Why Is The World Not Standing By Somalia?

Feature Image Credit: npr.org

2017 has brought about a spur of refugees finding shelter, a series of natural disasters, gun attacks and terrorist attacks. However, one thing remains stagnant, that media bias will always be present which further attributes to the mass majority’s double standards.

The scale of news coverage is undoubtedly massive when it comes to reporting an incident in the West. On Saturday, 14 October 2017, Somalia faced its deadliest terrorist attack. The attack in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed at more than 300 people and injured hundreds.

Somalia’s capital suffered tremendously this year through all the terrorist attacks. Most of which were suicide attacks and car bombs. And just when Somalia was still recovering from one of the worst terrorist attacks,  a double car bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 23 people over the last weekend.

Mogadishu Attacks 2017: Al Jazeera News

Somalia’s health workers are facing a tough time in identifying and treating the burnt and injured victims. Death toll was expected to rise, as some were feared to be buried under the rubble of destroyed and damaged buildings. The Guardian revealed the 14 October attack has been blamed on Somalia’s local Islamist group, al-Shabab.

Moreover, the attack on Saturday was also claimed by al-Shabab ” an armed group fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally recognised government”.

This deadliest terrorist attack has been marked as one of the most fatal terrorist operations anywhere in the world in past few years. Somalia’s capital has been the target for many terrorists attacks but a deadly attack as such was the first to take place.

Mogadishu Attack On October 14: nytimes

Somalia’s government declared three days of mourning nationwide. However, on Wednesday 18 October, thousands of men and women protested through the streets of Somalia’s capital, claiming that the government did not do enough to protect them.

Abdiaziz Omar Ibrahim, told Al Jazeera his older brother has been missing since the attack and they have done all they could to find him but have left everything on Allah now.

“I went to all the hospitals in Mogadishu. I looked through all the wards, but we haven’t found him,” Ibrahim told Al Jazeera, his voice cracking over the phone as he struggled to hold back emotions.

“He has seven children. The youngest is four years old. He is the family’s only breadwinner. We don’t know if he is dead or alive,” Ibrahim said.

“I spoke to him one hour before the explosion. Now there is no trace of him.”

This is just one of the hundreds of families who have no idea where their loved ones could be at, whether are they still alive or not.

“Imagine if 250+ ppl in the US or UK or France were killed in a truck bomb. That’s what just happened in Somalia. They deserve to be mourned,” said Clint Smith, a PhD candidate at Harvard.

Image Credit: Clint Smith’s Twitter

Pakistani actor Hamza Ali Abbasi also took to twitter to share his sentiments on the world’s double standards.

Image Credit: Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Twitter

Some tweets also suggested that the world cares more when attack victims are white.

The media in the West has in many ways impacted people’s way of thinking. While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed on the day of the terrorist attack in Somalia, I recall seeing less than 5 status updates about the attack.

Only a month back when the Las Vegas shooting occurred, people were sharing their sentiments through their status updates almost every other day.

Why the double standards, when we know it is awfully shameful and not to say wrong to have them, especially where lives are lost and destruction is caused. The Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and African countries have been suffering media bias since decades. They have been done wrong, and when will we own up to that?

Unfortunately, changing media practices or people’s thinking is something that cannot happen overnight. It is a difficult task to raise awareness of media bias practices but perhaps one day, the world will wake up through the fair and right use of social media and their voices will be heard.

One day.


Maria Khan Safi

‘Guru’ Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Found Guilty For Rape

Image Credit: standard.co.uk

The Indian Sect Leader, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentences to 20 years of imprisonment on Monday 28 August 2017, for raping two of his followers. Due to his popularity and immense public support, mobile internet services were suspended in seven Haryana states till 30 August 2017.

The Judge read the order which stated, “the victims put the convict on the pedestal of ‘god’ and revered him. However, the convict committed breach of the gravest nature by sexually assaulting such gullible and blind followers”.

Singh, had tens of thousands of supporters gathered outside the court to hear the verdict. However, when Singh was proven guilty, his supporters began rioting which resulted in the death of 34 people and left many wounded.

Panchkula Violence: NDTV

Many might wonder what prompted the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), to investigate Singh. According to Al Jazeera, “in 2002, one of his female followers wrote an anonymous letter to the country’s then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, alleging that she had been raped by Singh and many of his female devotees were sexually exploited”.

CBI is also looking into Singh’s supposedly involvement in the 2002 murder of  journalist who exposed rape allegations against him.

