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The Rise Of The Anonymous (10 of 13)
Tehran, Iran
By Hanif
09 Feb 2013

7 March 2012 – An activist girl from Toloo members distributes warm homemade food to homeless people.

"The Rise Of The Anonymous" institute includes more than 3000 members which every week between 100-150 members activate in it.

Some, though not all, of Iran's homeless are addicted to Crystal (Methamphetamine). The homeless are supported by an organization that is also made up of young men and women that cook for them and then distribute the food. They offer advice and counseling to the drug addicts.

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The Rise Of The Anonymous (8 of 13)
Tehran, Iran
By Hanif
09 Feb 2013

1 January 2013 – Homeless people eat warm homemade food, fending off cold bundled in winter clothing, in Khajooye Kermani Park in south of Tehran.

many of Iranian homelesses are addicts,runaways children,street children,emigrants and seasonal workers who are forced to spend the night without any shelters. According to official statistics more than 12 million people in Iran are below the absolute poverty line and it means these people are incapable to obtain a shelter for themselves. We have at least 4 million addicts in our society that any of them are in several steps of addiction and some of them are also rejected by their families and come to the streets

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The Rise Of The Anonymous
Tehran, Iran
By U.S. Editor
08 Feb 2013

"Toloo Institute" in Persian means "The Rise Of The Anonymous" is the name of a charity organization. Every week its members salute the homeless people of south Tehran with warm home made meals, chat with them and introduce them to this institution. People who suffer from addiction are treated in the rehabilitation centers with the institute's sponsorship and for the ones that have nowhere to live, they provide shelter. Some of those who take part in these events were once suffering from the same complications however, they have now overcome those hardships with the aid of this institution and are now trying to help in kind.

Some, though not all, of Iran's homeless are addicted to hashish which they smoke in water pipes (nargileh). The homeless are supported by an organization that is also made up of young men and women that cook for them and then distribute the food. They offer advice and counseling to the drug addicts.

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PAKISTAN'S ENDANGERED MINORITY - Edit...
Chitral, Pakistan
By Editor's Picks
28 Jan 2013

NORTHWEST FRONTIER PROVINCE, Pakistan —

High in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province in a barely accessible area, live the Kalash People, Pakistan’s last remaining non-Muslim tribe. The Kalasha live in small villages built into the sides of idyllic valleys with gurgling streams, wheat and cornfields and fruit trees. Wooden houses stacked one on top of another, climb up the sides of steep cliffs. Children play freely and attend co-ed schools, while parents harvest crops and till the land.
Though they once numbered in the tens of thousands, the Kalasha have seen their numbers dwindle over the past century. Most experts put the current Kalasha population between 3,000 and 4,000.
The polytheistic Kalasha — whose women wear vibrant-colored embroidered dresses and beaded headdresses called “susutr" — are viewed with both admiration and suspicion by the Islamic majority.
After tens of thousands of Kalasha people, also called Nuristanis, were forcibly converted to Islam during the last century, only a few thousand retain their ancestral religion and traditions.
Wynn Maggi, anthropologist and author of "Our Women Are Free," says they were "brutally and forcibly converted to Islam, horribly persecuted, put in jail ... the Kalasha suffered a lot in their history.” Kalasha women were sometimes abducted and forced to marry Muslim men. Stories circulated of Kalasha men being forcibly circumcised.
With their light coloring — some even have blue eyes — the Kalasha are rumored to be the descendants of Alexander the Great’s army, which conquered the Hindu Kush along with “the known world” in the 4th century B.C. In Kalasha oral history, the people are the children of "Salaxi," their name for Alexander.
Most scientists and anthropologists dispute the legend: No genetic ties between Kalasha and Greeks have been discovered, and scientists believe the Kalasha are Indo-Aryans whose religion has some commonalities with pre-Zorastrian Iranians.
But regardless, the legend once lured busloads of Greek tourists to the valleys, seeking a link to their ancestral past.
“The tourists would always bring Greek coins and small perfume bottles with a portrait of Alexander the Great. Greek filmmakers have come to film the Kalasha. Some Greeks even brought Kalashas back to Greece to dance,” Maggi explained. Hellenic Aid has funded several projects in the Kalash Valleys, including the construction of two magnificent, wood-hewn Kalasha schools and several bashalis, women’s menstrual homes. "Their culture is a treasure belonging not only to Pakistan but to the whole world," said Athanasios Lerounis, a Greek teacher and activist who in 2009 was kidnapped and kept hostage for eight months—presumably by Islamic militants who disapproved of his work. There are just a few thousand Kalasha living “among a sea of Muslims,” he said — more than half of the remaining Kalasha have converted to Islam.

