Boyd Tonkin meanders through Sicily; Andrew Petersen explores what lies beneath ancient Muslim graves; Nur Sobers-Khan puzzles through manuscripts; Aaftaab Haider makes footprints across Europe; Alev Adil uses relics to explore memory and identity; C Scott Jordan is unimpressed by emerging tomes on eugenics; inhabitants of adjacent neighbourhoods in Tunis tell their stories to Iason Athanasiadis and Dalia De Gondi; and our list of ten rather surprising Muslim relics.
Samia Rahman is concerned about her personal relics; Rita Sonal Panjatan is unable to shake the scent of old Hyderabad; Hafeez Burhan Khan is enchanted with Jerusalem; Tam Hussein embraces his relic self; David Shariatmadari is focused on words; Daniel Marwecki is concerned about Israeli policies towards Palestine; and a short story by Shahbano Alvi.
Ziauddin Sardar witnesses the annihilation of the famous Qawwali ‘Mustt Mustt’; Shanon Shah retraces the highs and lows of his pop career; Hafeez Burhan Khan shows off his (rather extensive) knowledge of Led Zeppelin; Zia Chaudhry is trapped between his parents’ love of Urdu songs and his own fascination with Western cultural products; Shaizir Aly is enthralled to see his hero Bruce Springsteen glorified on the big screen; C Scott Jordan argues that K-Pop is little more than child abuse; Elma Berisha is enchanted with the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak; a short story by Ari Haque; and hip hop in action by Wasi Daniju and Azeezat Johnson.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas suggests music opens hidden windows to the soul; Stefan Williamson Fa discovers the Sufi-Flamenco fusion of Aziz Balouch; Estrella Sendra listens to Senegal sounds; Rim Jasmin Irscheid takes us raving in Tehran; Katharina Schmoll ponders the burqa; and a short story by Nadira Babayev.
Samia Rahman is lost in music; Hassan Mahamdallie remembers his punk days; Leyla Jagiella invokes the legendary Indian actress Meena Kumari as the patron saint of the broken-hearted; Mohammad Shahid Alam compares the idea of God in monotheistic religions; music and poetry by Paul Abdul Wadud Sutherland; poems by Latifa Nur; and our list of ten non-Western one-hit wonders.
Giles Goddard denounces Western attitudes to the environment; Gordon Blaine Steffey exposes the deceit and bullshit of climate deniers; Shanka Mesa Siverio attempts to build prosperous communities; Scott Jordan wants to negotiate the meaning of sustainability (by watching films!); Samia Rahman ponders polygamy; a short stories by Uzma Ali; poems by Helen Moore; and Mohammed Aidid and Fareha Rahman issue a call to arms.
Medina Tenour Whiteman sings the praises of water; James Brooks joins the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations; Tawseef Khan worries about the plight of climate refugees; Muhammad Akbar Notezai witnesses the impact of climate change on Pakistani villages; Greenpeace illustrate plastic pollution; Gazala Khan can’t get India out of her mind; poems by Farid Bitar; and we list seven climate-denying wonders of the world.
Ehsan Masood fears a coming mass extinction; Christopher Jones deliberates on global weirding; Hafeez Burhan Khan experiences the dry heat of Wadi Rum; Moiz Bohra watches the gas and oil flares in Qatar; Yovanka Paquete Perdigao suggests Game of Thrones is a climate allegory; Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton samples the delights on offer at the Venice Biennale; a short story by Hafsa Abdurrahman; and M Iqbal Asaria remembers S M Idris, the legendary peoples’ champion of Malaysia.
Henry Brefo laments that we were once friends; Hafeez Burhan Khan thrills with tales of book smugglers in Timbuktu; Hang Zhou sees potential in the African Yuan; Tam Hussein on his encounter with Jihadis; Samia Rahman learns about giants of an Islamic past; poems by Victoria Adukwei Bulley; and the Last Word on my generation by Oluwagbemileke Joy Jegede.
Shanka Mesa Siverio relates her experience of architecture, culture and identity; Peter Griffiths takes a tour of West African cities; Kalaf Epalanga gets his Afrobeat groove on; Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed has the perfect answer to the endless questioning of her identity; Shanon Shah decolonises the book of kings; Gemma Edom goes fishing in Akure; and a short story by Dzekashu MacViban.
Yovanka Paquete Perdigao and Henry Brefo navigate the rich cultural and political geography of West Africa by telling the Lion’s story; Jean-Ann Ndow explores West Africa’s history through the song and dance of Griots; Estrella Sendra is at the cinema with Ousmane Sembène; Nouriah Bah finds evidence of the legacy of Pan-Africanism today; Ngadi Smart introduces us to faces of Abissa; Natasha Koverola Commisiong finds Africa in Somerset House; a short story by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim; and Yovanka Paquete Perdigao has some stern words of advice on what not to do when visiting West Africa.