The irony of it all is that Singh, a self proclaimed saint encourages modesty and self-sacrifice to his followers but he himself lived a lavish life. “Guru” Ram Rahim acted in his own movies and always bragged ‘he was a spiritual saint, a writer, a musician, a sportsman, an agriculturalist, a singer, a director, a scientist, a feminist, a youth icon and the holder of a number of Guinness World Records’.

Image Credit: DNA India

Singh claims he has 60 million followers worldwide but, not many have spoken in his favour other than those who thought rioting was equivalent to talking.

A few of his devotees have spoken up on how Singh, saved them from troubles and they treat him more than just a family member. According to BBC, “many of his followers, including the Yadav family, believe he possesses magical powers”.

The investigation had been going on for more than a decade, which only tells us how influential political and media figures are in India. It is a milestone for the Indian Judiciary to give such a sentencing as it gives hope to rape victims and their families in India.

The hope for justice still seems alive in India. However, until every common man in India feels justice will be served to them despite their race, religion or caste, the fight for their rights ought to never stop.

Maria Khan Safi

Intense Floods In South Asia Kill More Than 1,000 People

Floodwaters in Bangladesh: http://www.npr.org

This year’s Monsoon in South Asia killed more than 1,000 people and displaced millions. There is a fear of rising death toll due to the constant rain penetrating the entire region.

Around 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal are deeply affected by the flooding and landslides. United Nations (UN) humanitarian agencies are working with the Government and partners in Nepal to supply clean water, food, shelter and medical aid to those affected in this region.

While flooding in Houston undoubtedly grasped more attention, a disaster is unraveling in the South Asia region. Bangladesh, India and Nepal are all developing nations and neighbours who unfortunately are facing the same circumstances.

Women with children make their way through the flood: TRT World

More than tens of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals have been destroyed. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, “there is the possibility that the situation could deteriorate further as rains continue in some flood-affected areas and flood waters move south”.

Animals such as elephants were used as means of transport to rescue flood victims and rafts were built from bamboos and banana leaves.

Image Credit: recordnepal

Nepal faced intense flooding and landslides in the least developed parts of the country, where people lived in bare mud houses and generally relied on farming for their incomes. Now with the farms gone underwater, more than thousands of families have been displaced and are facing water borne diseases.

India has faced tremendous flooding across the states of Assam, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and other areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew over the devastation caused by the flooding and landslides in Bihar, to which “he pledged millions of dollars in assistance and urged insurance companies to send in assessors as soon as possible to help farmers cope with their losses”.

Image Credit: Dhaka Tribune

The heavy rains have caused a series of devastation in Bangladesh as well. A low-lying and densely populated country of 165 million, Bangladesh is chronically ravaged by flooding.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent mentioned that despite the dangerous floods have started to move further off, a large number of  people are still in immediate need of food, clean water, sanitation facilities and support to rebuild or repair their homes.

Any form of help provided to the people in these affected areas will be an ounce of hope for them to restart their lives. It could be monetary help or sending items in bulk through charity organisations. Reach out to organisations who provide legitimate aid if you can, and keep praying for their circumstances to get better.

Maria Khan Safi

The Bitter Truth Behind Immigrant Smuggling

Day in and day out, we hear stories of immigrants willingly agreeing to be smuggled to nearby countries in the hopes for a better life. Illegal immigrants take immense risk when migrating over to a new country.

On Sunday, 23 July 2017, a United States lorry driver was arrested for the smuggling of migrants. A total of eight immigrants were found dead in the lorry, while another died in the hospital. Almost 20 other immigrants were immediately brought to the hospital due to their fatal health conditions.

Lorry found filled with migrants in Texas: Citynews.ca

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus mentioned to ABC that it was an immigrant-smuggling which went south.

“We’re looking at a human-trafficking crime,” William McManus said.

“A horrific tragedy.”

According to the San Antonio Police Department, victims were being smuggled in inhumane conditions with no water and air conditioning in the harsh summer heat. The victims suffered from dehydration and heatstroke.

“Even though they have the driver in custody, I can guarantee you there’s going to be many more people we’re looking for to prosecute,” ICE acting Director Thomas Homan said to the ABC News.

Image Credit: universalmediahd

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, who researches immigration and border security at UT Rio Grande Valley mentioned to NPR that “trucks provide anonymity on busy Texas highways, and packing people together means the risk is concentrated and profits are greater for smugglers”.

All the unrest caused by the so called ‘Islamic State’ in Middle East, have displaced thousands of people who are now seeking any means to escape the war. Smugglers use such circumstances as an opportunity to make quick money. They usually smuggle them through the sea to nearby countries and many of these migrant boats end up sinking.

The question here is why do such group of individuals take life threatening risks despite being aware of the dangers? Why even in the 21st century, incidents like these never seem to cease? The smuggling of immigrants is not only a human rights issue but a social issue too as it concerns one on an international level.

