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IOS Minaret Vol-1, No.1 (March 2007)
Vol. 10    Issue 18   01-15 February 2016

Minaret Research Network

Rising Costs of Conflict in Iraq

According to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, released on January 19, 2016, almost 19,000 civilians in Iraq were killed and more than 3,600 wounded in a span of one year and 10 months, between January 2014 and October 2015. In 2014, the deadliest year since 2006-2007, a total of 12,282 Iraqis were killed and 23,126 wounded. About 3,500 people are currently being held as slaves by the Islamic State.

Since the start of the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, more than 3.2 million people in Iraq have been internally displaced.

Escalating Public Disaffection in Tunisia

Though Tunisia has achieved a measure of political stability in recent months, the country continues to be plagued by high unemployment levels. The overall unemployment rate in the country is more than 15.2 per cent. A staggering 62.3 per cent of graduates are without work. Over 37.6 per cent of young people are jobless.

Several cities across Tunisia have witnessed large public protests over high unemployment rates in recent weeks. Protests and clashes with the police were triggered by the death by electrocution of an unemployed protester in the city of Kasserine on January 16, 2016. There have been some suicide attempts due to rising frustration among unemployed youth. Following attacks on police and public property, the government imposed curfew in several cities on January 22.

Forcible Shaving of Beards in Tajikistan

Authorities in Tajikistan have launched a campaign to shave beards on the ground that “beards are alien and inconsistent with Tajik culture.” Hundreds of thousands of Tajik men have been arrested by the police in recent years for wearing a beard. In January 2016, police in Tajikistan’s Khatlon region shaved the beards of nearly 13,000 men as part of an “anti-radicalisation” campaign. The campaign has been launched amid fears of growing extremism and radicalisation in a section of Tajik youth. It is estimated that between 1,500 and 4,000 Muslim youth from Central Asia have joined militant groups in Syria.

The wearing of veils is officially banned in schools and public institutions in Tajikistan.

Child Marriage in Bangladesh

Child marriages are widespread across large parts of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. South Asia has the world’s highest rates of child marriage, where nearly half of all girls are married off before the age of 18 and one in six girls is married before the age of 15. In West and Central Africa, the child marriage rate is 42 per cent and in Eastern and Southern Africa 37 per cent. Child marriages are particularly common in the Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Niger, Burkina Faso, India, Guinea, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan, Liberia and Nepal.

Bangladesh has the fourth-highest rate of child marriage in the world. Nearly 65 per cent of all girls are married before the age of 18. Most young girls are driven into early marriage due to poverty, natural disasters like floods and storms, gender discrimination, age-old traditions and social pressure.

In 2014 the government of Bangladesh declared its commitment to ending child marriage under the age of 15 by 2021 and all child marriages under 18 by 2041.

Growing Popularity of Cosmetic Surgery in Iran

Cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular in Iran. According to official figures, nearly 40,000 cosmetic surgeries take place across the country each year, but the actual figure is much higher. The most common cosmetic surgeries include nose jobs, liposuction and botox injections in cheeks or foreheads to conceal wrinkles. Iran is now among the world’s top 10 countries performing cosmetic surgeries and ranks fourth, after Brazil, Mexico and the US, for nose jobs.

The minimum cost of a nose job in Iran is around $1,500, more than five times the average minimum monthly salary of $270. The craze for cosmetic surgery is fuelled by television soap operas, which are broadcast round the clock and are watched by most Iranian women, fashion magazines and Internet sites. Television channels air round-the-clock advertisements for nose jobs and other surgical procedures and slimming creams.

Cosmetic surgery is also becoming popular among young Iranian men.

Boko Haram’s Barbarity Continues Unabated

Boko Haram extremists launched a series of deadly attacks with firebombs in the village of Dalori in northeastern Nigeria on January 30, 2016, killing at least 86 people, including children, and wounding dozens of others. Many children were burned alive.

The reckless violence unleashed by Boko Haram has killed at least 20,000 people in the past six years and has driven more than 2.3 million people out of their homes. Up to one million children have been forced out of school.

Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, which have been frequently targeted by Boko Haram, have formed a coalition to fight the group.

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