Jordi Serra del Pino chops his career as a futurist into five neat scenes; Richard Appignanesi exposes seven deadly virtues of postnormal times, or (as he calls it) ‘postculture’; Andrew Burke claims that ‘decolonial scientia’ should inform our future understanding of race and identity; Harris Irfan is convinced cryptocurrencies are the future of Islamic economy; Mothiur Rahman marches with the Extinction Rebellion; Misha Monaghan is unconvinced the future belongs to one Muslim woman; a scenario-based short story by Umar Shiraz; and Samia Rahman contemplates sex with a robot!
Mirza Sarajkić shows that the Qur’an is a future-oriented text; Sohail Inayatullah thinks futures can be explored through stories; Iacopo Ghinassi wonders if a digitised Qur’an retains its sacred nature; Linda Hyokki joins a futures studies workshop; Jim Dator suggests that accelerating technological and social change is infusing individuals and collectives to create a new entity – ‘Indivollectivity’; Tamim Sadikali fails to stand still on the shifting ground of British Muslim identities; a scenario-based short story by Naomi Foyle; and our list of Ten Emerging Issues.
Ziauddin Sardar argues that our survival depends on taking alternative futures seriously; Christopher B Jones illuminates the importance of trends and emerging issues; Maya van Leemput explores future cities; Cesar H Villanueva looks for peace in typhoons (and everywhere else); Scott Jordan dissects Afrofuturism; Nur Sobers-Khan visits the new Islamic galleries at the British Museum; and a scenario-based short story by Medina Whiteman.
James E Montgomery takes us on a journey of travel storytelling; Irna Qureshi relates the forgotten histories of halwa-loving folks; Nicholas Masterton listens to the stories that architecture and buildings reveal; Onaiza Drabu asks Muslims how they see Islam and how Muslim they feel; Shanon Shah reads a new biography of Ibn Khaldun; Samia Rahman mythologises family narratives; Misha Monaghan on being British; a short story by Tam Hussein; and Shazia Mirza’s non-list of Muslim comedians.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas explores the complexity of simple stories; Burçin Mustafa struggles with translations; Giles Goddard recalls how he was indoctrinated in the narrative of British imperialism; Sabrina Stallone extolls the courage of the women of Rawabi; Boyd Tonkin wonders why, two millennia later, Antigone still captivates us; and Sahil Warsi on representations of Afghanistan.
Merryl Wyn Davies argues that narrative, the weaving of information into world pictures, is integral to cultures; Brad Bullock suggests that the foundation for the emergence of President Trump was laid decades ago; Leyla Jagiella claims that heart is more sacrosanct than beliefs and rituals; Nur Sobers-Khan dreams some pleasant and not so pleasant dreams; C Scott Jordan dissects the lie that keeps America together; Hassan Mahamdallie heeds an urban legend from the streets of Baghdad; and the art of Norhayati Kaprawi.
Doris Behrens-Abouseif reads the extensive Islamic literature on beauty; Hasina Zaman contemplates a beautiful death; Henry Brefo castigates high fashion; Avaes Mohammed is enchanted with the beauty of his Sheikh; Giles Goddard estimates the price of a rainforest; a poetic short story by Alev Adil; and poems by Mustafa Abu Sneineh.
Samia Rahman refuses to take a selfie; Mahmoud Mostafa meditates on the Most Beautiful Names of God; Irum Shehreen Ali is sick of wellness; Nima Nasseri checks in to an Iranian nose job clinic; Sahil Warsi ponders the skull of Alum Bheg; Ricci Shryock joins a female wrestling match in Senegal; and our list of Ten Unexpected Makeovers.
Shanon Shah goes in search of beautiful Muslims; Nadia Mohd Rasidi asks ‘am I beautiful?’; Jonas Otterbeck listens to ethical sounds; Yovanka Paquete Perdigao is horrified by skin-whitening products; Misha Monaghan is unimpressed with pious fashion; Yasmin Desouki watches classical Egyptian films; and poems by Brandino Machiavelli.
Timothy Bartel is transformed by a visit to Willowbrook Farm; Sami Zubaida recalls the Baghdad kitchen of his childhood; Boyd Tonkin meets Claudia Roden; Hussein Kesvani defends halal fried chicken shops; Mohammed Ali remembers the forgotten Bangladeshi pioneers of the ‘Indian restaurant’; Misha Monaghan has difficulty digesting Ugly Food; Vicky Bishop tucks into Halal Snack Packs (chips with layers of doner kebab sprinkled with ‘Holy Trinity’ sauces); Becky Trow on the colonial fantasy of Victoria and Abdul; and three (foodie) poems by Shadab Zeest Hashmi.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown returns to Uganda to recover her taste buds; Charles Upton reads (and ‘transcreates’) Sufi wine poetry; Shanon Shah becomes a part-time vegetarian; Tahir Abbas wakes up to the smell of Arabica beans; Yemisi Aribisala invokes Nigerian love stews; C Scott Jordan has dinner at a restaurant in the jungle of Calais; Irum Shehreen Ali is intoxicated with the eighth-century poet Abu Nuwas; a short story by Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi; and our list of Seven Wonderful Future Foods.
