From Southeast Asia comes a voice of reason hard to ignore. His name is Haji Abdul Malik bin Abdul Karim Amrullah, better known as Hamka (d. 1981).

David Mamet has defined satire as ‘a type of wit that is meant to mock human vices or mistakes, often … to expose political missteps or social inadequacies in everyday life, sometimes with the goal of inspiring change.’

Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Biruni liked school. No, he loved school. The challenge to read and recite, to count and to calculate was fun, but the real sport was to contest the ideas of others, to engage their motives and call into question their goals.

Muslim cosmopolitanism seemed to me the most natural of dinner table topics. But my family and friends around the dinner table had other ideas.