Category Archives: Religion

Notre Dame: The World Weeps with France

Photo: Madhurantakam [CC BY-SA 3.0]

For over 850 years, the Cathedral of Notre Dame has been a gift to humanity. The towering spires, stained glass windows and Gothic architecture inspired every visitor, set the stage for magnificent weddings and witnessed the history, culture and politics of France expressed throughout its inspiring past.

On April 15, 2019, the cathedral caught on fire and burned. The image of the spire collapsing will never leave the hearts and souls of the French people. We extend our deepest regrets and offer this video that captured just a touch of the glory Notre Dame was. Join us in remembrance.

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Just Like Trump, Media Outlets Rarely Label Far-Right Attacks ‘Terrorism’: Study

A rare exception in the glaring trend came last month when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was swift to characterize the massacre in Christchurch as the work of a white nationalist terrorist

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-10-2019

Governor Wolf Joins Pittsburgh in mourning after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. Photo: Governor Tom Wolf/flickr

A new study shows that media outlets frequently echo the instinct of political leaders like President Donald Trump when they refuse to label the violence of far-right assailants as “terrorism” while showing significantly less reluctance if an attack was carried out by an Islamic extremist.

The British media monitoring firm Signal AI found that most news sources are quick to draw links between incidents identified as “Islamist” attacks and terrorism, but are far less likely to do the same when an attack suspect is linked to far-right ideologies like white nationalism. Continue reading

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‘Bigotry Is Deadly’: Warnings of ‘Normalized Hate Speech’ After Latest Threats Targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar

Despite threats to the congresswoman’s safety, Trump continued “using her as fodder for ridicule” in a weekend speech

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-7-2019

Ilhan Omar. Photo: Leopaltik1242 [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Advocacy groups, progressives, and politicians are warning about the dangers of “normalized hate speech” and Islamophobia after the latest round of threats targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first Muslim congresswomen.

“The political environment, led by an Islamophobe in the White House, has normalized hate speech and emboldened bigots in their actions,” Afaf Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), said Saturday. Continue reading

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As GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’, New Reports Detail Damage Done By Trump’s Far-Right Takeover of Judiciary

“In just under two years on the bench, these narrow-minded elitist judges have already harmed workers, consumers, voters, immigrants, reproductive rights, and many more.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-3-2019

Mitch McConnell, Brett Kavanaugh, Mike Pence and Jon Kyl before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Photo: Office of the Vice President [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As Senate Republicans rammed through a rules change enabling faster approval of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, two advocacy groups released reports on Wednesday showing the far-reaching and long-lasting damage his confirmed federal judges have already had on the nation.

People for the American Way (PFAW) and Alliance for Justice (AFJ) both published studies Wednesday about Trump’s success in appointing 92 judges to district courts, federal appeals courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court—with PFAW writing that the president’s effort to remake the judicial branch in his own image could be disastrous for a number of marginalized groups. Continue reading

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Trump Admin Complementing Israeli Effort to Give Nuclear Weapons to Saudi Arabia

Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.

By Alan Macleod. Published 3-29-2019 by MintPress News

Photo: White House/flickr

U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reuters revealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.

While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading

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Israeli Forces Kill 17-Year-Old With Live Fire as 40,000 Palestinians Mark ‘Great March of Return’ Anniversary

“Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza demand their basic rights even as Israeli snipers are waiting ready to gun them down.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-30-2019

“Thirty-three Palestinians have been evacuated to hospitals in the Strip, including ten that were wounded by live Israeli fire at the border,” Haaretz reported. (Photo: Times of Gaza/Twitter)

Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered near the Israel-Gaza border fence on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the weekly “Great March of Return” demonstrations and demand an end to Israel’s brutal occupation.

According to Gaza health officials, Israeli forces have so far killed two demonstrators—including a 17-year-old boy named Adham Amaara—and injured dozens more with live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas. Continue reading

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Syria’s Rukban Now Little More Than a US-Controlled Concentration Camp – and the Pentagon Won’t Let Refugees Leave

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a concentration camp is defined as “a place where large numbers of people are kept as prisoners in extremely bad conditions, especially for political reasons.” It is undeniable that the Rukban camp fits this definition to the letter.

By Whitney Webb. Published 3- 28-2019 by MintPress News

The residents of al-Rukban camp suffer from severe humanitarian conditions especially during the winter. There are no heating elements, which forces the children of the camp to build mud houses rather than tents to alleviate the cold weather and storms that hit the area. Photo: Syria Live Map

The United States military has rejected offers to resolve the growing humanitarian crisis in the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, which sits inside a 55 km zone occupied by the U.S. along the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. has also refused to let any of the estimated 40,000 refugees — the majority of which are women and children — leave the camp voluntarily, even though children are dying in droves from lack of food, adequate shelter and medical care. The U.S. has also not provided humanitarian aid to the camp even though a U.S. military base is located just 20 km (12.4 miles) away.

The growing desperation inside the Rukban camp has received sparse media coverage, likely because of the U.S.’ control over the area in which the camp is located. The U.S. has been accused of refusing to let civilians leave the area — even though nearly all have expressed a desire to either return to Syrian government-held territory or seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey — because the camp’s presence helps to justify the U.S.’ illegal occupation of the area. Continue reading

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No, Critics Declare in Response to Trump, Now Is Time to Give Occupied Golan Heights Back to Syria

“I still remember some people telling me during the last election that Trump would be tougher on Israel than Clinton. Lol.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-21-2019

An Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights, 2006. (Photo: David Poe, Flickr)

Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.

“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the president said on Twitter, “which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Continue reading

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Saudi Women’s Rights Activists Receive ‘Freedom to Write’ Award as They Stand Trial in Riyadh

“These gutsy women have challenged one of the world’s most notoriously misogynist governments.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-14-2019

Eman Al-Nafjan and Loujain Al-Hathloul—along with Nouf Abdulaziz, not shown for privacy and safety reasons—are recipients of the 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. (Photo: PEN America)

Three women’s rights activists on trial in Saudi Arabia this week because of their efforts to expand human rights in the infamously oppressive kingdom are this year’s recipients of an award “designed to honor a writer imprisoned for his or her work.”

PEN America, which works to defend free expression globally through the advancement of literature and human rights, announced Thursday that imprisoned writers Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan will be honored with the 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award at the PEN America Literary Gala in May. Continue reading

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Mitch ‘Nuclear Option’ McConnell Poised to Turn Steady Stream of Trump’s Right-Wing Judges Into a Flood

Critics warn that even if Democrats regain control of White House and Senate, the flood of judges could mean there will be no more vacancies to fill post-2020

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-6-2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly planning to change the chamber’s rules to make it easier to confirm right-wing judicial nominees to lifetime appointments. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly pursuing a “nuclear option” rule change to make it easier to push through a flood of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judges.

Under the new rules, nominees for lifetime appointments on lower courts would only require a simple majority of votes rather than the current 67. Critics condemned the move as “hijacking” the federal judiciary and pointed out that even if Democrats regain control of the Senate and White House in the next election, they may not have any more spots to fill post-2020. Continue reading

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