Meeting with a book has sometimes to do with luck. Sometimes it is because you are at the airport with some foreign currency which you couldn’t spend even after you visited the restaurant, the café and the duty-free shops. And then you spot a book with a catchy title and the right price to empty your wallet. So you buy it and read it during the 12 hours-long flight. Then you decide to write a review because you have nothing more interesting to write about.
This is what happened to me and this book.
Well, not exactly. I decided to write this post because the book’s topic is essential in our present days where so many wars are said to be launched against Islam-ist groups and threat.
In “A world without Islam“, Graham Fueller tries to picture a world where Islam wouldn’t have existed and considers the current trends to find out whether they would have been different or not. Would there still be a war on terror, a clash of civilisations, hatred towards the US, etc. Continue reading →
On the occasion of International Women’s Day of this year, I have chosen to speak about various ‘feminist’ movements in the Muslim world in general. Many Muslims do not like the term ‘feminism’. The easiest way to discredit a movement in the Muslim world is to link it to the secular West. It is amusing to observe how Muslims seem sometimes more inclined to sympathize with the ideas of the extremist Christian right than with secular movements. Not to say that the Christian right doesn’t have any acceptable ideas from an Islamic perspective, but just to highlight the tendency to distrust anything that is tagged as ‘liberal’, ‘secular’ or even ‘democratic’. This is perhaps why the Islamic feminist movement has had relatively Continue reading →
Algerianna‘s recent posts on the upcoming elections in Algeria coincide with elections in two other countries which, I think, have the closest political landscapes to ours. Russia’s Putin is celebratinghis victory, and his “I am officially the Prime Minister but I am the real President” trick he played in the past four years could have been adopted by Bouteflika in 2009 had he not had that too big ego of his. And Iranian Ahmadinejad and his friends are apparently losing the legislative elections to a more conservative group. The fact all those conservative/less conservative/reformist wings belong to the same system under Khamenei‘s control remind me of Algeria and how the next elections might change the parliament political distribution but not the system.
So I am taking this opportunity to write about my visits to Iran. I’ve been to Tehran a few times and my last visit was over a year ago. It coincided with Ouyahia’s visit and also with the assassination of some Iranian scientists. It might be safe here to tell that I am not connected in any way to either events. Continue reading →
Hamza Kashgari is a 23-year old Saudi poet and writer who has been involved in a big media frenzy after some tweets he’d published on the run-up to Mawlid. The tweets were an imaginary conversation, in Arabic, Kashgari was having with Prophet Mohamed (pbuh):
On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.
On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.
On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.
Hours after he published the tweets, Kashgari apologized and fled to Malaysia, en route to Continue reading →
This news story is quite interesting on many accounts, not just the purposeful image of uninterested and dosing Salafi MPs that Reuters chose to append to the linked article. I was particularly fascinated by the indignation it caused in Egyptian media circles and even the Islamist Speaker himself who reprimanded the culprit quite forcefully. The ‘culprit’ is Mamdouh Ismail; a Salafi MP in the recently ‘elected’ Egyptian Parliament. He is accused of irrespectfully breaking into the Muslim formal call for prayer (a’then) during a parliamentary session. Ismail later said that this wasn’t as purely provocative as it might first appear, as he had asked on many previous occasions, together with other MPs, that prayer times should be respected according to the Islamic tradition but was systematically ignored. He said that what he did was Continue reading →
There is nothing like an Algerian barber. Finding an Algerian barber has been one of my top priorities whenever I moved somewhere; that is two occurrences. The haircut lasting a minimum of 30 minutes gives you the feeling the barber is giving it his all, and the result is always perfect compared to those few experiences I had with non-Algerian professionals. And let’s not forget the way he drinks his coffee while cutting your hair, or how he apologizes because he went out to smoke his cigarette. The other reason why I like Algerian barbers is all those discussions you hear in the shop.
My barber’s name is Mohamed. He’s a Kabyle from Algiers and he employs two other men: an Algerian from the East and a Tunisian who spent too much time with Algerians that he seems to have forgotten his country. The triplet’s specialty is political analysis but they seldom talk of Algerian domestic affairs as they prefer international ones. I’ve heard them analyse 911, the US invasion of Afghanistan, the second Gulf war, Saddam’s execution, NATO’s war in Libya, etc. but I missed their analysis of Gaddafi’s killing.
A few days ago the topic was Eid celebrations as they were making arrangements for the sheep sacrifice. The discussion went as follows: Continue reading →