Image Credit: i.telegraph.co.uk

Lawbreakers smuggling immigrants are always looking for means to make money and do not have any empathy or sympathy for those being smuggled in terrible conditions. Smugglers often smuggle group of migrants/immigrants either across borders or within the country where they have illegal contacts.

It is nearly impossible to know the exact amount of immigrants being smuggled due to their change of circumstances. These immigrants do not have the option to seek legal channels of migration as they usually belong to low-income families.

According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), smuggled immigrants are in peril to physical abuse and being taken advantage of. Furthermore, their safety and their lives are at a high level of risk as: they may suffocate in containers, perish in deserts or drown at sea while being smuggled by profit-seeking criminals who treat them as goods.

Image Credit: asylumaccess

UNDOC also states that “unemployment, war and persecution” are among many of the reasons as to why these immigrants leave their home countries. Getting to the root cause of their migration will not provide international entities a solution to end this crisis until there is international cooperation and national coordination. This is what will eventually cause a drop in the immigrant-smuggling statistics.

No one can deny that social media is a super power in today’s time. There are various self-funded and non-profit organisations, giving immigrants who were smuggled abroad a platform to tell their stories and why they took such risks. Perhaps this will one day cause an international outcry to help these individuals seeking a better life.

Most of us often take our way of life for granted, when people out there who are are just like us; end up risking their lives to seek a better one. One, which holds no promises for them.


Maria Khan Safi

Victory For Palestinians – Worshipers Return To Al-Aqsa Mosque

Image Credit: ibtimes

On the morning of July 27, 2017 the Israeli Government withdrew the last of the security measures in al-Aqsa mosque. Waqf, the Islamic authority that manages the mosque, gave a green light for prayers to be conducted as usual and for worshipers to be able to return to al-Aqsa.

However, upon returning to al-Aqsa mosque Israeli forces not only fired tear gas, but used stun grenades and sound bombs at Palestinians returning to the mosque. Approximately, more than 100 Palestinians were injured.

Bab Hutta, which is one of the gates to al-Aqsa mosque was still shut despite lifting ‘all’ security measures. Palestinians wanted all Israeli enforced measures to be removed before they entered the compound. According to Al Jazeera, “Israeli security forces followed the worshipers in from the Bab Hutta gate and fired stun grenades, sound bombs and tear gas”.

Image Credit; america.aljazeera

It had been almost two weeks since Israel closed the al-Aqsa mosque for the very first time since 1969. Prior to the close down, a violent gun battle occurred on July 14 between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Israeli forces. The gun battle caused the death of two Israeli police forces and three Palestinian attackers. Hence, the shut down of al-Aqsa mosque by the Israeli Government.

In the aftermath, Israel sealed the site for Friday prayers and only opened the premises on the following Sunday. Metal detectors and a number of cameras were installed at the entrance of the site. However, Palestinians were not pleased with all the new security measures and abstained from entering al-Aqsa until the measure were removed.

Thousands of Palestinians had been praying outside of the Lion’s Gate – one of the entrances to the Old City, in a form of protests against the Israeli Government. Unfortunately, their peaceful protests were brutally disrupted by the Israeli forces in which hundreds were left injured.

Image Credit: middleeastmonitor

Furthermore, President Mahmoud Abbas “announced that the Palestinian leadership had frozen all contact with Israel sue to the growing tensions at al-Aqsa compound” and will resume as per normal once Israel gets rid of all security measures.

The international law states that an occupying power does not have sovereignty in the territory it occupies. There is no country in the world which recognises Israel’s ‘ownership’ of Jerusalem.

Why is it not surprising to see the Israeli Government trying to take any rights the Palestinians are left with taken away? The site is of equal importance to all three Abrahamic religions, Muslims, Jews and Christians. In fact al-Aqsa is recognised as a World Heritage site by the United Nations.

Moreover, it belongs to the International community under the UN. Therefore technically, Israel is violating the international law by illegally controlling East Jerusalem which is inclusive of the Old City.

Image Credit: Lost Islamic History

A clear sign of Human Rights violation can be seen by the mere fact that the Palestinians in Jerusalem only hold a Permanent Residence status in spite of being born there. Whereas, Jews in Jerusalem hold a Citizenship status. Palestinians have repeatedly been rejected of permits to build homes in East Jerusalem where Israel has built illegal settlements for its people.

Over the years, the Israeli Government have taken drastic and inhumane steps in order to control the Old City and East Jerusalem entirely.

It is indeed a victory for Palestinians since Israel decided to lift all security measures from al-Aqsa mosque. However, their welcome back to the al-Aqsa compound was a rather unpleasant and violent one.