Merryl Wyn Davies shreds foodie culture as the construct of affluence and essence of abundance; Jeremy Henzell-Thomas is convinced that the rise of celebrity chefs spells the end of (western) civilisation as we have known it; Colin Tudge suggests that the future belongs to those who can conjure up gourmet meals; Gunel Isakova laments the loss of Azerbaijani food rituals; Imran Kausar launches a new brand of halal fare; Laych Koh on the plight of the Rohingya; and Mimi Khalvati’s ‘Zereshk Polow’.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas measures the circumference of the Umma; Christopher de Bellaigue charts modern Muslims’ struggles with faith and reason; Esra Mirze Santesso has an encounter with Kamala Khan the American-Pakistan superhero; C Scott Jordan is disturbed by the rise of artificial intelligence; Samia Rahman comes to terms with traditional values; Alasdair Donaldson weighs diplomatic baggage; and Sheba Saeed meets the beggars of Lahore.
Rowan Williams explores Islam, Christianity and pluralism; Mohammed Hashas explains why he is still a Muslim; Maurice Irfan Coles teaches compassion; Shaista Aziz is fed up with everyday bigotry; Tahir Abbas encounters Generation M; Khidr Collective’s ‘other voices’; and poems by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat.
Merryl Wyn Davies tries to make sense of values in the post-truth age; Kabir Helminski provides a primer on Islam and human values; Boyd Tonkin welcomes strangers; Mohammad Moussa urges us to embrace pacifism; Gail Boxwell learns the meaning of ‘givenness’; Hannah McClure whirls into ecstasy; a story by the father of Catalan literature, Anselm Turmeda; and Maha Sardar’s list of ten persecuted communities.
Abdelwahab El-Affendi fears Europe is returning to the Dark Ages; Gordon Blaine Steffey dissects American populism; Raza Ali goes in search of ‘the people’ in Pakistan; Eric Walberg observes the emergence of populism in Cairo; Hassan Mahamdallie has a crash course in the art of futures studies; Alia Masood enjoys a debut novel; short stories by Muddasir Ramzan; and Merryl Wyn Davies collects some vox pops.
Ashis Nandy tackles populism’s double-bind; Sindre Bangstad presents three propositions on right-wing populism in Europe; Leyla Jagiella argues that Germany is no stranger to far-right sentiments; Sughra Ahmed visits the US Bible belt; Shanon Shah reads a new assessment of Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami; short stories by Hasan Manzar; poems by Omair Bhat; and our list of ten populist moments.
Ziauddin Sardar dismembers post-truth angst; Richard Appignanesi mourns the loss of world; Barnaby Rogerson traces the history of the word demagogue; Bhavik Doshi is disturbed by the populist rhetoric of the Indian diaspora; Scott Jordan watches anxiety-drenched movies; Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton is unimpressed by 2017 Venice Biennale; and poems by Carole Smith.
Zeeshan Khan asks real Bangali Muslims to raise their hands; Irum Shehreen Ali refuses to take sides in the battle of the Begums; Sharbari Z Ahmed juggles her identity as an American Bangladeshi writer; a short story by Ahsan Akbar; poems by the award winning Kaiser Haq; Laych Koh meets Yuna, the enigmatic Malay pop singer; and our list of top ten Bangladeshi cultural delights.
Hassan Mahamdallie has strange encounters in Dhaka; Dina M Siddiqi visits garment factory workers; Onjali Q Raúf is angry at the plight of the female victims of the Independence war; a short story by Rajib Rahman; a poem by the late Shaheed Quaderi; Giles Goddard thinks there is nothing unique about challenges facing Islam; and Samia Rahman is besotted with Nadiya Hussain.
Shanon Shah tries to unravel the paradox of Bangladesh; A Qayyum Khan thinks Bangladeshi politics is trapped in a fraudulent circle; Anato Chowdhury laments the murder of gay activists; Sadaf Saaz comes to terms with home; poems by Lalon Shah, the great Baul saint and mystic of Bengal; Maria Chaudhuri longs for home in other places; and Tamim Sadikali reads a brilliant anthology of British Muslim writers.
Hassan Mahamdallie joins the community of Findhorn; Nazry Bahrawi reflects on the Islamic legacy of utopian thought; Colin Tudge seeks a utopian transformation; Merryl Wyn Davies tunes into (operatic) utopian melodies; Shanon Shah is captivated by the Palestinian singer Reem Kelani; Fatimah Ashrif is enchanted by the supernatural art of Islam; and poems by Peter Stockton.
Bruce Wannell explores the Gardens of Paradise; Medina Whiteman’s parents escape to Andalucía; Yasmin Khan reads contemporary Muslim utopian fiction; Noor Iskandar photographs utopian landscapes; Sarah Pickthall discovers her uncle Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall; an extract from Rehan Khan’s fantasy novel Last of the Tasburai; and Reem Kelani’s list of Top Ten Palestinian Inspirations.
Boyd Tonkin surfs the coast of utopia; Marco Lauri dissects ibn Tufayl’s utopian masterpiece; Sadek Hamid dissects Khilafatopia of Hizb-ut-Tahrir; Naomi Foyle locates utopia in her ordeal of illness and recovery; Halima Gosai Hussain is scared by BBC’s ‘Muslims Like Us’; a short story by Sharbari Z. Ahmed; and poems by Hodan Yusuf.
