Mashreq–Worldwide Relations

A woman cries over the coffin of a suicide bombing victim during a commemoration ceremony in a mosque in Ankara, Turkey

How Radical Ideologies Thrive in Divided World

Terrorism and other attacks by disillusioned youth reinforce the need to rediscover equality as a human right. Forms of seemingly irrational violence within society and even sexualised or racial violence are dramatically on the rise worldwide. We see radicalisation and especially a turn to ideology in communities, societies and states. The common denominator is a type of thinking characterised by the feeling of “We against the Rest”. At the same time, people everywhere struggle with the loss of their identity in today’s “liquid modernity”, a concept coined by sociologist Zygmunt Bauman.

The woman behind the project, Sherin Khankan.

Who Is Behind the Mosque Run Entirely By Women

Her name is Sherin Khankan. Born in Denmark to a Syrian father and a Finnish mother, the well-known author and political commentator has started a new mosque in Copenhagen, Denmark. Named as ‘Mariam Mosque’, it is led entirely by women imams.

Lost Generation in Conflict Zones Image©: GETTY IMAGES

Lost Generation in Conflict Zones

  A catastrophic by-product of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East is a lost generation of unschooled children. These children find themselves, through no fault of their own, not only displaced but lacking the opportunity for proper schooling and thus, denied a chance to learn and develop the necessary skills to become fully functional members of society. This lost generation is the tragedy of our time. According to a 2015 report by UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, conflict in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has driven 13 million children out of schools. Unschooled children are not only a…
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Disentangling Omar Mateen’s motivations in the Orlando shooting, at this point a major focus of the inquiry, is likely to be a complicated task. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Orlando Shooting: Is It Islam or Western Homophobia?

On 12 June 2016, a mass shooting left 49 dead and 53 wounded in an LGBT+ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Statistics show that the LGBT+ community is the minority whose members are most likely to become victims of hate crimes in the United States. More depressingly, over 80% of LGBT+ people killed in the US are queer people of colour, according to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Someone who knew Pulse Club well was anonymously quoted online saying that calling it a “gay club” would be factually false: “What actually made this club unique is that it was explicitly for the entire LGBT+ spectrum. “A place…
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Saudi security forces take part in a military parade in preparation for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP)

What Happens When Arab Autocrats Left to Fend for Themselves?

It is a difficult task to explain everything about the Middle East in a short article. So what I am going to do is to present an important, yet sometimes provocative series of headlines for a more lively analysis. The first point is that the rise of Asia shares significant responsibility for the turmoil the Middle East is experiencing. What I mean to say with this is that popular wisdom has it that a war weary, indecisive and weak President Obama’s disengagement from the region lies at the root of nations with Saudi Arabia in the lead adopting more assertive foreign and defensive policies…
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Europe’s Refugee Crisis: Grapple With Complexity We Must

There is much to understand – but one way of approaching the refugee crisis is to think through the historical precedents, to consider whether they offer us pointers as to what the space is for political and public action.  This is not easy, as historical precedents are never quite the same as what is going on now.  But surely this is an area for analysis and debate that is currently lacking. Some have gone down this route. A recent excellent posting by Becky Taylor draws parallels between the public reaction to the Hungarian refugee crisis of 1956 and emerging signs…
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Silhouette of soldier

Terrorism: Then and Now

The year 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the Irish Easter Rebellion. Throughout the year I will try to revisit some of the lessons of Ireland’s struggle for freedom. Bombs explode in a subway. The victims are everyday people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What follows is outrage: Track down the perpetuators. The people who set off the bombs are monsters and inhuman fanatics, thunder the authorities. But the year is not 2016; it is 1883 during the “Dynamite War” waged by mainly Irish-American members of the Fenians against the English occupation of…
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Anti-Semitism and the British Left

Pursue a left-wing agenda around the political racetrack long enough and you’ll meet a right-wing agenda sprinting at you from the other direction. In the twentieth century Nazism and Bolshevism stood at opposite extremes of the political spectrum and their philosophies were poles apart, yet their regimes bore remarkable similarities to each other: the smothering of dissension, the persecution of political opponents, insistence that the state was more important than the individual, total disregard for the rule of law, rejection of religion, and so on. Now, in the early years of the twenty-first century, Britain finds itself witness to an…
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Photo illustration by Shaun Venish/123RF/Photodisc

Turmoil in the Middle East: Regional Dimensions Beyond Religion

Given the current Middle Eastern scenario, one may reasonably hold the argument that the on-going turmoil in the Middle East owes its burden equally to the Machiavellian Anglo-American policies in the region and the harrowing failure of the Muslim governments/leaderships in the Middle East to rationally respond to those challenges. But are there any dimensions beyond religion? Nationalism and Turmoil The region of West Asia (known as the Middle East) and North Africa has been home for tension and conflict since the end of the 19th century. The tensions were accentuated by the division of North Africa between European powers…
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Canadians Keep Asking Questions About Saudi Arms Deal

Headline news revealed last week that London’s mayor Matt Brown and top city manager Art Zuidema emailed 14 city councillors not to speak publicly about the $15-billion arms deal involving General Dynamics Land Systems in London. Councillors were directed in January to refer interview requests to a city hall spokesperson who would give a corporate response to media inquiries about the local contractor’s deal to build light armoured vehicles (LAVs) for Saudi Arabia. Brown pledged during his 2014 mayoral campaign to create a new era of accountability and transparency at city hall but the directive co-signed by “Matt and Art”…
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