21 Mar 2014

The Wondrous Tales of Wisdom Of Mawlana al-Baghdadi

A companion of mawlana al-Baghdadi recounts one of his wondrous tales to his followers
Mawlana Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is known for being a fierce fighter and upholder of the banner of Islam. Less known is that he is a gifted orator and debater who has put many a Christian and atheist to shame with his great knowledge and superb reasoning powers. Mawlana al-Baghdadi’s debating anecdotes are collected in a book to be released soon by Penguin. A selection of those great anecdotes that show his glory and mastery of reason are recounted below.

Once an atheist man came to mawlana al-Baghdadi and challenged him to a debate. Mawlana al-Baghdadi accepted the challenge with his customary generosity and allowed the heathen to go first. The cocky atheist said ‘science tells us that the Earth is spherical like a ball but there is no indication in Islam of this basic fact. What do you say to that Baghdadi?’

20 Mar 2014

'Ali In Amreeka' ABC's new cross-culture drama

ABC's (Arabian Broadcasting Corporation) 'Ali in Amreeka' is a high-stakes drama series about a nice Arab teenage boy, after tragedy befalls his parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by his extended family, who are American. Ali finds himself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, but is unable to reconcile himself with the excess and corruption of Western culture. Everyone around him appears to be threatening or trying to take advantage of Ali and his good nature. Now a virtual prisoner in his grandmother’s suburban house, Ali must count on his independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life in the decadent West.

13 Mar 2014

WouldJew Understand Being? Heidegger’s Classy Anti-Semitism

The recent publication of Martin Heidegger’s ‘black notebooks’ has alerted scholars to the German philosopher’s deeply anti-Semitic views and how linked they were to his ideas. Prior to this revelation there was hardly any clue about Heidegger’s views, aside from his membership of the Nazi Party. Heidegger, the über-cretin of twentieth-century philosophy, was a loathsome individual but that shouldn’t be taken against him.

Heidegger influenced many twentieth century thinkers like Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard. They continued to defend him for decades, mainly arguing that Heidegger’s anti-Semitism wasn’t of the crass pogroms and book-burning type, but a classy anti-Semitism that is more about the subtle vilification of Jews in a metaphorical way. Heidegger was particularly useful to post-structuralists because he legitimised their hatred of the masses, allowing them to present their bigotry as tasteful European charm.

10 Mar 2014

Unprecedented images of Western people looking just like you and me

We have all wondered how Western people look like in everyday situations, behind the veil of exoticism that surrounds their mysterious culture. Photographer Adam Vaijan has spent years documenting everyday life in the West and the results are a startling mix of the magical and the ordinary. His beautiful shots allow us to see beyond the wall of myth that surrounds Western people and their culture, revealing scenes that are touching in their normality and reminding us that they are just like us. 

Mother and child in a supermarket. Many Western people shop in supermarkets, using trolleys.

6 Mar 2014

The 1,500 year old schism fuelling the clash between Russia and the West

With the clash between Russia and the West escalating in Ukraine, most tend to focus on the contemporary factors fuelling the confrontation and ignore its historic roots. The truth of the matter is that the current conflict is but a manifestation of an ancient schism between East and West that has been tearing Christianity apart for 1,500 years.

The rift between the two great Christian denominations runs like a tectonic fault-line along what is known as Orthodox crescent, starting in Greece and curving through Bulgaria and Romania to Ukraine and Belarus to Russia in the north east. On the one side there are the Orthodox Eastern Churches and on the other the Catholic Church and its offshoot the Protestant Church.

5 Mar 2014

Relations between Gulf States break down amid accusations of promoting democracy and freedom of speech

The simmering tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar came to a head today following months of wrangling and bitter disputes. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain pulled their ambassadors from Qatar which they accuse of ‘promoting democracy and freedom of speech’, charges that the Qatari government strongly refutes. Qatar retaliated by accusing Saudi Arabia of running its own programme for ‘spreading tolerance and universal values’. The confrontation threatens regional stability and will have far-reaching consequences.

A joint statement by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain accused Qatar of violating previous agreements and ‘importing culturally-alien ideas’ by allowing the state-owned television station Al-Jazeera to broadcast views and opinions and insidiously promoting the values of freedom of speech and expression. It also accused Qatar of allowing religions figures close to the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, which is banned in Saudi Arabia, to speak freely in public. The tone of the statement suggested how outrageous the three governments find this notion.

3 Mar 2014

How to act British and keep your kids: a guide to Muslim parents

Two men raised as Christians have been recently convicted of murdering a soldier in London and as a result London’s mayor Boris Johnson has concluded that Muslim children who are radicalised by their parents should be taken into care. This may sound absurd but it’s not for us to judge British culture. With the threat of having your children taken into custody, here are a few tips on how you can act more British and avoid this prospect. It’s not as difficult as it sounds; Boris Johnson himself has managed to suppress his Turkish ancestry quite successfully and behave like a British upper class buffoon, proving that anyone can do it. So here goes:


Showing that you consume alcohol is a sure-fire way to prove that you are not radicalised and keep the zealotry police at bay, but you have to be subtle about it. For example, if the officers ask you what your children had for breakfast reply: “I’m so hung-over I forgot to feed them. I was completely smashed last night”. It also pays to be specific about the type of alcohol you drank, don’t just say “I drank alcohol” which sounds suspicious to the trained ear. Say things like “I knocked down three bottles of Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon” which will make you sound both unradicalised and middle class, for a bonus point.