Syed Nomanul Haq follows classical scholars seeking royal patronage; Benedikt Koehler highlights how the Italian scholar of Islam Leone Caetani saw East/West Relations; Elma Berisha is horrified by the spread of homogeneity; Ayisha Malik goes on a date in full hijab; poetry by Mohja Kahf; Nadiah Ghani on Muslim fashion; Hassan Mahamdallie on the holy ignorance of Salafis and Islamists; and Henry Brefo’s Last Word on African Chiefs.
Aamer Hussein looks back on his affectionate bonds with the great Urdu writer Qurratulain Hyder (aka ‘Annie’); Annalisa Mormile traces the roots of disunity in the EU family; Mohammed Moussa explores family ties in Japanese politics; Saulat Pervez sets out to cultivate reading habits; a short story by Muddasir Ramzan; Safeena Razzaq’s illustrated guide to the ‘Problems of a Brown Girl’; and our List of the Top Ten relationship break-ups.
Samia Rahman is perplexed by our complex network of relationships; Piro Rexhepi crosses borders in the Balkans; Julian Bond and Fatimah Ashrif engage in a (loving) interfaith dialogue; Michael Vicente Perez suggests that feminism is for everybody; Ziauddin Sardar fails to cope with a troublesome Auntie; poetry by Perzada Salman; and Aysha Garaeva on Soviet ‘death journeys’.
Roger van Zwanenberg explains how the West became a dominant world power; Shiv Visvanathan imagines India’s rise to a second rate power; Boyd Tonkin is not impressed by the narratives of rise and decline; Avaes Mohammad dissects ‘the clash of civilisations’; Hassan Mahamdallie needs radical hope to survive a PostWest world; Tamim Sadikali on Britain through Muslim eyes; a short story by Imaan Irfan; and Jim Dator declares ‘the West is Dead’ – get over it!
Jasper M Trautsch explores the concept of the ‘West’; Amrita Ghosh goes in search of the ‘East’; Jalal Afhim marvels at China’s balancing act; Andrew Brown insists that liberal democracy is a (partial) fraud; Scott Jordan argues the West as the valiant cowboy will not ride into the sunset; Ana Maria Pacheco’s ‘Dark Events’; poems by Fawda Suleiman; and Samia Rahman’s list of top ten PostWest films.
Shanon Shah suggests PostWest is a speculative concept that obscures as much as it explains; Gordon Blaine Steffey suffers from PostWest anxieties; Julia Sveshnikova comes to terms with Russia’s identity crisis; Carool Kersten analyses the ‘post-everything’ thought of the American-Iranian scholar Hamid Dabashi; Giles Goddard thinks it is the beginning of the end of capitalism; Bina Shah on Thar women and Pakistani art; and poems by Amir Darwish.
Laura Hassan studies how Muslim philosophers approached science and nature; Naomi Foyle seeks nature in Palestine; Shanon Shah discovers nature caters for more than two sexes; Samia Rahman walks the tightrope on the mountains of Dagestan; a short story by Tam Hussein; poems by Tommy Evans; and Ziauddin Sardar’s list of Twelve Postnormal Plagues.
James E Montgomery reads some classical texts; Munjed M Murad sings the virtues of ibn Arabi; Lali Zaibun-Nisa suggests we should all slow down; Daniel Dyer writes a book for children; C Scott Jordan watches ‘The Revenant’; Merryl Wyn Davies remembers the ‘Green, Green Grass of Home’ (which in her case is Merthyr Tydfil); and poems by Paul Abdul Wadud Sutherland.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas goes for a long walk ‘out in the open’; Charles Upton delineates basic Islamic concepts and symbols for the contemplation of nature; Mohammed Hashas explores the geopoetics of nature; Zeshan Akhter goes wild in the forest; Emma Clark designs an Islamic garden; Rabia Barkatulla explores ‘Sea Change’; a short story by Aamer Hussein; and poems by Michael Wolfe.
Robert Irwin is impressed by intellectual developments in Medieval Basra; Javaad Alipoor is haunted by utopias in Tehran; Paul Vallely investigates the complicated financial system of the Vatican; Irna Qureshi and Syima Aslam organise a literary festival in Bradford; S Parvez Manzoor on Obstinate Sovereignty (again); four poems by the Australian hip-hop artist Zohab Khan; and Stuart Schaar’s Last Word on the late Fatima Mernissi.
Peter Clark thinks that Istanbul is the eternal capital of the world; Eric Walberg finds friendship, authoritarianism and Islam in Tashkent; Jeremy Henzell-Thomas tries to make sense of city rankings; Martin Rose recounts the history of Rabat – the ‘pearl of Morocco’; a short story by the novelist Maria Chaudhuri; Muddasir Ramzan on a bold new novel about Kashmir; and our list of Ten Cities to Visit Before You Die!
