By Carli Pierson

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August 22, 2020 / Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico

The relationship between the government of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the official leadership body of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico is complicated. Relations between the current administration and the Vatican started off tense when, just four months after taking office, the president asked King Felipe VI of Spain and Pope Francis to apologize for the abuses committed during the Conquest of Mexico, 500 years before. While the Mexican elite cringed, the traditionally marginalized sectors of society including indigenous people and lower income families applauded their president. …

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With Congress back in session this week, lawmakers have a heavy agenda in front of them: how to help Americans hit hardest by the pandemic, and what to do about institutionalized racism and police brutality against African Americans across the country.

There is one simple move that Congress could make which would at least improve both problems: the descheduling of marijuana at the federal level. Here’s why.

Let’s start with the economy. In early July, the unemployment rate was at 11.1 percent. With many states seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths, that number will likely rise. Back in Washington, Republicans are squabbling over whether to fund additional pandemic stimulus programs while Democrats demand more money for unemployment insurance. But lawmakers need only read between the leaves to find a good chunk of money to help out families and businesses, especially those most at risk and historically marginalized communities of color. Some estimates predict that with complete federal legalization, marijuana could create $105.6 …

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The Mexican president arrived in Washington DC yesterday to meet with President Trump about the Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada (USMCA), formerly known as NAFTA. A self-anointed crusader against what he refers to as “neoliberalism”, Andrés Manuel López Obrador — or “ AMLO “, as people refer to him here-arrivedin the US on a commercial flight because, as he has repeatedly insisted, using a presidential plane is ostentatious and, in his words, “there cannot be a rich government with poor people.” …

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**IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since the publication of this article Chauvin’s charges were upgraded to 2nd degree murder.**

While Minneapolis chief of police Medaria Arradondo has been applauded for immediately firing the four officers involved in 46-year-old George Floyd’s death just over a week ago, questions about prosecutors’ choice to charge former officer Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder rather than a more serious charge continue to provoke outrage.

The complaint filed by prosecutors for the state of Minnesota against Chauvin could shed some light on the reasoning for those lighter charges. It reads more like a justification for the officer’s actions rather than a complaint to establish probable cause for Chauvin’s arrest, in that it details Floyd’s size and his apparent attempts to resist. Only at the very end does it explicitly allege any wrongdoing by Chauvin, stating: “The defendant had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr Floyd was non-responsive. …

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My mother’s father began long-haul trucking after leaving his family’s farm in Nebraska. He’d take produce from California up through the northwest, the west, southwest and back. I remember hearing stories about how he’d have to use the runaway truck ramp in the Rocky Mountains when the brakes went out from time to time. One time my mother was even with him when it happened. It was a hard job, but they were poor, and he needed the money.

Back then, my grandfather was paid a salary. But now, the people we depend on for everything from cabbage to medicine during the coronavirus crisis are paid by the mile and get few benefits like health insurance or paid sick leave. This pandemic should have made it obvious how much we depend on them and how much we should value them — but only President Trump seems to have properly realized that , and that’s a big problem. …

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Last night, we were treated to another xenophobic tweet straight from the bowels of Trump’s phone. “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” the president wrote. And I’m here to tell you not to buy into his hysterics.

Travel restrictions were already in place before this alarmist tweet. As it stood, few people could come to the US anyway. Travel to and from Mexico and Canada has been restricted to a short list of “essential travelers” because of coronavirus, and people returning to the US from other countries not only face exit screening in most places, they also face restrictions if coming from a country heavily affected by the pandemic; and even that definition shifts weekly. Most people from China and Europe are barred from entering as well. …

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Donald Trump has blood on his hands.” Those were the words of New York City’s comptroller Scott Stringer, whose mother died last week of Covid-19. He wasn’t the first person to say it, but this time Stringer’s words hung glaring, suspended in air thickened with the struggling breaths of tens of thousands of sick New Yorkers and exhausted medical workers struggling in emergency rooms and ICUs overflowing with dying patients. This time those words meant something to everyone in America, not just families of migrants worried about their loved ones stuck in filthy, overcrowded immigration detention centers.

