The National Interest Foundation Newsletter
Issue 7, August 12,2019
Eid Mubarak! This weekend marked Eid al-Adha, the most important Muslim holiday, which coincides with the Hajj pilgrimage. The Hajj is one of Islam’s Five Pillars, and required by all with the means to take the trip. It is undertaken by Muslims from around the world, who come to Mecca, Muzdalifa, and Mount Arafat in honor of the Prophet Abraham.
Around the World
India Revokes Kashmiri Statehood and Begins Lockdown
Shocking the world, the Indian parliament revoked statehood for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state. Stripping the pretence of local autonomy by placing the area under direct federal government control, Delhi went further and split it into two federal territories, one Hindu (Jammu) and one Muslim (Kashmir). The call to strip Jammu and Kashmir’s
statehood, granted through the Constitution’s Article 370, had been a demand from Hindu nationalists for since the 1950s. In practice, successive Indian governments have removed much power from Jammu and Kashmir’s state government, however it was considered vitally important to keep a Muslim-majority state in name, as a signal that India was a nation for all religions. That the current BJP government under Modi has stepped away from even maintaining this fiction speaks to the image of India that he wishes to portray. The government claims to want to ‘integrate’ Kashmiris with t
he rest of India, with language that can’t help but recall China’s approach to its Muslim-majority province.
Kashmir has been on lockdown since the parliamentary action, and faces a media blackout. India has promised to send 35,000 troops to Kashmir, and populated areas are under military occupation. Eid celebrations, too, featured new government rules that prevented the usual large prayer gatherings from taking place. Some experts are hopeful for a Supreme Court challenge to the government’s actions, because they do not actually follow the Constitution’s provisions.
New York Judge Pushes Back Against FOIA Delays for Khashoggi Documents
U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Engelmayer wrote that “there is paramount public importance and urgency” for the release of records related to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The documents had been requested by the Open Society Justice Initiative, but the Departments of Defense and State had attempted to argue that they cannot conceivably
release the documents in time while maintaining their usual document release schedule. The judge noted that despite the urgency of the murder case, which has had global attention, the agencies did not even begin to respond to their relevant FOIA requests until five months late.
Judge Engelmayer’s stance follows months of discussion in Congress about investigating the case, as well as considerable pushback from the White House. Taking this into account, he wrote, “Khashoggi’s disappearance, and the facts or allegations regarding his killing in Saudi custody, have continued to be a matter of intense interest among the public, legislators, other policymakers and journalists.”