"We are here to support these cultural islands." Kalasha culture is threatened over pressure to convert to Islam. The pressure to convert to Islam comes in various forms. Some Kalasha convert for love or in hopes of bettering themselves, while others bow to peer pressure in the government-run schools, where students mix with Islamic students, and curriculum includes Koranic study. Recently, Kalasha girls began covering their hand-beaded headdresses with gauzy veils.
Since Kalasha has religion is its center, “Kalasha people see [Islam as a] threat — once you convert you are not 'Kalasha' and you can never be again," Maggi explained.
In the center of the Bumburet Valley, home to the largest Kalasha community, a mosque serves the area's Muslims, and the call to prayer permeates the village five times a day.
On the surface, it appears that Muslims and Kalasha coexist peacefully. Many are related — some converted, some not.
But incidents of ethnic hatred occasionally bubble to the surface. A wooden alter had it’s horse motif’s “decapitated” explained Akram Hussain, a Kalasha teacher at the Kaladasur School.
"This altar ... is sacred and historic," Nearby, a madrassa was built next to the Kalasha's sacred dancing ground. 
"Why couldn't they have put it any other place?" asked Hussain. Disrespect toward Kalasha religion is not new. Maggi said that a decade ago, “Kalasha gravestones were constantly being desecrated. Punjabi kids would pose and take photographs with the bones of Kalasha ancestors.”
Kalasha leaders can’t help but think that local Muslims damaged their sacred altar, despite protests by the town’s only imam.
“I worry because the tide is turning in Northern Pakistan due to the rise of fundamentalism. If fundamentalism spreads, the Kalasha will be easily targeted and could be wiped out or weakened," Maggi said. “The ironic and sad element is that the situation is destabilizing and escalating," said scholar Saima Saiddiqui. "If the situation remains the same, Kalasha will also suffer and what will be the outcome for the people already few in number?”

-Jodi Hilton

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Cham Fisher Folk Fear Their Future
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By U.S. Editor
23 Jan 2013

The Cham Muslim group has been living in Cambodia for hundreds of years, many subsisting as fishermen and women. But in Phnom Penh, where the peninsula divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, many families are threatened by the development of a large hotel. The Sokha Hotel, under construction next to the pier, will have more than 450 rooms. The Cham Muslim community, many of whom don't own houses or land, fear that hotel management will force them to vacate. Where they will go, nobody knows.

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Cham Fisher Folk Fear Eviction in Cam...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By U.S. Editor
23 Jan 2013

The Cham Muslim group has been living in Cambodia for hundreds of years, many subsisting as fishermen and women. But in Phnom Penh, where the peninsula divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, the development of a large hotel threatens many families. The Sokha Hotel, under construction next to the pier, will have more than 450 rooms. The Cham Muslim community, many of whom don't own houses or land, fear that hotel management will force them to vacate. Where they will go, nobody knows.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (7...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

The Cham fisher folk are not unhappy, but now their place of stay is threatened by the construction of the Sokha Hotel, a large building that will house more than 450 rooms and is being built next to the pier of the Cham families. The fishing Muslims fear that it will lead to a forced eviction, just like tens of thousands other people in Cambodia who have been forced to move in the past ten years.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (4...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Young Cham fisher folk prepare to go fishing at night. They live in a Cham community at the peninsula that divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, near the centre of Phnom Penh. Most of them work as fishermen and –women.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

In the early morning light, a Cham fishing boat navigates over the Tonle Sap river. The view is taken from the Japanese Friendship Bridge, at the centre of Phnom Penh. “Officially, we are not allowed to fish here because the government says we are too close to the Royal Palace. So they want us to go fishing further up. But we catch less fish over there, so we’re still coming back here," says Karim, a Cham fisherman.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (3...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

