The Mideast and Abroad
- Published on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 00:00
Israel and Gaza are once again on the brink of disaster. A profoundly emboldened Hamas has initiated a rocket campaign with unprecedented aggression – raining rockets down upon Tel Aviv for the first time in 21 years and onto Jerusalem for the first time ever. “Surgical” Israeli bombs are striking Gaza from the sea and the air while tanks and soldiers line up at Gaza’s border. The beginning of an undoubtedly brutal ground campaign in Gaza looms.
- Published on Thursday, 15 November 2012 03:42
The fifteen-year old Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai who is recuperating from bullet wounds in a British hospital has become an icon of change and hope for millions of children deprived of education worldwide because of various reasons, including, importantly, a general discrimination against women.
The Taliban shot her in the head a month ago in her remote Swat village in Northwest Pakistan, simply because she defied their prohibition on girls going to school and because she lent her courageous voice to reassert the right to education for all children.
The savage assault on Malala evoked a spontaneous outpouring of worldwide outrage, condemnation, sympathy and support for her and her noble cause.
- Published on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 01:55
Tuesday night brought an end to an interminable election cycle that exposed deep political divides in the United States. Barack Obama, however, was not the only deeply polarizing figure that gets to keep his office this year. Michele Bachmann, Tea Party darling and front-woman of a Macarthy-esque “witch hunt” targeting the Muslim Brotherhood, was able to secure another term as one of Minnesota’s state representatives. The two will disagree on much in the coming years. One of these inevitable political conflicts is the United States’ relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
- Published on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 05:53
It is usually not an easy process to vote overseas. And then, all of a sudden, I had.
Weeks ago we printed out our Internet registration form, necessary to secure a ballot sent from America. We also heard we could drop this off at the US Embassy in downtown Cairo, but delays – including a few days of rioting you may have heard of – kept us away. But even then the process was complicated. Even after we were to receive the ballot and send it back, it would still be necessary to physically mail an official registration form, even if it arrived late.
- Published on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 09:20
For the first time since the revolution, protesters from opposite camps attacked each other at Tahrir Square. The events have been well documented – and disputed. Here is my version. Please read this EgyptSource article for a good summary of events and context. Please read here for my brief introduction in the form of a prayer. In brief, a protest against the constitution drafting committee was joined by a protest against the “not guilty” verdict in the revolutionary “Battle of the Camel.”
- Published on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 04:18
Hateful advertisements calling Muslims “savages” appeared recently in ten New York City subway stations. Now, they’re in the metro stations of the nation’s capital. The posters, which read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Defeat Jihad. Support Israel,” remind me of what it was like to be an Iranian kid growing up in America, after the 1979 Iranian revolution—not always a Norman Rockwell picture. I was shot at with BB gun bullets, our car was shot with real bullets, I was sometimes called the “N word” (well, really the “Sand N” word), and I resorted to fisticuffs on more than one occasion. You see, responding to bullies who asked questions like, “Hey Eye-rainian, do ya wanna box?” with maybe pithy, but probably really just butter-knife wit retorts like “No thanks, I have a box at home,” didn’t always settle the matter.
- Published on Saturday, 06 October 2012 07:43
What is the Shari’a? How has it been interpreted in history? And, where is the Shari’a a powerful force in the world today? Sadakat Kadri answers these questions in his provocative new book, Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari’a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012). His study is based on a rigorous examination of Islamic sources, and extensive travels in South Asia, Iran and the Middle East.
- Published on Saturday, 06 October 2012 05:10
“I speak on behalf of an angry people...” — Mahmoud Abbas at the 67th UN General Assembly address.
The yearly orations and political posturing at the disempowered assembly hall of the United Nations are over. Once again the elected and non-elected leaders of the new world order used their thirty minutes in the sun to lecture, to scare, to grandstand, to remind, and in the case of the Palestinians, to implore for justice in front of a powerless yet sympathetic audience which has been forced to turn its attention to phantom warnings of one non-existent bomb by a madman in the Middle East.
And I don’t mean Ahmadinejad.
- Published on Thursday, 04 October 2012 05:29
Perhaps no other practice is so despicable in any society than the halala (some say “hilla” or “hulla”) system that is being practiced in parts of the Muslim world. This is a system that entitles a divorced wife to return to her husband, if both husband and wife so desire, but only after marrying another person and after that person divorces her. The practice is antithetical to the very worldview and egalitarian spirit of the Quran.