Let’s not forget that Palestinians in Gaza are suffering from lack of food, water and healthcare. There are a number of Gaza relief funds whereby people donate to help them rebuild their homes and get medical treatments.

Raising awareness of Palestinians sufferings in Jerusalem and Gaza will provide one a better understanding of their plight. But what is most important, is to help them rebuild and improve their lives through relief funds; as it could have been anyone of us.


Maria Khan Safi

The Escalating Crisis In Qatar

Qatar was once the poorest country in the Gulf region, whereas for now; they are one of the richest in the region today. Also, today Qatar shares the world’s largest gas field with Iran.

Image Credit: http://www.zerohedge.com

However during the past one month, Qatar has been facing some major problems from its neighbours. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates and Egypt have severed all forms of diplomatic ties with Qatar. The above nations except Egypt, gave Qatari Citizens a total of 14 days to exit from their territories. Furthermore Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and The UAE denied their citizens the right to either travel or reside in Qatar.

All the four Gulf nations accused Qatar for allegedly supporting terrorism and warned Qatar that restrictions will remain as the same until Qatar “changes its policies for the better”. Qatar did however admit providing assistance to some Islamist groups such as the Muslim-Brotherhood, but “denied supporting militant groups linked to al-Qaeda or the so-called Islamic State”.

According to U.S. intelligence officials, The United Arab Emirates had hacked into Qatari government social media and news sites. They further posted raging but untrue quotes linked to Qatar’s emir which resulted in a diplomatic crisis.

Qatar’s Emir: http://www.express.co.uk

Qatar responded in late May stating that hackers had posted false comments by the emir, an explanation which the Gulf states refused to acknowledge.

Qatar’s neighbours presented a 13-point list of demands to Qatar on 22 June 2017, to which Qatar refused all demands. While reading the pointers, it felt like Qatar’s neighbours not only want to boycott Qatar but further take its sovereignty away. Had it been any other nation, they would have also refused the “considerable” demands.

Saudi Arabia alongside other Arab nations also demanded Qatar to permanently close the Al Jazeera network. Al Jazeera is known for its credibility throughout the world. It has always spoken from an unbiased point of view about all the happenings in the Middle East and the unnecessary intervention of Israel and the Western nations.

Image Credit: aljazeera.com

Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations have always been under scrutiny by Al Jazeera. Thus, the need for them to get Qatar to shut the Al Jazeera network down.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, The UAE and Egypt discontinued their airspace to Qatari aircraft and foreign airlines would have to request special permission for overnight flights to and from Qatar. This shut down of airspace caused Qatar Airways a tremendous amount of loss, but unfortunately they had no say in it.

Turkey and Iran have proved themselves to be of great help to Qatar during this crisis.  As 40% of Qatar’s food supply came through its land border with Saudi Arabia, they were at a lost until Turkey and Iran began sending food supply by air and sea.

The intentions behind the demands made by Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations are clear in a way that not only do the Arab nations want to weaken Qatar, but also cause a rift between Qatar and Iran. The 13-point list also demanded Qatar to lessen its ties to Shia-majority Iran and to close a Turkish military base in the emirate. Saudi Arabia is a Sunni dominated nation, therefore knowing that Qatar has good ties with Iran; it feels threatened.

The United States is still providing weapons to Qatar despite the crisis. Furthermore, during a press conference with the Romanian President at the White House, Trump said Qatar is funding terror “on very high level”. It does not come off as a surprise for the United States government to play a  hypocritical role during international conflicts. They have always been first to take the popcorn out and try to “solve” the issue while supporting both opposing parties.

This crisis is not only affecting the Qatari government, but its nationals both in and outside of Qatar. From a third party’s point of view, it is hard to decide who is right or wrong as all parties have different stands on the crisis.

However, it is pretty clear that Qatar is being sidelined and Saudi Arabia has a vital role in causing the crisis. Saudi Arabia’s insecurities are becoming more and more obvious now. Time shall determine how and when will this crisis end.


Maria Khan Safi

The Stigma Against Rape In India

I often ask myself whether am I feminist? Simply because human rights have no gender bias. It’s Your Fault was a 2013 short video that dealt with India’s rape culture and it went viral within a few days. Seeing the state of certain nations and the lack of women rights, feminism is the absolute right movement.

According to Wonderlist, India ranks fourth in the world with the highest number of rape cases. The latest estimates suggest that a new case of rape is reported every 22 minutes in India. 

The act of rape has always been present in India, but was brought into focus after one of the most horrific rape cases occurred in India. In 2012, Nirbhaya a 23 years old female physiotherapy intern was not only raped but brutally beaten up by six men in a moving bus in Delhi.

