TASHKENT: Uzbek student Luiza Muminjonova wanted to work in the country's booming Islamic tourism sphere but last year she was expelled from a university in the capital Tashkent.The 19-year-old's only fault was being a pious Muslim and wearing the hijab, a staple of female Islamic dress."How dare they discriminate me and stop me from getting the education I want because of my religion?" she fumed in an interview with AFP.Instead of giving up, the student took a stand that has placed her at the centre of Uzbekistan's religious freedom debate.Her family has sued the International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan, taking its legal battle all the way to the country's top court.Muminjonova's case points to the Uzbeks' increasing readiness to openly practise their faith as believers become emboldened by political change under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.The formerly communist country's repression of the religion persisted long after it gained independence from Moscow in 1991.The first … [Read more...] about Muslims seek voice in changing Uzbekistan
Expel from university
TRIPOLI: The battle for Tripoli between rival Libyan forces both championing the fight against “terrorism” has created a security vacuum, allowing the Islamic State group a chance to re-emerge, analysts warn. Libya expert Emad Badi says the fighting has given IS “the opportunity to reorganise, recruit and strike alliances with other groups (and organise attacks) to show they are still around”. Jihadist groups capitalised on Libya’s descent into chaos after the 2011 uprising that killed veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi to establish a presence in the North African country. IS had its main stronghold in Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, east of Tripoli, until it was expelled from the Mediterranean coastal city in December 2016. The group’s demise came at the hands of forces loyal to the Tripoli-based internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), especially fighters from the western city of Misrata. Those fighters are among pro-GNA … [Read more...] about Battle for Libya’s Tripoli gives chance to IS
Since the dawn of humanity, the stars in the night sky have trickled our imagination. The nursery rhymes to children inevitably start with "Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are".These blue supergiants are rock-and-roll celestial bodies which live fast and die young, making it difficult to study them. They were first observed before space telescopes were invented, but our understanding remained limited throughout.Recently, using the NASA Kepler/K2 and TESS space telescopes, a global team led by KU Leuven studied the sounds originating inside these stars and discovered that these blue supergiants shimmer in brightness due mainly to waves on their surface. Though telescopes were in use for over centuries, astronomers have struggled to 'see' what's inside the stars but these new space telescopes allowed astronomers to 'see' the waves that originate in the deep interior of the stars. Using asteroseismology, a similar technique to how seismologists use earthquakes to study … [Read more...] about Twinkle, twinkle little star, now I don’t wonder what you are!
MIDI, Yemen: Standing amid the bullet-pocked ruins of a once rebel-controlled Yemeni district, Saudi officials unveil their latest multi-million dollar aid projects, seeking to blunt global criticism over a worsening humanitarian crisis. While leading a military coalition since 2015 against Iran-aligned Huthi rebels, Saudi Arabia is also ramping up aid projects across its southern neighbour - from schools to greenhouses and desalination plants - amid international pressure to end the conflict. The coalition’s bombing campaign is blamed widely for pushing Yemen into what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with thousands of Yemenis killed and millions struggling to feed themselves. But pursuing development projects in tandem with war is a strategy that Saudi officials say is aimed at cultivating local goodwill while making Yemenis self-reliant in a moribund economy, even as activists question their effectiveness. Last month, officials from the Saudi … [Read more...] about Saudis dish out millions in Yemen aid amid global criticism