.ismaili/live.
The occasion will mark the second conferral of the Global Pluralism Award, with the Centre’s inaugural award ceremony having taken place in 2017.
While in Ottawa, Mawlana Hazar Imam will also chair a series of meetings of the Centre’s Board of Directors.
This will be the first meeting of the Board of Directors since Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie assumed the role in October 2019. Secretary General McGhie is a global leader in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and diplomacy, having served for over 20 years in some of the world’s most troubled settings, including Kosovo, Northern Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, and Somalia.
Established through contributions from Hazar Imam and the Government of Canada, the Global Centre for Pluralism was created “to advance positive responses to the challenge of living peacefully and productively together in diverse societies.”
Prior to the 2017 award ceremony, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, spoke about pluralism: “Identifying in pluralism is one of the most important things — identifying with the other, identifying with that person who is not you and who would never be you because they may be another colour, another race, another religion, have other cultural values,” said Clarkson, who serves as a board member with the Global Centre for Pluralism. “That recognition that they are they, and you are you, is terribly important, and that is the base of pluralism.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam presided over the Global Pluralism Award ceremony on Wednesday 20 November, a biennial event hosted by the Global Centre for Pluralism. The Award recognises the extraordinary achievements of organisations, individuals, and governments around the world who exemplify living peacefully and productively with diversity.
“The Award should serve as a reminder that we can all take steps, in both our personal and professional lives, to foster a more positive and productive response to the changing diversity in our world,” Mawlana Hazar Imam said during his address.
The ceremony was held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, Canada in the presence of Princess Zahra, government officials, diplomats, civil society, and Jamati leaders. The ceremony recognised the three winners of the award as well as seven honourable mentions, each chosen by an international jury, chaired by the Right Honourable Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada.
This year’s award recipients, who will each receive a $50,000 grant to further their work, are the Center for Social Integrity, an organisation that provides youth from Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions with the skills to be leaders for change; Deborah Ahenkorah, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher; and ‘Learning History that is not yet History’, a network in the Balkans developing a new approach to teaching the history of conflict.
Deborah Ahenkorah is the co-founder of Golden Baobab, an organisation that encourages African writers to produce literature for children and youth across the continent. Each year Golden Baobab selects winners for the Golden Baobab prize. She also runs a children’s publishing house called African Bureau Stories that publishes children’s books from African writers.
“Stories for children are a window into the world. For African children to see windows into the world without seeing themselves, that shouldn’t exist,” Ahenkorah said. “For children in other parts of the world, if you grow up never reading stories from the continent because those stories aren’t being produced, we short-change you in understanding what the world looks like.”
During her acceptance speech, Ahenkorah said, “I started when I was a 20-year-old college student. I had no money, no experience, but I was going to build a prestigious literature prize for an entire continent. And we’ve done it. And I think for me, that shows that individual choices, and just the will to see the world be different, can reap rewards and can create change.”
‘Learning History that is not yet History’ is a group that has been working for over 16 years on creating a “responsible” approach to teaching about the recent conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
Igor Radulović, a history teacher from Montenegro, represented the group at the award ceremony in Ottawa. His organisation has seen that the history of the wars that took place in the region in the 1990s has been taught in a “national narrative” while other perspectives have been neglected.
“We wanted to create some kind of common ground on this topic — how we could teach this topic in a similar or in the same way in all the countries in this region,” Radulović said. “We are promoting pluralism. We are promoting diversity of thinking.”
During his acceptance speech, Radulović said of the award: “Your support and this award is an additional tailwind which shows us we are on the right road. Hopefully this will open some new doors for us, especially in the region.”
The Centre for Social Integrity has created a leadership programme for young people in Myanmar where groups, including the Rohingya, have been persecuted.
“Ordinary youth can do extraordinary work and contribute to a nation extraordinarily when they’re empowered,” said the group’s founder Aung Kyaw Moe.
He explained the impact that winning this year’s Pluralism Award will have on his team’s efforts: “It gives you a lot of hope knowing that there are people with expertise, knowledge, and experience to support you, and it doubles your momentum and velocity to the vision you’ve set.”
“Whether building peace, enabling youth leadership or bridging divides, the Award recipients are all committed to pursuing pluralism every day,” said Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie. “This is work that is challenging, sometimes dangerous. It too often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. But not tonight.”
This year, the Global Centre for Pluralism received over 500 applications spanning 74 countries for the 2019 Global Pluralism Awards — more than double the submissions to the inaugural awards in 2017. All nominees undergo a rigorous review and jury selection process.
Secretary General McGhie also took a moment to acknowledge the continuing work of the previous winners and the Centre’s role in facilitating international recognition to these accomplishments. The Centre presented screenings in Colombia and Canada of a documentary on the work of victims’ rights activist Leyner Palacios Asprilla, and has supported the production of a report on family reunification of refugees to Australia with Daniel Webb.
In his remarks, Hazar Imam reminded us of the power of individual action in advancing pluralism, noting that “A more inclusive, understanding approach to diversity is needed more than ever today. The Award offers examples to inspire how we take on that challenge.”
2019, November 20 : Ottawa, Canada: H.H. The Aga Khan presided over the Global Pluralism Award ceremony . The Award recognises the extraordinary achievements of organisations, individuals, and governments around the world who exemplify living peacefully and productively with diversity.
Here is the VIDEO of The Aga Khan's speech at the 2019 Award Ceremony.