Image Credit: BBC

BBC revealed that the men beat her male friend and “each raped the woman in turn, before assaulting her viciously with an iron instrument”. Unfortunately, Nirbhaya died of internal injuries and excessive bleeding.

Nirbhaya’s assault brought about an international outrage over the rape ‘culture’ in India and tighter laws were implemented. Moreover, the outrage shown over Nirbhaya’s case gave women in India the courage to report rape and harassment incidents.

BBC had produced a documentary, India’s Daughter in 2015, regarding Nirbhaya’s rape and had further interviewed one of the rapist in the video itself. The rapist had clearly shown no remorse or regret during the video, but instead justified his actions.

“Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20% of girls are good,” Singh said.

People “had a right to teach them a lesson” and should not complain and bear through it all.

Of course men like him do not represent the entire male population in India, but knowing there are men out there who think in such a sick manner, gives me goosebumps.

Image Credit: CBC

“It’s heartening to see that now more women are reporting these crimes and speaking up. As Indian women, we are a paradox of strength and silence. I am glad the silence is being broken by many now,” Shreya Jani, who runs a peace education NGO in New Delhi  said.

Despite the rise in number of women reporting to the police increased, the number of rape cases only increased over time. The Indian Express revealed “the number of rapes in Delhi registered a rise in 2015, with data suggesting an average of six cases every day”. This just proves how majority of rape cases still go unreported. But why is that so?

The stigma surrounding rape is still very much present in India. There is a famous saying in India that “bringing up a daughter is like watering a neighbor’s plant”. This is one of the many reasons as to why it is illegal in India to find out the gender of your baby during pregnancy. A high majority of Women in the past, would end up aborting their baby; had she been a female.

Image Credit: Young Feminist Wire

Furthermore, the never ending caste system in India plays a large role in many rape cases going unreported. Women of the lower caste are often threatened and the authorities also refuse to give them importance. It often leads to them fearing for their lives, and some have been raped more than once but had no hope for justice.

Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association told Al Jazeera how the culture in India restricts a female independence.

“The heart of the issue is structures in India that continue to restrict women’s autonomy, and especially sexual autonomy, often justified in the name of culture,” she said.

Women are as progressive or even more progressive than men in today’s world. Having personally heard that Bollywood is one of the reasons as to why rape occurs in India, proves how people refuse to see that the ability to hurt an individual physically and emotionally is a sickness inside the human mind.

Bollywood is not only known for its colorful song sequences and romantic scenes but for thought provoking movies as well. Pink, a Hindi movie released in 2016 was “a form of education for those who don’t know anything about respecting a woman’s choice”.

Image Credit – Pink : MensXP

Pink had one of the best dialogues which made its viewers aware of the word ‘No’. When a woman says ‘No’, it’s time for a man to stop. One of them was how “we should save our boys, not our girls … because if we save our boys then our girls will be safe”.

Women are no longer weak as what they have been portrayed to be in India for decades. Moreover, if women all over the world stood hand in hand against such injustice, there will be no longer be any voiceless woman in India.

It is crucial to end the stigma against rape in India and worldwide. How exactly does one go about ending it? Promote free speech for women, encourage individuals to speak about such issues and make extensive use of all social media platforms.

Let’s work together to give them a voice or better, be their voice.

Maria Khan Safi

The Rohingya People And Their Struggle For Equal Rights


The term ‘refugees’ is spoken, heard and seen almost every other day. From Syrian refugees to Rohingya refugees, news about these individuals never seem to cease. We live in the 21st century where the internet enables us to reach out and hear the refugees stories. However the saddest part of it all is, despite all of that; the circumstances of the refugees is barely getting any better.

It would not be a surprise if many have heard and seen news of the Rohingya crisis. But the questions is, why are they speaking out and wanting to escape from Myanmar? The Rohingya people were called the ‘boat people’ by the international media when they were spotted waiting on board fishing boats off the coast of Indonesia, seeking asylum. As time passed, they were known as the ‘stateless people’.

And why is that so? Simply because Myanmar claimed them to be illegal immigrants, whereas “the Rohingya people say they have lived in the western state of Rakhine for generations“. Moreover, Bangladesh has repeatedly refused to allow the Rohingya people in their state and according to Amnesty International, “Bangladesh detained and forcibly returned hundreds” of Rohingyas.

The Rohingya crisis has been present since the 90’s and Amnesty International further revealed that “the Bangladesh government has since 1992 refused to grant refugee status to Rohingya arriving from Myanmar”. Thus, the Rohingya are more than often pushed back to Myanmar to a collective punishment.