A Cham fishermen prays in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that works as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again”, says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests. The Cham Muslims fear Sokha management will soon grab their land.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fishermen pray in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that works as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again,” says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (2...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fishermen pray in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that also serves as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again,” says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fishermen pray in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that works as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again,” says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Young Cham fisher folk prepare to go fishing at night. They live in a Cham community at the peninsula that divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, near the centre of Phnom Penh. Most of them work as fishermen and –women.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Treh Roun has been fishing since he was a teenager. “Our lives are not easy here, but we will not leave this place before they offer us a proper piece of land and we know for sure we can continue fishing. I myself accepted this life a long time ago. I’m getting old, and I know the day is coming that Allah will pick me up to go to heaven.”

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (5...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

A Cham woman prays at five o'click in the afternoon. She stands on her boat, her face to the east. But that is also in the direction of the Sokha hotel. The Cham Muslims fear Sokha management will soon grab their land.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Karim and his wife Amrah fish almost every day in the Tonle Sap river. Karim says, “We don’t have a house or land, so we can’t live as a farmer. The only thing we can do is go fishing. I found peace in that, but if we have to leave this place, I don’t know where to go.”

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fisher women repair the fishing nets daily. Most Cham families own two boats. One boat is used for fishing, the other serves as a house.

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New York's Poorest Ignored by Politic...
Bronx, New York, US
By mcseaniew
11 Jan 2013

The community of Highbridge in the South Bronx has never been an affluent part of the United States, much of which was created in the 1940's to accommodate a huge incline in immigration to the city. Today it is home to over 35,000 people, the majority of whom are first- or second-generation immigrants from Dominica, Puerto Rico or Africa. The buildings that were created to house thousands who couldn't afford townhouses and brownstones, are now crumbling. Crime and drug abuse are sky-high. Income disparity in the US is at an all-time high. New York City is home to the most millionaires in the country. But it's also facing a food crisis. Nowhere is this starker than the South Bronx, America's poorest district, where over a quarter of a million people live below the poverty line. No wonder more folks than ever are relying on the Highbridge Community Church food pantry, run by local nonprofit the Muslim Women's Institute for Research and Development (MWIRD). But the pantry faces a closure that would plunge over 2,500 locals into an even-deeper plight.

Welfare is dwindling, and those who need it most find the labyrinthine processes almost impossible to navigate. Many don't speak English as their first language, making the system impenetrable. People who lost their jobs in the recession are struggling to make ends meet. Organisations like the Muslim Women's Institute are many folks' first - and last - resort if they want to eat well. But with the economy the way it is private funds are slipping away, and the pantry the MWI provides could go out of business at any moment. America's philosophies have always made it difficult to allot public funds to society's poorest. But now they face a crisis like never before.

Ibrahim Ramey is a long-time human rights advocate. A Washington DC resident, he has been involved in educating Muslims and Americans about political action in countries as far-flung as Tanzania and Afghanistan. Ibrahim is on the board of the Muslim Women's Institute, the Temple of Understanding (which aims to promote religious coexistence) and the Climate Crisis Coalition. He is also vice president of the Steering Committees of the Religious NGO Community at the UN. Ibrahim is increasingly worried about the lack of political dialogue concerning New York's poor, and the plight of those maligned by the current economic meltdown.

The extreme poor's lifelines are being pulled from them, creating a forgotten underclass no-one is addressing. This 4-6min video reveals the vital role the pantry plays in its neighbourhood, the Bronxites who are being marginalized and the stoic folks who run the pantry, despite the specter of closure remaining ever-present.

Additional footage:

  • Interview with local mother. Discusses how the local govt does nothing, but that the way the pantry is run (because they have no cash) makes her feel as if she is begging.

  • Interview with an older lady about the state of New York City now, compared to decades gone. She complains that 'we don't help others' in this country, mentioning how people have struggled through times like this for years.

  • Interview with a Spanish-speaking middle-aged man, about New York and how difficult it is for people to navigate welfare.

  • Much additional b-roll and OTF footage of the pantry, people cooking fresh food and queuing to get supplies.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 9
yangon,myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
13 Dec 2012

Pauk Pauk makes up herself to attend the Academy Awards in Yangon. Pauk Pauk has been dubbed the “fairy godmother” by her closest friends. She is one of the most famous fashion designers in Burma. The designs of this woman, who was born with the body of a man 42 years ago, are demanded now by actors, pop stars and ladies of the Burmese high society. But her path to success has not been easy.