Hassan Mahamdallie discovers shoots of hope in the wastelands of Detroit; Boyd Tonkin is unimpressed by off-the-peg culture in Persian Gulf cities; Nimra Khan visits the transgender community of Lahore; Irfan Yusuf takes us on a guided tour of mosques in Sydney; VMK photographs the migrant workers of Dubai; and Zina Mamouni watches Abderrahmane Sissako’s brilliant film Timbuktu.
Raza Ali is anxious about his love for the Prophet; Gordon Blaine Steffey wrestles with the terminology that defines the terrorists; Jerry Ravetz tackles extreme corruption; Rahul Jayaram relates the heart-wrenching story of the Indian labourer who escapes Saudi Arabia by hiding in the aeroplane toilet; Naima Khan on the English rendering of the Pakistani play Dara; poems by Ghassan Hassan and Medina Whitman; and the Last Word on ‘Happy Muslims’.
John A Sweeney studies ‘extreme weirding’ – the life-threatening changes in geology and ecology of the planet; Benedikt Koehler investigates attempts to distribute wealth in early Islam; Samir Younés is troubled by mean thoughts in the Arts; Andrew Brown is disgusted with the New Atheists; Talat Ahmed reads Arun Kundnani’s The Muslims Are Coming; a short story by Navid Hamzavi; and Shanon Shah’s Top Ten Jihadi Janes.
Ziauddin Sardar and Samia Rahman suggest that extremism is an expected product of our complex and chaotic postnormtl times; Anne Alexander traces the origins of ISIS; Farouk Peru castigates the ‘Islamofascists’; Elma Berisha takes a tour of religious sites of Southeast Asia; Sunny Hundal laments the rise of Sikh extremism; C Scott Jordan forces himself to watch American Sniper; a comic strip by Ivan Carromero Manzano; and S Parvez Manzoor on sovereignty.
Charles Allen Scarboro listens to local stories; Suzanne Mordue on Turkish coffee; Edip Asaf Bekaroglu on the ambiguity of Turkish secularism; Charles Allen Scarboro on memory and forgetting in Istanbul; and Merryl Wyn Davies gives us the last word on 'Turkish delight’.
Ahmet Kuru discovers Turkey’s political history; John Crofoot revisits the Seljuk era; Yusuf Sarfati weighs in on the headscarf debate; Aamer Hussain gives us an insight into his Istanbul; and Abdullah Yavuz Altan sheds light on Orhan Pamuk’s legacy.
Tahir Abbas explores the enigma of modern Islamist Turkey; Nagihan Haliloglu gets tangled in Turkish heritage wars; Rebecca Soble witnesses a killing; Sophia Panda on the Edrogan-Gulen breakup; and a short story from Tam Hussein.
Ebrahim Moosa rethinks the whole idea of the madrassas; Nejatullah Siddiqi thinks Islamic economics is passed its ‘sell by’ date; Marodsilton Muborakshoeve considers universities in Muslim contexts; Ruqayyah A. Karem makes the case for fictional Islam; and three poems from Ilona Yusuf.
Richard Pringle discusses the purpose of education; Abdulkader Tayob argues that issues of identity are intrinsically linked to Islamic educational reform; Moneef R. Zou’bi suggests ways that science education can be improved in the Muslim world; Sindre Bangstad highlights the problems in researching Islamophobia; and a short story from Cheli Duran.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas argues that educational reform is the biggest challenge facing Muslim societies; Abdelwahab El-Affendi suggests ways that Muslim education should be reconfigured; Farid Panjwani is convinced that conventional approaches to education in Islam are deeply flawed; Paul Ashwin wants to improve student engagement; and three poems from Marilyn Hacker.
Boyd Tonkin highlights the power of words; Aamer Hussain reads the fiction of the Turkish Sufi novelist Samiha Ayverdi; Sejad Mekic on Bosnia-Herzegovina; Salim Nafar on another Eid in Gaza; and our list of ten most powerful women in Islam.
Barnaby Rogerson is enchanted with the notion of governance in the life of Prophet Muhammad; Nader Hashemi on the geo-politics of the ‘Arab Spring’; Abdelwahab El-Efendi travels to ‘Londonistan’; Jeremy Henzell-Thomas on the power of education; and Nader Hashemi reviews ‘Reasoning with God’.
Ziauddin Sardar explores the limits of power; Kecia Ali surveys sexual politics of Muslim groups; Mohamed Bakari get involved with the struggle for power in Turkey; Hussain Ahmed reflects on the Peshawar attacks; and a poem from Avaes Mohammad.
Jim Wolfreys is appalled by the rise of Islamophobia in France; Gary McFarlane examines the career of the American anti-slavery fighter John Brown; Sa’diyya Shaikh finds that ibn Arabi can help us become more human and humane; Ruth Waterman taps into the memory of Bosnia; poems by Elmi Ali; Samia Rahman discovers cool Muslim women; and a list of Ten Xenophobic Political Parties to Avoid.