Image Credit: Indian Defence Analysis
Image Credit: Indian Defence Analysis

The Indian Express mentioned “the fears of a fresh influx of Rohingya have compelled the Bangladesh government to refuse entry to those who have once again been exposed to the brutality of the Myanmar army”. Why are the Rohingya people so adamant to leave Myanmar? That is because they have been treated unjustly by the government and the military forces.

As told by many people from the Rohingya community, there have been many indiscriminate reprisal attacks on their people by the Myanmar security forces. International media outlets have mentioned attacks such as firing at Rohingya villages from helicopter gunships, torching hundred of homes, conducted arbitrary arrests and raping of women and girls.

Moreover, the Myanmar government has denied all the allegations against them and said there is no violation of human rights against the Rohingya. United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee mentioned in a news conference on 20 January 2017 how the Myanmar government’s refusal to address the allegations have lessened its reliability.

“The government’s response to all of these problems seem to currently be to defend, dismiss and deny,” Lee said.

” For the government to continue being defensive when allegations of serious human rights violations have persistently been reported, that is when the government appears less and less credible.”

Sure, the Rohingyas have faced atrocities and resentment in Myanmar but it’s not the only country who has been unfair to them. Bangladeshi authorities have repeatedly pushed the Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar which forced these asylum-seekers into hiding. The fact that Bangladesh detained and forced hundreds of refugees to return to Myanmar, the act itself was a violation of International Law.

Image Credit: Bangladesh Authorities - Southeast Asia Globe
Bangladesh Authorities – Southeast Asia Globe

As cited by Amnesty International, “the move is a violation of the principle of non-refoulement – an absolute prohibition under international law on forcibly returning people to a country or place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations”.

Many out there often blame Myanmar for being the sole reason to the circumstances the Rohingya people are in, whereas Bangladesh has an equal or a greater part to play in their lives. The Bangladesh government has a policy from back in 1992 of refusing and returning Rohingya refugees back. This led to the Rohingya having to pay smugglers in order to take them across.

Furthermore, the Rohingya vulnerability made them a target for local thieves. Refugees tend to run from their homes without even the basic necessities and it’s not only upsetting but disappointing to see how two big nations have caused the Rohingya people to plead for help from the international media. Is this what democracy is like?

There is a clear violation of human rights against the Rohingya but apart from Myanmar declining these claims, they have further “blocked access to humanitarian aid and effectively barred independent journalists and human rights monitors from entering the area“. The question is if the Myanmar government has got absolutely nothing to hide, why are they not allowing access to “independent observers, including human rights monitors, aid workers and journalists“? Something to wonder, yes?

Aung San Suu Kyi, the ever famous Burmese politician and the prominent leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) has the primary responsibility to lead the concern and conflict over the Rohingya people. However, she has failed to end or even address the Rohingya migrant crisis. Moreover NLD has refused to comment on the issue, which has turned into a concern for the international media.

Image Credit: BBC
Image Credit: BBC

Researchers in the West concluded that “despite the fact that this is the most significant test of Suu Kyi’s leadership, she has remained remarkably indifferent”. This crisis has also placed NLD and Suu Kyi’s image on the line as there are many doubts surrounding them.

Also, 28 global leaders have warned Suu Kyi of the consequences of not involving herself in the Rohingya crisis. As mentioned by Al Jazeera, “more than a dozen Nobel laureates have criticised Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to uphold the human rights of Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state, urging for immediate action to avoid ‘ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity’ “.

However, despite numerous appeals; Suu Kyi has yet to taken any action to make sure the Rohingya people receive their deserved citizenship rights. BBC reporter Mishal Husain had interviewed Suu Kyi earlier last year and the Rohingya crisis was brought up. it was disappointing to see how Suu Kyi was more concerned about the cultural and religious differences between the Buddhist majority and the R0hingya people rather than what can be done to solve the crisis itself.

“I would like to make the point that there are many moderate Muslims in Burma who have been well integrated into our society, but these problems arose last year and I think this is due to fear on both sides,” Suu Kyi said.

“This is what the world needs to understand; that the fear is not just to the side of the Muslims but on the side of the Buddhists as well.”

Image Credit: Al Jazeera
Image Credit: Al Jazeera

The Rohingya crisis has been existent for decades, but the recent refugee crisis in Europe indefinitely overshadowed the Rohingya plight. It is still very much present and only seems to be worsening. The international media has no doubt voiced their circumstances and what atrocities they have gone through and are still going through.

Then why is there little done for them? Bangladesh and Myanmar both have contributed equally in worsening the Rohingyas situation and it is our duty as ethical individuals to speak up and be their voices, until the day it starts getting better.