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HIJABISTAS IN INDONESIA
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Mais Istanbuli
06 Nov 2012

In Jakarta, they call them "Hijabistas" - a mix of hijab and fashionistas. They love glamourous clothes and colors. They are very feminine yet they still wear their muslim outfits and respect the Quran's values.

Indonesian fashion designers are hoping to turn Indonesia into the world’s Muslim fashion Mecca within the next decade. The country, which has the largest Muslim population, is already on the right path. Many designers have already established flourishing businesses in their local communities. Some of them even made it to the international market. Distancing themselves from the traditional black burqa, those Islamic fashion designers are now proposing new and unique clothing and hijab styles for muslim women from all around the globe.

The clothes, which are sold throughout the whole muslim world, are made in the outskirts of Jakarta. The capital even have its own fashion week, dedicated to this type of clothing. Dian Pelangi, a well known Indonesian fashion designer, even created a special collection for the Eid celebration this year, which she presented at the fashion week a couple of weeks ago. She even created an innovative jilbab (long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women) series called Circle Shawl to encourage more young women to wear the jilbab.

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Hijabistas In Indonesia (Part 1 of 5)
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Anne DELAISTRE
06 Nov 2012

In Jakarta, they call them "Hijabistas" - a mix of hijab and fashionistas. They love glamourous clothes and colors. They are very feminine yet they still wear their muslim outfits and respect the Quran's values.

Indonesian fashion designers are hoping to turn Indonesia into the world’s Muslim fashion Mecca within the next decade. The country, which has the largest Muslim population, is already on the right path. Many designers have already established flourishing businesses in their local communities. Some of them even made it to the international market. Distancing themselves from the traditional black burqa, those Islamic fashion designers are now proposing new and unique clothing and hijab styles for muslim women from all around the globe.

The clothes, which are sold throughout the whole muslim world, are made in the outskirts of Jakarta. The capital even have its own fashion week, dedicated to this type of clothing. Dian Pelangi, a well known Indonesian fashion designer, even created a special collection for the Eid celebration this year, which she presented at the fashion week a couple of weeks ago. She even created an innovative jilbab (long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women) series called Circle Shawl to encourage more young women to wear the jilbab.

En Indonésie on les appelle les hijabistas : contraction d'hijab et fashionista : elles aiment le glamour et les couleurs. Elles portent leurs tenues musulmanes dans le plus grand respect des préceptes du Coran, mais elles sont très féminines. Loin de la burqa, la mode musulmane connait désormais sa capitale : Jakarta. Les designers rivalisent d'idées pour sortir du triste voile foncé et des robes sombres.

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Hijabistas In Indonesia (Part 2 of 5)
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Anne DELAISTRE
06 Nov 2012

In Jakarta, they call them "Hijabistas" - a mix of hijab and fashionistas. They love glamourous clothes and colors. They are very feminine yet they still wear their muslim outfits and respect the Quran's values.

Indonesian fashion designers are hoping to turn Indonesia into the world’s Muslim fashion Mecca within the next decade. The country, which has the largest Muslim population, is already on the right path. Many designers have already established flourishing businesses in their local communities. Some of them even made it to the international market. Distancing themselves from the traditional black burqa, those Islamic fashion designers are now proposing new and unique clothing and hijab styles for muslim women from all around the globe.

The clothes, which are sold throughout the whole muslim world, are made in the outskirts of Jakarta. The capital even have its own fashion week, dedicated to this type of clothing. Dian Pelangi, a well known Indonesian fashion designer, even created a special collection for the Eid celebration this year, which she presented at the fashion week a couple of weeks ago. She even created an innovative jilbab (long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women) series called Circle Shawl to encourage more young women to wear the jilbab.

En Indonésie on les appelle les hijabistas : contraction d'hijab et fashionista : elles aiment le glamour et les couleurs. Elles portent leurs tenues musulmanes dans le plus grand respect des préceptes du Coran, mais elles sont très féminines. Loin de la burqa, la mode musulmane connait désormais sa capitale : Jakarta. Les designers rivalisent d'idées pour sortir du triste voile foncé et des robes sombres.