Hugh Kennedy relates the story of the revolt of the Zanj slaves; Ziauddin Sardar denounces the bigotry of the Gulf states; Avaes Mohammad revisits his home town of Blackburn; Abdelwahab El-Affendi drives the leaders of the Arab Spring around London; poems by Dorothea Smartt; Declan Ryan is enchanted by Ruth Padel; and the Last Word on Trinidad.
Hassan Mahamdallie thinks that the colour line will blight the twenty-first century; Shanon Shah argues that Islam and race have combined to produce a complex identity; Robert Irwin exposes the dark side of The Arabian Nights; Barnaby Rogerson performs the pre-Islamic hajj; Tasnim Baghdadi plays with her hybrid identity; a short story by Aiysha Jahan; and Naima Khan accuses South Asian Muslims of looking down on blacks and Africans.
Abdelwahab El-Affendi dissects the thought and politics of the Sudanese reformist Mahmoud Taha; Nazry Bahrawi defends the interpretations of the Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd; Eva Hoffman suggests that dissidents should be as mindful as the Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz; Johan Siebers explains why the pen is the chosen instrument of the dangerous freethinker; Hanan al-Shaykh recalls the freethinking women who shaped her life; Suhail Ahmad watches a film that is not a film; and our list of ten freethinkers to think about.
Bruce Lawrence thinks that Al-Biruni is the greatest freethinker of all time; Aziz al-Azmeh explores Abbasid culture and the universal history of freethinking humanism; Stefan Weidner looks at the notion of the Divine in Adonis’s poetry; Mohammed Moussa is unimpressed by the neo-modernity of the Iranian freethinker Abdolkarim Soroush; a short story by Peerzada Salman; ghazals by Marilyn Hacker; and Merryl Wyn Davies on why freethinkers are mad, bad and dangerous.
Ziauddin Sardar argues that freethinkers can be dangerous in numerous ways; James E Montgomery examines the radical freethought of the ninth-century thinker Jahiz; Oliver Leaman wrestles with Ibn Rushd’s dangerous idea; Robert Irwin explores the myths surrounding the great Sufi mystic al-Hallaj; Alev Adil struggles with ‘the Aisha Project’; Mohamed Bakari’s encounter with V S Naipaul,
Ross Burns is concerned about the loss of cultural property; Brigid Waddams remembers Old Damascus; Hania Mourtada has a disturbing encounter on Skype; Boyd Tonkin finds it difficult to distinguish between volunteers and terrorists; Maysaloon chides Syrian drama for its complicity; and poems by Moniza Alvi and Ruth Padel.
Malu Halasa samples the local lingerie of Aleppo; Afra Jalabi agonises over a photograph of a lost child; Amal Hanano recalls the massacre of Hama; Frederic Gijsel visits a pre-revolution House of Poetry; Fedda and Daniel Gorman praise the underground cinema of defiance; and five very short stories by Zakaria Tamar.
Peter Clark explores the roots of the Syrian crisis, Robin Yassin-Kassab explores revolutionary culture; Sam Hamad dissects the Islamist opposition; Rasha Omran rejects the notion that sect can be a homeland; Ella Wind pursues an inside perspective on the Syrian uprising; Itab Azzam gets the refugee women involved in a production of ‘Trojan Women’; Laurens de Rooij reads two recent books on Syria; and Ehsan Masood’s concerns on Mass Extinction and ten things you ought to know about Syria.
Robin Yassin-Kassab traces the origins of the Alawis of Syria; Hassan Mohamedallie has a conversation with Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph and spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community; A. Faizur Rahman spends some quality time with the puritan Deobandis of India; Yasmin Saikia is angry at the Sectarian violence unleashed in the name of Islam; Johan Sibers argues that heretical sects can usher enlightenment; and Peter Mandaville asks: why can't we all just get along simply as 'Vanilla Muslims'.
Francesco Cavatorta thinks the Salafis represent the greatest danger to Islam; Zacharias Pieri joins the evangelical Tablighi Jamaat on a religious retreat; Jamie Gilham asks why converts tend to be over-zealous; Mohamed Nawab Osman joins the Caliphate movement of Hizb-ut-Tahrir; a short story by Carole Smith; and Barnaby Rogerson's list of nineteen Islamic numbers.
Merryl Wyn Davies is appalled by the sectarian divisions in Muslim societies; Ebrahim Moosa suggest the Sunnis, the majority Muslim sect, need a little self-reflection; Faisal Daviji explores the historic contribution and present predicaments of the Ismailis; Imranali Panjwani explains what it means to be a Shia; and Baheyya accuse anti-Morsi campaigners.
John Liechty attempts to get a US visa for his Moroccan wife; Jamal Bahmad watches some revolutionary films; Anita Hunt tackles Mauritanian social norms; Barnaby Rogerson goes souk shopping; a poem by Sarra Hennigan; and our list of ten Moroccan oddities.
Julia Melcher explores the absurd world of exiled western writers in Tangiers; Hicham Yezza examines the role of the Berbers in the Arab Spring; Louis Proyect spends some time with the Jews of the Maghreb; a fresh short story by Aamer Hussain; poems by George Szirtes; and Samia Rahman on 'Wadjda'.
