Author: Kelsey Ritchie

Rohingya, Religion, Response: Part Two

Some of the most devastating wars in history have been fought in the name of religion. It is undeniable that differences in belief systems and ways of worship can cause irreconcilable disputes. Though religion plays a role in causing many conflicts, it also has the unique power to resolve them. In part one, I examined the core beliefs and the history of the two religious groups at odds in Myanmar: the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya Muslim minority. As tensions continue to escalate and more Rohingya flee to surrounding countries, there is a growing need for international action. It...

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Rohingya, Religion, Response: Part One

How religious beliefs and ethnic groups shape culture in the Rakhine State The refugee crisis in Rohingya has dominated news headlines since the end of August. Reports of violence and human rights atrocities have led to international criticism. As a result, the Myanmar military has been accused of religious persecution of the Rohingya Muslims. While longstanding tensions have simmered in the Rakhine State between the Rohingya Muslims and Myanmar’s Buddhist majority, the situation escalated after Rohingya militants attacked police posts on August 25. Since this triggering event and the violent response from the Myanmar military, over 500,000 Rohingya Muslim...

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Saudi Arabia Gives Women the Wheel: Why Now, and What Now?

Photo: Mattia Panciroli (CC) On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Saudi Arabia announced via televised royal decree that it will finally allow women to drive, marking a watershed moment in the fight for women’s rights. The verdict gives Saudi Arabian women both the literal and metaphorical wheel: as they are handed the keys, they will reach an unprecedented degree of independence and agency. Since activist Manal al-Sharif posted a video of herself driving on YouTube in 2011, women’s rights movements in Saudi Arabia have accelerated at a considerable rate. The decision to lift the ban was immediately heralded by the international...

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