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Hijabistas In Indonesia (Part 3 of 5)
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Anne DELAISTRE
06 Nov 2012

In Jakarta, they call them "Hijabistas" - a mix of hijab and fashionistas. They love glamourous clothes and colors. They are very feminine yet they still wear their muslim outfits and respect the Quran's values.

Indonesian fashion designers are hoping to turn Indonesia into the world’s Muslim fashion Mecca within the next decade. The country, which has the largest Muslim population, is already on the right path. Many designers have already established flourishing businesses in their local communities. Some of them even made it to the international market. Distancing themselves from the traditional black burqa, those Islamic fashion designers are now proposing new and unique clothing and hijab styles for muslim women from all around the globe.

The clothes, which are sold throughout the whole muslim world, are made in the outskirts of Jakarta. The capital even have its own fashion week, dedicated to this type of clothing. Dian Pelangi, a well known Indonesian fashion designer, even created a special collection for the Eid celebration this year, which she presented at the fashion week a couple of weeks ago. She even created an innovative jilbab (long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women) series called Circle Shawl to encourage more young women to wear the jilbab.

En Indonésie on les appelle les hijabistas : contraction d'hijab et fashionista : elles aiment le glamour et les couleurs. Elles portent leurs tenues musulmanes dans le plus grand respect des préceptes du Coran, mais elles sont très féminines. Loin de la burqa, la mode musulmane connait désormais sa capitale : Jakarta. Les designers rivalisent d'idées pour sortir du triste voile foncé et des robes sombres.

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Hijabistas In Indonesia (Part 4 of 5)
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Anne DELAISTRE
06 Nov 2012

In Jakarta, they call them "Hijabistas" - a mix of hijab and fashionistas. They love glamourous clothes and colors. They are very feminine yet they still wear their muslim outfits and respect the Quran's values.

Indonesian fashion designers are hoping to turn Indonesia into the world’s Muslim fashion Mecca within the next decade. The country, which has the largest Muslim population, is already on the right path. Many designers have already established flourishing businesses in their local communities. Some of them even made it to the international market. Distancing themselves from the traditional black burqa, those Islamic fashion designers are now proposing new and unique clothing and hijab styles for muslim women from all around the globe.

The clothes, which are sold throughout the whole muslim world, are made in the outskirts of Jakarta. The capital even have its own fashion week, dedicated to this type of clothing. Dian Pelangi, a well known Indonesian fashion designer, even created a special collection for the Eid celebration this year, which she presented at the fashion week a couple of weeks ago. She even created an innovative jilbab (long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women) series called Circle Shawl to encourage more young women to wear the jilbab.

En Indonésie on les appelle les hijabistas : contraction d'hijab et fashionista : elles aiment le glamour et les couleurs. Elles portent leurs tenues musulmanes dans le plus grand respect des préceptes du Coran, mais elles sont très féminines. Loin de la burqa, la mode musulmane connait désormais sa capitale : Jakarta. Les designers rivalisent d'idées pour sortir du triste voile foncé et des robes sombres.

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Hijabistas In Indonesia (Part 5 of 5)
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Anne DELAISTRE
06 Nov 2012

In Jakarta, they call them "Hijabistas" - a mix of hijab and fashionistas. They love glamourous clothes and colors. They are very feminine yet they still wear their muslim outfits and respect the Quran's values.

Indonesian fashion designers are hoping to turn Indonesia into the world’s Muslim fashion Mecca within the next decade. The country, which has the largest Muslim population, is already on the right path. Many designers have already established flourishing businesses in their local communities. Some of them even made it to the international market. Distancing themselves from the traditional black burqa, those Islamic fashion designers are now proposing new and unique clothing and hijab styles for muslim women from all around the globe.

The clothes, which are sold throughout the whole muslim world, are made in the outskirts of Jakarta. The capital even have its own fashion week, dedicated to this type of clothing. Dian Pelangi, a well known Indonesian fashion designer, even created a special collection for the Eid celebration this year, which she presented at the fashion week a couple of weeks ago. She even created an innovative jilbab (long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women) series called Circle Shawl to encourage more young women to wear the jilbab.