Robin Yassin-Kassab has an enlightening sojourn in Morocco; Marcia Lynx Qualey is dazzled by the transformative power of Maghrebi poetry; Cécile Oumhani provides a daily account of the Tunisian revolution; Robert Irwin wonders if Ibn Khaldun had a mystical vision of history; extracts from a new novel by Lina Sergie Attar; and Naziha Arebi's photographs of Libya after the revolution.
Tanjil Rashid argues that Islamists like Sayyid Qutb are complex men; Stefani Bigliardi suggests that men who follow the flat-earth ideology of Turkish creationist Haroon Yahya need psychotherapy; Leyla Jagiella relates her painful experiences as a woman who was a man; Claire Chambers is engrossed by John Siddique's achingly personal love poems; our list of ten species of angry Muslim men; and poems by the widely-acclaimed Mohja Kahn and Imtiaz Dharker.
Kecia Ali is exasperated with the omnipresent male scholar; Asma Afsaruddin argues that the history of Islam includes people who were not men; Mohamed Saleck Val is impressed by traditional female commentators on the Qur'an; Shamim Miah is disgusted by Pakistani men who groom vulnerable teenage girls; M.A. Qavi is enthralled by Dervla Murphy's sojourn in Gaza; a short story by Tam Hussain; and poems by the widely-acclaimed Mark Gonzales.
Ziauddin Sardar confesses his shortcomings as a Muslim man; Merryl Wyn Davies asks what exactly is the problem with men; Abdennur Prado grapples with Muslim masculinities; Ziba Mir-Hosseini tries to get out of the dead-end of male superiority justified by the Sharia; Alev Adil extolls the beauty of men; Jenny Taylor think it's time both men and women were a bit more chaste; Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton is bowled over by the Iraqi pavilion at the Venice Biennale; and Hassan Mahamdallie is captivated by Ayad Akhtar's award-winning play.
Rossie Indira laments the loss of classical Indonesian music; Jo Kukathas weeps at the emergence of religious intolerance in Malaysia; Iftikhar Salahuddin visits the Dome of the Rock; Samia Rahman watches Argo; three poems by Marilyn Hacker; and the top ten Malaysian obsessions.
Ahmad Fuad Rahmat dissects a Malaysian demigod; Andre Vltchek thinks Indonesian Islam is anything but ‘tolerant’ and ‘moderate’; Shanon Shah dabbles with Malay magic; Mohammad Moussa laughs at Christopher Hitchens; a short story by Nabeela M. Rehman; and Vinay Lal questions Malaysia’s claims to be a genuinely pluralistic society.
Merryl Wyn Davies unravels the paradox that is Malaysia and Indonesia; Ziauddin Sardar reads the history of Kuala Lumpur from the window of his apartment; Carool Kersten engages with a string of Indonesian intellectuals; Nazry Bahrawi reads some classic Southeast Asian texts; Linda Christanty ponders the genealogy of her (Muslim) name; and Hassan Mahamdallie is bowled over by a new biography of Malcolm X.
Brad Bullock seeks to empower women; Marvine Howe meets the new Muslims of Iberia; Jordi Sarra del Pino wows to resist Spain’s new Reconquista; Zara Amjad and Gulzar Haider reimagine the Cordoba Mosque as a sacred space for all religions; four poems by the enchanting Rowyda Amin; and a short story by John Liechty.
Emilio Gonzalez-Ferrin argues that al-Andalus is not just a time past also a time present; Matthew Carr explores the plight of Muslims who were forced to convert to Christianity; David Shasha describes the achievements of Sephardic Jews; Cherif Abderrahman Jah tunes into the musical legacy of al-Andalus; Alev Adil and Aamer Hussein receive nine postcards from Andalusia; Barnaby Rogerson reprimands the Muslim aversion to dogs; and Merryl Wyn Davies gets the shivers while listening to the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras belting out ‘Granada’.
Ziauddin Sardar sides with the philosophers of al-Andalus in their struggle with orthodox theologians; Robin Yassin-Kassab goes on a poetic journey; Nazry Bahrawi reveals how the Andalusi philosophers tamed the secular; Gema Martin Munoz is dismayed by the works of the Spanish Orientalists; Boyd Tonkin is captivated by a book festival in Granada; Vinay Lal explores Gandhi’s attitude to Palestine; and a dozen luminaries of al-Andalus we should all admire.
Samia Rahman sets out in search of love; Khola Hasan has mixed feelings about her hijab; Sabita Manian promotes love between India and Pakistan; Irna Qureshi’s mother finally makes a decision on her final resting place; Alev Adil takes ‘a night journey through a veiled self’; Ahmad Khan explores the colonial history of The Aborigines’ Protection Society; Syrian scenarios by Manhal al-Sarraj; and Merryl Wyn Davies’s ‘last word’ on love and death at the movies.