Day in and day out, we hear refugee crisis going from bad to worse. Therefore, lets use our voices to speak out for these voiceless individuals as a larger force with a stronger voice might perhaps be their solace.

Mari Khan Safi 


Hi guys, unfortunately, this is not an article update but more of an update on what has been going on in my life and my reason for not being able to publish recently.

In all honestly, I was not expecting to receive emails and messages asking me when will I be publishing my next article. I am genuinely honored. I started this website to pursue my passion in Human Rights, which I will continue to do so. However being a fresh graduate, I had to look for work commitments and I am currently doing an Internship.

Yes, that is the reason why I have been unable to publish anything for almost four weeks. Trust me, it does upset me that I have not been active on my website. I love writing, therefore I am able to work on something I have not done before. Moreover, I believe it is necessary to experience different things in life.

Moving on, I have some great article ideas for my next few publications and I hope I am able to publish one during Christmas. With so much happening around the world, my mind is bottled up with things to pen down. I aim to put my voice out there and hope I could somehow make a difference in the world.

Therefore, I would like to thank all of those who have asked about my website and are still supporting me, Thank You! I am blessed to have people in my life who push me towards my dreams.

Next article coming very soon.

Much love Xx.

Maria Khan Safi

Female Genital Mutilation


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – a term that is taboo to speak about in many communities. However, it is still very much practiced in certain parts of the world. With the advancement of science and medicine we have been given a better understanding and cure of illnesses. It has also come up with risks and benefits of certain medical procedures, such as FGM. Then, why is FGM still practiced in certain countries?

FGM is wrongly referred to as ‘female circumcision’ in some communities that practice it.  [2] However, this term suggests a deceiving analogy to non-mutilating male circumcision. Whereby, male circumcision is the cutting off the foreskin from the tip of the penis without having to damage the penis itself.[3] FGM causes damage to sensitive genital nerve tissues as there have been no medically proven benefits to it.

There is not one, but 4 types of FGM procedures according to the World Health Organisation.[4] All the four types of FGM procedures causes damage to a women’s genital nerves, be it a partial and/or total removal of the clitoris, labia or narrowing of the vaginal orifice.

FGM is a very sensitive topic as it is predominantly practiced within the Muslim community in Central-North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It is not practiced in all Muslim countries. Moreover, the FGM practice statistics vary according to ethnicity in general, and not by religion. Also, it is not required in Islam to do so. There will be people who find it wrongful of me to say that FGM is not required in Islam.

However, that is the truth as it is nowhere mentioned in the Quran, as what some claim. Certain Muslim communities have come out and responded that they do not practice FGM, but do Islamic circumcision. According to them, mutilation only occurs when the clitoris is cut or removed. Also in their point of view, circumcision is when the foreskin, outer fold of skin over the clitoris; the prepuce is cut. They have repeatedly said that circumcision was mentioned in some Hadiths (Prophet Sayings). Although, it was never supported or opposed. It also predates Islam by many years.  Nonetheless, there were no medical benefits found for either FGM or female circumcision, which means the same thing in medical term.

Moreover, medicine had not advanced to the extent it has now. Therefore with the advancement of medicine, there are risks but no benefits of FGM.  The removal of or wounding healthy and normal genital tissues complicate the natural running of a female’s body.[5] Moreover, there are both short-term and long-term risks of FGM. Short-term risks involve excessive bleeding, urination problems, impaired wound healing and etc.[6] In worse case scenarios, excessive bleeding could cause a haemorrhage; which could further result in the death of the female. Whereas long-term risks such as menstrual problems, obstetric complications, prenatal risks and psychological consequences are much more threatening.[7]

A large portion of Muslims and academics in the West are making an incredible effort to emphasise that the FGM practice is not rooted in the religion but rather in culture.[8]  Haseena Lockhat, a child clinical psychologist at North Warwickshire Primary Care Trust, had written that the fact FGM is condemned in Saudi Arabia, the centre of the Islamic world, makes it evident that the practice is not an Islamic one.[9]

A lot of us have the idea that FGM is generally practiced in African countries, which is true to an extent. As, WHO stated in its statistic report that FGM is practiced in almost 30 African countries. Also, FGM is practiced in some non-Muslim communities in African countries. However, it is very much present but hidden in parts of Asia as well. Certain communities in Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Pakistan and etc still practise FGM. An article published in The Jakarta Post earlier this year mentioned that according to UNICEF’s latest statistics half the girls less than 11 years old have undergone FGM.[10] This was a call to raise awareness on FGM practices in a country with the highest percentage of Muslims, Indonesia.