Speech by His Highness The Aga Khan at the 2019 Global Pluralism Award Ceremony, Ottawa 2019-11-20
Wednesday, 2019, November 20
His Highness the Aga Khan delivers remarks during the Global Pluralism Award ceremony held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imam
The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean,
The Right Honorable Joe Clark,
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario,
Friends of the Global Centre for Pluralism,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you this evening to the second Global Pluralism Award ceremony.
Thank you, Meredith, for the warm introduction. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are delighted that you have joined the Centre as Secretary General.
This evening, we are honouring ten remarkable organizations and individuals.
Some have come from as far away as Myanmar, others are working right here in Canada.
Their areas of focus are diverse and include history education, music, political empowerment and virtual exchange.
Taken together, this outstanding group of recipients represents a new wave of leadership working around the world for a brighter future free of exclusion and division.
The Award should serve as a reminder that we can all take steps, in both our personal and professional lives, to foster a more positive and productive response to the changing diversity in our world.
A more inclusive, understanding approach to diversity is needed more than ever today. The Award offers examples to inspire how we take on that challenge.
This year’s recipients join the inaugural group of honourees from 2017, to form a growing global community of pluralism leaders.
Their stories and expertise are being shared in all parts of the globe, illustrating how pluralism can be put into practice even in the most intractable situations.
The three Award winners are receiving $50,000 each to further their endeavours. The Centre will collaborate closely with them over the next year to help amplify their important work.
By bringing their stories to an international audience, the Centre aims to help deepen awareness of their accomplishments and connect them to global partners. Shortly, we will have the opportunity to learn more about each of them.
But first, I would like to salute the international jury. The jurors had the very difficult task of selecting three winners and seven honourable mentions among a very impressive pool of submissions.
Their diligent work in selecting these ten from over 500 submissions, received from 74 countries, is very much appreciated.
I congratulate the jury’s skilful chair, former Canadian Prime Minister the Right Honourable Joe Clark, as well as its other distinguished members: Ms. Paula Gaviria Betancur, Dr. Siva Kumari, Dr. Tarek Mitri, His Worship Naheed Nenshi, Ms. Ory Okolloh, and Ms. Pascale Thumerelle.
Finally, I would like to thank each and every one of you for joining us for what will certainly be a dynamic evening of celebration and storytelling.
I invite you to sit back and let the achievements of the Global Pluralism Award honourees inspire you and move you.
Afghanistan National Institute of Music receives Award at 2019 Global Pluralism Award Ceremony
By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan, Entertainment / on Friday, 22 Nov 2019 07:29 AM
His Highness the Aga Khan, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Global Centre for Pluralism presented the Awards to three winners and seven honourable mention recipients including the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.
High Highness the Aga Khan presented the Awards at a ceremony in Ottawa of Canada on 20th of November.
Speaking at the ceremony, His Highness the Aga Khan said, “The award should serve as a reminder that we can all take steps, in both our personal and professional lives, to foster a more positive and productive response to the changing diversity in our world. The award offers examples to inspire and inform how we take on that challenge.”
The three winners of 2019 Global Pluralism Award were CEnter for Social Integrity of Myanmar, Deborah Ahenkorah of Ghana and Learning History that is not yet History team of Bosnaa and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Adyan Foundation fo Lebanon, Afghanistan National Institute of Music, Artemissazio Foundation of Hungary, onBoard Canada, Rupantar of Bangladesh, SINGA of France and Soliya of USA were among the seven honourable mention recipients of the Award.
An independent international jury, chaired by the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada, chose the Award recipients from over 500 applications from 74 coutries, following a rigorous review and selection process.
The three winners will each be granted $CAN50,000 and in-kind support to advance their work to promote more peaceful, inclusive and successful societies, according to a statement released by the Centre.
The Rajapaksa family, which pushed Sri Lanka toward rancid ethnocracy, is back in power after winning an election by exploiting the fear and rage after April suicide bombings in Colombo.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced his candidacy four months after the explosions and mounted his comeback on the fear and rage that pervaded Sri Lanka. For Sri Lanka’s minorities, the scale of Mr. Rajapaksa’s victory — winning nearly seven million votes — was terrifying because it revealed the full capacity of a campaign premised on chauvinism to mobilize the majority.
Colombo, lashed by thunderstorms, was dark and damp on the day Mr. Rajapaksa was sworn in as president. He chose to hold his inauguration in Anuradhapura, an ancient Buddhist town where a Sinhalese king had defeated a Tamil invader more than 2,000 years ago.
The location was a declaration of the Rajapaksas’ majoritarian leanings. Blessed by Buddhist monks, Mr. Rajapaksa affirmed his support for their dream of a Buddhist-first Sri Lanka and chided minorities who failed his “expectations” by voting against him. His first act as president was to appoint the prime minister of Sri Lanka: His brother Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“We needed a Modi after the Easter attacks,” one of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s supporters had told me. “Gota is our Modi. He doesn’t think too much. He acts.” The reverence for Mr. Modi, the polarizing Hindu nationalist politician, among Sinhalese reactionaries, was at first puzzling. But their affection, anchored in a shared hostility for Muslims, had a logic to it.
I walked to Colombo’s historic Red Mosque a few hours after Mr. Rajapaksa took the oath as president. Worshipers were spilling out into the rain after saying their evening prayers. Some of them had heard rumors — confirmed later that night — that Tamils suspected of not voting for Gotabaya Rajapaksa were being attacked by Sinhalese men in a nearby province. “They’ll come for us next,” one of them said.
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