En Indonésie on les appelle les hijabistas : contraction d'hijab et fashionista : elles aiment le glamour et les couleurs. Elles portent leurs tenues musulmanes dans le plus grand respect des préceptes du Coran, mais elles sont très féminines. Loin de la burqa, la mode musulmane connait désormais sa capitale : Jakarta. Les designers rivalisent d'idées pour sortir du triste voile foncé et des robes sombres.

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Minorities in Georgia (29 of 37)
Bolnisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
14 Oct 2012

A cross overlooks a few villages in Bolnisi region in Southern Georgia. Bolnisi region is traditionally populated mostly by ethnic and religious minorities, mostly Azerbaijanis. Such crosses are common throughout the country and are usually symbolically installed by local Orthodox priests and their congregation. In 2003 such cross was installed right at the town square of one of the biggest villages in Bolnisi region, populated mostly by Muslim Azerbaijanis. Offended, the villagers were ready to dismount the cross. After receiving the call about this incident sheikh of Georgia Vagif Akperov, then a mollah in Tbilisi mosque, told villigares to guard the cross day and night, so that nobody would touch it, while he settled the issue down with the Georgian Church officials. "It was a provocation," says Akperov. "Whoever installed this cross, wanted us to destroy it, in order to say later that we're aggresive towards Christian symbols." The case has been quickly settled and the cross has been removed peacefully.

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Minorities in Georgia (28 of 37)
Bolnisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
14 Oct 2012

A cross overlooks a few villages in Bolnisi region in Southern Georgia. Bolnisi region is traditionally populated mostly by ethnic and religious minorities, mostly Azerbaijanis. Such crosses are common throughout the country and are usually symbolically installed by local Orthodox priests and their congregation. In 2003 such cross was installed right at the town square of one of the biggest villages in Bolnisi region, populated mostly by Muslim Azerbaijanis. Offended, the villagers were ready to dismount the cross. After receiving the call about this incident sheikh of Georgia Vagif Akperov, then a mollah in Tbilisi mosque, told villigares to guard the cross day and night, so that nobody would touch it, while he settled the issue down with the Georgian Church officials. "It was a provocation," says Akperov. "Whoever installed this cross, wanted us to destroy it, in order to say later that we're aggresive towards Christian symbols." The case has been quickly settled and the cross has been removed peacefully.

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Minorities in Georgia (27 of 37)
Bolnisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
14 Oct 2012

A cross overlooks a few villages in Bolnisi region in Southern Georgia. Bolnisi region is traditionally populated mostly by ethnic and religious minorities, mostly Azerbaijanis. Such crosses are common throughout the country and are usually symbolically installed by local Orthodox priests and their congregation. In 2003 such cross was installed right at the town square of one of the biggest villages in Bolnisi region, populated mostly by Muslim Azerbaijanis. Offended, the villagers were ready to dismount the cross. After receiving the call about this incident sheikh of Georgia Vagif Akperov, then a mollah in Tbilisi mosque, told villigares to guard the cross day and night, so that nobody would touch it, while he settled the issue down with the Georgian Church officials. "It was a provocation," says Akperov. "Whoever installed this cross, wanted us to destroy it, in order to say later that we're aggresive towards Christian symbols." The case has been quickly settled and the cross has been removed peacefully.

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Minorities in Georgia (31 of 37)
Tbsili, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
13 Oct 2012

Residents of Abanotubani (Bath District), one of Tbilisi's oldest districts, enjoy tea at a local chaikhana. The Abanotubani chaikhanas have long become a symbol of ethnic tolerance. Here you can easily see Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Kurds, and Georgians sipping tea at one table, discussing local news, and planning common business.

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MALAYSIAN COURT DISMISSES BID TO LEGA...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Beirut Editor's Picks
12 Oct 2012

The Malaysian High Court dismissed an application today by four transgender individuals who are challenging the ban on Muslim men dressing and posing as women, which is found under Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal Enactment.

The four, who had been either arrested or penalized by the "Negeri Sembilan Islamic Religious Department" before, were applying for a judicial review to declare Section 66 unconstitutional.

Justice Siti Mariah Ahmad said in her judgment that the four applicants were indisputably Muslims and were biologically born as a man, so Section 66 applied to them. She also ruled that Part 2 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees fundamental liberties to an individual, is overruled by Section 66.