The existence of FGM in Singapore overwhelmed me. Singapore is a developed, affluent island state which prides itself on being an accomplished cosmopolitan city at the age of 51. However, the mere existence of FGM proves that the most developed countries also face cultural challenges.[11] FGM is mainly practiced in the Malay Muslim community in Singapore. Filzah Sumartono of women’s rights group AWARE, told Reuters that it is important to create awareness and educate the community about the risks of FGM before it can be banned.[12] The banning of FGM requires a large amount of public support; or else it will never be banned.

A friend who wished to remain anonymous spoke to me about how she finds FGM to be unnecessary and that the practice ought to be halted. 

“I was 11 years old when I had it done. It was a regular doctor’s office and I knew this had to happen sooner or later,” she said.

“All I had been told was that it was something Muslim people have to go through. My own understanding was that it was a circumcision and that it was necessary, no other explanation or reasoning was given to me.

“Do not get it done. This is the best advice I could give in regard to this.”

She had further mentioned that she is unable to identify any side-effects to FGM that she might have experienced and as per her knowledge, this practice is no longer active in her family. It was relieving to know that there are some who have stopped the FGM practice in Singapore. Perhaps the advancement of medicine and internet has created an awareness of the risks related to FGM. But what about those who still do so? I suppose, time will tell.

There have been efforts made on international levels, especially by the United Nations agencies to increase awareness on the risks of FGM. They have been successful on placing FGM in women’s health and human rights as a health hazard.[13] Moreover, it has also been deemed as a form of violence against women.[14]

Bettina Shell-Duncan an anthropologist spoke to The Atlanitic about her visit to Kenya—northern Kenya in 1996 to conduct a research on anaemia, iron deficiency among an ethnic group called the Rendille.[16] She discussed some typical misconceptions about female genital mutilation. Rendille male and females are known to be sexually active before marriage and it is culturally acceptable.[17] Therefore FGM, in the Rendille tribe has got nothing to do with a female’s modesty or her virginity.

It is more of a cultural practice whereby the female going through FGM is entering womanhood. They pride themselves in this practice, and do it willingly. Perhaps the lack of medicine, technology and resources in Northern Kenya has unable the Rendille tribe to come across the risks related to FGM.

The practice of FGM has indeed been declining over the past three decades. According to UNICEF statistics stated, almost 1 in 3 girls aged 15 to 19 today have gone through FGMversus 1 in 2 in the mid-1980s.[18] Also, UNICEF statistics mentioned a rapid decrease among girls aged 15 to 19 has appeared across countries with differing levels of FGM/C prevalence including Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Liberia and Togo.[19] However, not all the countries in the FGM practice statistics have made progress. Moreover, the rate of decline has been uneven.

Young girls should be educated about the risks involved in the practice. Due to the conservative culture in Asia, it is important to give females who have undergone FGM a platform to speak about their experiences. It is a topic on how and what is the best way to protect the future of the next generation. Perhaps, the future of girls is not protected by having them to go through FGM.

In many communities, FGM is more of a collective decision than an individual one. It is also an individual decision in some communities. Whether it is a collective or an individual decision, the females ought to be educated on the risks related to FGM.

Raise the awareness. Raise your voices.

Maria Khan Safi



Bartlett, A. 2006. “Female Genital Mutilation: Treating The Tears: Haseena Lockhat”. Psychiatric Bulletin 30 (2): 78-78. doi:10.1192/pb.30.2.78.

Batha, Emma. 2016. “Singapore Comes Under Pressure Over Female Genital Cutting Of Babies”. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-fgm-babies-idUSKCN12D04C.

“Classification Of Female Genital Mutilation”. 2016. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/overview/en/.

“Female Genital Mutilation And Cutting – UNICEF DATA”. 2016. UNICEF DATA. http://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/female-genital-mutilation-and-cutting/#.

“Health Risks Of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)”. 2016. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/health_consequences_fgm/en/.

Khazan, Olga. 2015. “What Many People Don’t Understand About Female Circumcision”. The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/04/female-genital-mutilation-cutting-anthropologist/389640/.

Lubis, Anggi M. and Hans Nicholas Jong. 2016. “FGM In Indonesia Hits Alarming Level”. The Jakarta Post. https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/06/fgm-indonesia-hits-alarming-level.html.

Peters, Julie and Andrea Wolper. 1995. Women’s Rights, Human Rights. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.

Uwer, Thomas and Thomas von der Osten-Sacken. 2016. “Is Female Genital Mutilation An Islamic Problem?”. Middle East Forum. http://www.meforum.org/1629/is-female-genital-mutilation-an-islamic-problem/.