Barack Obama had Cairo. That was where he delivered a speech calculated in its intention and high-flown in its language. It was 2009. He had just ascended to office. It was his moment: a young, fresh-faced American president on his first major visit to a Muslim country. He turned his address into an invocation, extended to the Muslim world at large. Continue reading
For some people, these islands seem just too small to satisfy their ambitions. Not content with Britain, many want to be known around the world; they want to be famous in a new and different way. Continue reading
For my generation, 2011 came close to being our 1968. Like the latter, it was a year of political change, change that seemed dynamic and accelerated.
The world was on the verge of being transformed. It seemed as though undemocratic regimes, for too long a regrettable fixture of the Middle East, could be overthrown and replaced. More than that, there was a sense of real optimism. It seemed the weight of history had been lifted. Continue reading
Review – Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea by Shiraz Maher
The advent of the Islamic State (IS) took much of the world by surprise. The suddenness of that group’s appearance, coupled with the rapid growth of territory under its control, was a shocking development. In addition, the brutality of IS, and the extent to which it revelled in cruelty which was invariably described as ‘medieval’, meant that it was, in many ways, an organisation which defied easy description. Continue reading
Between 1960 and 1965, Malcolm X emerged as a leading voice in the burgeoning civil rights movement. Originally a minister in the Nation of Islam (NOI), Malcolm later set up his own mosque, while developing his own ideas regarding religion and race. At a time of great social change for black Americans, he arguably proved to be tremendously significant in many respects, not least as an orator, an organiser, a religious reformer and an inspirational figure for so many. Malcolm was assassinated on February 21, 1965, but had played an essential part in advancing civil rights both before and after that date. Continue reading