Afghans Have Been Left at the Mercy of the Ruthless Taliban

August 27, 2021

On August 15, Taliban militants entered the outskirts of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. It was the worst thing that could have happened to former Afghan employees of foreign institutions, women and civil rights defenders, religious and ethnic minorities, local journalists and even ordinary...

Christianism: The Elephant in the Extremism Room

July 01, 2021

I contend that my subject matter is something of an elephant in our global room, but I should warn that it is equally a thoroughly unhappy one: religiously-inspired, revolutionary political violence. For nearly 20 years now, scarcely a day has gone by without reportage on Islamism. This type of...

NFTs and the Cynicism of Contemporary Art

March 08, 2021

Many will remember 2020 as the year of COVID-19, an invisible pestilence that is still haunting the world a full year after its outbreak in the form of a global pandemic. Though it is still rather early, 2021 may one day be remembered as the year of an unexpected financial epidemic, the craze for...

No Place for Naivety in Afghan Peace Talks

October 01, 2020

In recent years, there has been widespread talk in the media about how much the Taliban has changed. First, it has been argued that the Taliban’s ideological view has been adjusted, which created the impression that the armed group no longer has a problem with human rights or gender equality....

Who’s Hiding in Qatar?

August 16, 2017

Qatar’s taking in of political refugees is not evidence of ideological affinity, but rather of a desire to expand influence regionally and internationally. The latest scandal in the ongoing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis revealed email leaks from Emirati Ambassador to the United States...

The Middle East in the Age of Trump

December 05, 2016

Inclusion rather than exclusion is the fundamental answer to the Middle East and North Africa’s multiple conflicts. Before Donald Trump won the US election, this author was asked to discuss what needs improving in the Arab world. His immediate thought was, “Where does one start?” But...

The World This Week: Philippines Spurns the US to Flirt With China

October 23, 2016

Chinese investors, importers and tourists are seducing the most loyal Asian ally of the US, putting Obama’s Asia Pivot at risk. This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Germany for the first time since 2014. Relations with the United States and other European powers have been...

Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: Activism in the United Kingdom

October 18, 2016

Scholars hoping to get an insider and yet critical appraisal of Islamic activism in Europe should take this book as their starting point. No religious minority in the world today has received so much global attention as the Muslims in Europe. From the burkini and burqa ban in France to the...

Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Wahhabism

August 29, 2016

For Saudi Arabia, the chicken is coming home to roost. The Saudi export and global support for religiously driven groups goes far beyond Wahhabism—its own puritan interpretation of Islam—and is not simply a product of the Faustian bargain that the ruling Saud family made with the...

The World This Week: Blood on the Bosporus as Purge Follows Failed Coup

July 17, 2016

In a week of much violence, the attempted coup in Turkey marks the limits of appeals to ethnicity or religion as a basis for a state. This week has turned out to be more eventful than a Hollywood action film. In France, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old man of Tunisian origin, ploughed a...

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