The Shariah, Homosexuality & Safeguarding Each Other’s Rights in a Pluralist Society | ImanWire

In recent days there has been much debate over Islam’s position on homosexuality. Anyone who has read any Persian poetry, read a forthright travel guide to the Gulf or heard Pakistanis or Afghans joking knows that same-sex attraction and activity has not been unusual in Muslim societies. A wealth of top quality scholarship has demonstrated that Islam, Muslim societies and the Shariah tradition did not conceive of ‘homosexuality’ as an identity. But they did acknowledge that same-sex attraction occurred, often for ‘natural’ reasons (e.g. it was considered normal for men to be attracted to beardless youths, who shared feminine beauty). It is only specific actions, such as sodomy (in Arabic, Liwat)[1], that show up on the Shariah radar as sins or punishable offenses. It is not same-sex attraction or desires that the Shariah prohibits. It is acting on them.

In the wake of the Orlando shooting, however, Islam’s disapproval of same-sex acts has come under renewed scrutiny. Some critics have argued that any disapproval of homosexuality is homophobic, and that any indulgence of homophobia lays fertile ground for violence against the LGBTQ community. Others have made more specific objections, namely that the death penalty for sodomy (Liwat) in the Shariah creates a particularly slippery slope towards violence against gays. If the Shariah prescribes death for homosexuality, they contend, then wasn’t the Orlando shooter just executing God’s will?  Isn’t that a huge problem?

http://almadinainstitute.org/blog/the-shariah-homosexuality-safeguarding-each-others-rights-in-a-pluralist-so/

The Subtle Linguistics of Polite White Supremacy — Medium

Polite White Supremacy is the notion that whites should remain the ruling class while denying that they are the ruling class, politely. Affectionately, it’s called #PWS for short. It has been referred to as the Casual American Caste System, Delicate Apartheid, Gentle Oppression, or what I like to call it after a few drinks: Chad Crow, the super chill grandson of Jim Crow.

No but seriously, Polite White Supremacy is very real. So why is it that we must specifically say ‘Polite White Supremacy’ rather than Racism? We must say Polite White Supremacy for three reasons. First, saying #PWS puts the responsibility solely on the creators of a systemic problem. Second, this phrase addresses the subtlety and casualness with which oppression is administered. Thirdly, it eradicates the all-too-common confusion betweenracism and prejudice. It’s important to eradicate this confusion so it can be clear that racism is tied to a power structure and access to resources.

https://medium.com/@YawoBrown/the-subtle-linguistics-of-polite-white-supremacy-3f83c907ffff#.f2k40xqsk

Equality for trans people must not come at the expense of women’s safety

The practical consequences of all these recommendations are that changing your legally recognised gender would become a simple administrative procedure, presumably not much more involved than ticking a box on a form. Legal recognition of your new gender would be granted solely on the basis of self-declaration: you are whatever you say you are. If you say you’re a woman, then you are one. No questions asked. This self-declared “gender identity” would then be a legally protected characteristic and it would be prohibited to discriminate against you on the basis of it, even in cases where provision of women-only services is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, and even where there is a genuine occupational requirement to employ a woman.
http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2016/01/26/equality-for-trans-people-must-not-come-at-the-expense-of-wo

I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery. – Vox

Up until about a year ago, I worked at a historic site in the South that included an old house and a nearby plantation. My job was to lead tours and tell guests about the people who made plantations possible: the slaves.

The site I worked at most frequently had more than 100 enslaved workers associated with it— 27 people serving the household alone, outnumbering the home’s three white residents by a factor of nine. Yet many guests who visited the house and took the tour reacted with hostility to hearing a presentation that focused more on the slaves than on the owners.

http://www.vox.com/2015/6/29/8847385/what-i-learned-from-leading-tours-about-slavery-at-a-plantation

An introduction to the Indian Ocean slave trade – Media Diversified

When many people think of slavery, they think of the translatlantic trade that took place between Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. The legacy of enslavement in the Americas (particularly in the United States) is known globally through the cultural and political impact of African-American iconography, films, history and references in popular culture. For many people of African descent across the world, it is one of the clearest historical links that binds us together, even if we do not have west African or American ancestry.

But the slave trade across the Atlantic Ocean is not the only history of longstanding mass global enslavement. Less well-known is a system that went on for centuries longer, but which took place across its opposite oceanmass, the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean slave trade encompassed Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with people from these areas involved as both captors and captives.

https://mediadiversified.org/2016/05/04/an-introduction-to-the-indian-ocean-slave-trade/

World needs to stabilise population and cut consumption, says Royal Society | Environment | The Guardian

World population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid “a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills”, warns a major report from the Royal Society.

Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says the study published on Thursday, which was chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston.

The assessment of humanity’s prospects in the next 100 years, which has taken 21 months to complete, argues strongly that to achieve long and healthy lives for all 9 billion people expected to be living in 2050, the twin issues of population and consumption must be pushed to the top of political and economic agendas. Both issues have been largely ignored by politicians and played down by environment and development groups for 20 years, the report says.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/apr/26/earth-population-consumption-disasters