Trump’s handling of the crisis has been monumentally bad; perhaps even criminally bad. From the disinformation campaigns (“it’s just a flu”), to deciding not to release immigration detainees with no criminal record at high risk for contracting the virus (including children), the president has made decisions that will likely have cost hundreds of thousands of Americans their lives. …

Author’s Note: This brief synopsis of Islamic law emphasizes the classical and medieval interpretative approaches, interspersed with contemporary points of view. This article is in no way attempts to deal with Islamic law in-depth; rather it is the goal of International Bridges to Justice to provide an overview of the rights of the accused in Shari’ah and a bit of historical context for understanding the Quran’s approach to those rights.

I. Contextual Background — Pre-Islamic Arabia and Islamic Law

When reading about Shari’ah, it is important to have a basic understanding of the society and era in which it was revealed. In English, the Arabic word jahaliyya is usually translated as the “Age of Ignorance” and refers to approximately the century before Muhammad’s mission in the Arabian Peninsula. In pre-Islamic literature, and also in the Qur’an, words stemming from the Arabic root j-h-l are closer to “barbarism” and even more specifically — extreme behavior rather than “ignorance”. Indeed, tribalism, asabiyya in Arabic, dominated pre-Islamic Arabian society and with the exception of some of Yemen, there was no political organization or rule of law. According to the Qur’an — pre-Islamic Arabia was an arrogant, violent and extravagant society where clans took punishment into their own hands. As Maxime Rodinson explained in his 1971 book Muhammad “…manslaughter carried severe penalties according to the unwritten law of the desert. In practice the free Arabs were bound by no written code of law, and no state existed to enforce its statutes with the backing of a police force. The only protection for a man’s life was the certainty established by custom, that it would be dearly bought. Blood for blood and a life for a life. …

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Senator Bernie Sanders warned us about the inadequacy of our healthcare system for years; he warned us what would happen if a massive national or international disaster struck and it has. But we didn’t listen and now the Democratic candidate that appears almost guaranteed to take the Party’s presidential nomination this summer is former VP Joe Biden, someone who still thinks radical reform isn’t what the American people need.

So, what kind of president would Biden be if he went on to beat Trump at the polls in November? Just compare what both men have been doing since the coronavirus panic began in the US, in March.

#WheresJoe and #WheresJoeBiden have been trending on Twitter, uniting both Trump supporters and supporters of Bernie Sanders. Those using the hashtags have been asking why Biden disappeared for an entire week in the middle of the pandemic. Like many Americans, the former VP decided to hunker down during the crisis to avoid exposure and even built a recording studio in his basement so he could broadcast his speeches without risking his health. But he also also urged voters to show up at the polls in last Tuesday’s primaries in Arizona, Ohio, Florida and Illinois in order to make sure he clenched the Party’s nomination. While Biden’s campaign did warn people not to vote if they have symptoms, it is now common knowledge that people with the virus can be asymptomatic for up to 12 days — or even for the entire time they have the virus — while at the same time spreading it to everyone around them. …

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The city is rich with Mayan and Spanish history

The site of the ancient Mayan city Ak-Kim-Pech was the first place in continental America where the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1517. The Europeans came under the leadership of Francisco Cortez de Cordoba, who ‘discovered’ (for the Spanish) the Yucatan Peninsula. Although the city is no longer such a crucial port, at the time, it was an important maritime point of access for the rest of the peninsula and had a significant role in the conquest and evangelization of the Mayan communities in Yucatan, Chiapas and Guatemala. …

About

Carli Pierson

IHRL attorney & writer. Bylines in: PBS, USA Today, Independent UK, Al Jazeera, Romper, Ravishly, & National Catholic Reporter.

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