Jalees Rahman reflects on Nazi doctors who took delight in deathly experiments; Ramin Jahanbegloo is incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison; Hamza Elahi visits England’s Muslim graveyards; Shanon Shah receives valuable guidance on love and sex from the ‘Obedient Wives Club’; Naomi Foyle reads the first novel of a British Palestinian; poems by Sabrina Mahfouz and Michael Wolf; and Rachel Dwyer’s list of Top Ten Muslim Characters in Bollywood.
Aamer Hussein takes love to its logical conclusion; Robert Irwin traces the origins of the ghazal (love lyric); Christopher Shackle recites epic Panjabi poems of sacred love and lyrical death; Imranali Panjwani mourns the massacre of Karbala; Martin Rose is taken hostage by Saddam Hussein; Boyd Tonkin discovers that dead outrank the living in Jerusalem; Parvez Manzoor throws scorn on a nihilistic, revisionist history of Islam; and a short story by the famous Fahmida Riaz.
Bina Shah asks if there is boom in Pakistani literature; Bilal Tanweer listens to ‘Coke Studio’; Muneeza Shamsie discovers the literary secrets of her family; Taymiya R. Zaman overcomes her fear of talking about Pakistan; poems by Ghalib, John Siddique and Zehra Nigah; and Shazia Mirza tells rude jokes in Lahore.
Mahvish Ahmad tracks down the separatist in Quetta; Ehsan Masood watches Pakistani television; Merryl Wyn Davies deconstructs ‘imaginariums’ of Pakistan; Aamer Hussein discusses Pakistani modern classic fiction; a new story by Yasir Shah; and ‘Ten Things We Love About Pakistan’.
Ziauddin Sardar questions the question mark that is always placed in front of Pakistan; Robin Yassin-Kassab asks why Pakistan has not imploded; Taimur Khan breaks bread with the gangsters and bookies of Karachi; Muhammad Idrees Ahmad revisits Peshawar; Ali Maraj assesses Imran Khan, plus a new translation of an old short story by A R Khatoon.
Fanar Haddad on the sectarian schisms in the Arab world; Gary McFarlane on Tottenham Riots; Farouk Peru on self loathing Muslims; Claire Chambers on ‘Four Lions’, and Ziauddin Sardar on his pet hate: the beards of Islam.
Vinay Lal on Hindus who love Hitler; Gordon Steffey on Christian fundamentalism; Anita Sethi’s dangerous bus ride through Iran; and Ten Top Techs for Muslims.
AbdelWahab El-Affendi on Islamophobia and Orientalism in the age of liberal paranoia; Arun Kundnani on the English Defense League and the rise of the far right in Europe; Peter Clark on Bernard Lewis; Peter Moray on Irshad Manji; plus a short story by Suhel Ahmed and six poems by Stéphane Chaumet.
Ben Gidley on what keeps Muslims and Jews apart and what can bring them together; Stuart Sim takes a sledgehammer to the ‘profit motive’; Andy Simons argues that Jazz is just as Muslim as it is American; Said Adrus visits a Muslim cemetery in Woking; Vinay Lal assesses the legacy of Edward Said, and Merryl Wyn Davies takes a train to 9/11.
Michael Muhammad Knight explains his taqwacore beliefs; Soha al-Jurf has problems with orthodoxy; Carool Kersten suggests that critical thinkers and reformers are often seen as heretics; Hassan Mahamdallie explores what it means to be an American; Jerry Ravetz discovers the Arabic Maimonides; Plus a brilliant new story from Aamer Hussein and four poems by the celebrated Mimi Khalvati.
Ziauddin Sardar argues why Islamic reform is necessary; Bruce Lawrence sees Muslim cosmopolitanism as the future; Parvez Manzoor declares jihad on the idea of ‘the political’; Samia Rahman gets to the root of Muslim misogyny; Robin Yassin-Kabbab meets the new crop of Iraqi writers in Erbil; Ehsan Masood confesses he spent his youth reading the extremist writer Maryam Jameelah; and Iftikar Malik dismisses pessimism about Pakistan.
Shadia Safwan asks how long could Assad last; Jasmin Ramsey joins activists in Tehran; Jerry Ravetz ponders the significance of Ibn Khaldun to the Arab Spring; Rose Aslan on Najaf; a new short story from Bilal Tanweer; Saffi-Ullah Ahmad on new Muslim cool ; and Merryl Wyn Davies gives the last word on Saudi women drivers.
Anne Alexander tunes into the digital revolution; Fadia Faqir joins women protesters; Jamal Mahjoub contemplates the future of the Sudan; Rachel Holmes visits the Palestinian Festival of Literature; Taus Makhacheva takes affirmative action; and Aasia Nasir accuses Pakistan.
Ziauddin Sardar tries to understand the significance of the Arab Spring; Robin Yassin-Kassab spends some quality time in Tahrir Square; Ashur Shamis dodges the bullets of Gaddafi's henchmen; Abdelwahab El-Affendi traces the roots of the uprisings; S. Parvez Manzoor asks if Turkey is a good model for the Muslim world; Muhammad Idrees Ahmad is overwhelmed by leaks; and revolutionary poetry from Nizar Qabbani, Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi, Ayat al-Qormezi, Naomi Foyle and Tawfiq Zayyad.