Aston Paiva, the lawyer representing the four during the judicial review, said he would be advising his clients to appeal the decision.

The four applicants, Adam Shazrul Mohammad Yusoff, Mohammad Juzaili Mohammad Khamis, Shukur Jani and Wan Fairol Wan Ismail, argued that Section 66 violated the Federal Constitution's guarantee of freedom of expression. They also claimed that the "Syariah laws" should not apply to them as they had been diagnosed with "Gender Identity Disorder."

While several other Malaysians who were born male have sought to be legally declared women, this was the first legal challenge to the law that bans men from "cross-dressing" in Malaysia.

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Malaysian Court Rejects Challenge to ...
kuala lumpur, Malaysia
By Khairil safwan
10 Oct 2012

Aston Paiva, the lawyer representing the four transgender people gives a speech to the media in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan outside Kuala Lumpur on 11th october 2012. The appeal of the four transgender people challenging the Sharia' Law that bans men from dressing as women has been rejected by Secular Court. Sharia', or Islamic Law, bans Muslim men from dressing or posing as women.

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Malaysian Court Rejects Challenge to ...
kuala lumpur, malaysia
By Khairil safwan
10 Oct 2012

Aston Paiva, the lawyer representing the four transgender people gives a speech to the media in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan outside Kuala Lumpur on 11th october 2012. The appeal of the four transgender people challenging the Sharia' Law that bans men from dressing as women has been rejected by Secular Court. Sharia', or Islamic Law, bans Muslim men from dressing or posing as women.

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Transgender challenging the law in th...
kuala lumpur, Malaysia
By Khairil safwan
10 Oct 2012

Aston Paiva, the lawyer representing the four transgender people gives a speech to the media in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan outside Kuala Lumpur on 11th october 2012. The appeal of the four transgender people challenging the Sharia' Law that bans men from dressing as women has been rejected by Secular Court. Sharia', or Islamic Law, bans Muslim men from dressing or posing as women.

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Lebanese gather to greet the Pope
Beirut, Lebanon
By Marta Bogdanska
15 Sep 2012

A collection of photos that illustrate the diverse gathering of sectarian groups that gathered in Beirut to celebrate and greet the Pope, who visited Lebanon to promote peace at a particularly fragile time in the region as fighting in Syria threatens the already delicate situation in Lebanon.

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Lebanese gather to greet the Pope
Beirut, Lebanon
By Marta Bogdanska
15 Sep 2012

A collection of photos that illustrate the diverse gathering of sectarian groups that gathered in Beirut to celebrate and greet the Pope, who visited Lebanon to promote peace at a particularly fragile time in the region as fighting in Syria threatens the already delicate situation in Lebanon.

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Lebanese gather to greet the Pope
Beirut, Lebanon
By Marta Bogdanska
15 Sep 2012

A collection of photos that illustrate the diverse gathering of sectarian groups that gathered in Beirut to celebrate and greet the Pope, who visited Lebanon to promote peace at a particularly fragile time in the region as fighting in Syria threatens the already delicate situation in Lebanon.

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Lebanese gather to greet the Pope
Beirut, Lebanon
By Marta Bogdanska
15 Sep 2012

A collection of photos that illustrate the diverse gathering of sectarian groups that gathered in Beirut to celebrate and greet the Pope, who visited Lebanon to promote peace at a particularly fragile time in the region as fighting in Syria threatens the already delicate situation in Lebanon.

Thumb sm
Lebanese gather to greet the Pope
Beirut, Lebanon
By Marta Bogdanska
15 Sep 2012

A collection of photos that illustrate the diverse gathering of sectarian groups that gathered in Beirut to celebrate and greet the Pope, who visited Lebanon to promote peace at a particularly fragile time in the region as fighting in Syria threatens the already delicate situation in Lebanon.

Thumb sm
Lebanese gather to greet the Pope
Beirut, Lebanon
By Marta Bogdanska
15 Sep 2012

A collection of photos that illustrate the diverse gathering of sectarian groups that gathered in Beirut to celebrate and greet the Pope, who visited Lebanon to promote peace at a particularly fragile time in the region as fighting in Syria threatens the already delicate situation in Lebanon.