Heresies, Public & Private!

The reason I tread lightly in the political field is because it is, in essence, only a manifestation of the real problems in our part of the world, most of which tend to be not simply social but psychological in nature.And since such problems, due to their very intricate nature and the fact that we have to work on both the individual and collective levels simultaneously, cannot be dealt with in matter of days or months and tend to require years, if not decades, to be handled effectively, seeking political fixes to these problems is nothing short of idiotic. Continue reading

Asking all the wrong questions

First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations. 

Ever since the Danish Cartoon Controversy, a spate of alarmist articles and reports on Islam and the Muslim communities in western societies appeared in various newspapers and journals across the world, all warning against the danger posed by Islam as such and all asserting that Islam as a faith is inherently violence. Continue reading

A Heretic in New York!

I just got back from a trip to New York where I took part in the Festival for International Literature organized by PEN World Voices. This marked the first time in what seemed like forever that I was treated as a literary figure and not a political one. It was quite a refreshing change to say the least. I spoke at two panels: Exiles in America, and Truth and the Internet, both of which proved quite interesting and lively indeed. Continue reading

The Mohammed Cartoons: European Society and Freedom of the Press

The violence that followed the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in several European newspapers has raised questions about European models of social integration and underscored that their debates at home can have dramatic implications abroad. The story has also raised questions about freedom of the press and self-censorship in the media. In a world threatened by a clash of civilizations, does freedom of the press include the right to offend the most sacred beliefs of others? In a time of fundamentalist terrorism, can we allow violence and the threat of violence to determine the content of our speech?

To examine these issues, the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution and the Heinrich Böll Foundation hosted a panel on The Mohammed Cartoons: European Society and Freedom of the Press. Commentary was provided by Ammar Abdulhamid, Visiting Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy; Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Die Zeit; David Ignatius, The Washington Post; and Claus Christian Malzahn, Der Spiegel. The briefing was moderated by Philip Gordon, Director of the Center on the United States and Europe.

The Petulant Lot & their Not So Petty Challenge!

Syrian officials did not show any sign of real remorse for the failure of their security apparatuses to protect the Danish Embassy from vandals. On the contrary, they were defiant: it is the Danes who should apologize for even criticizing the arson of their embassy. For by doing so, they failed to appreciate the real efforts of the security people who took quite a beating for trying to protect the embassy of the infidels. Continue reading

Curious Facts!

Each time a demonstration goes awry in Damascus, the event often takes place on a weekend, involving empty buildings and minimal, if any, civilian casualties. Even last year’s incident in Mazzeh, when an alleged “terrorist” cell attacked a UN headquarters, the building had been empty for years, albeit a woman bystander was killed. This and those Syrians arrested in Beirut for involvement in the riots that took place there, not to mention the burning of the Danish embassy in Beirut, bespeaks volumes. The world cannot afford to ignore these obvious signs anymore, this regime is bent on self-destruction, and an alternative to it should be engineered fast before the entire country breaks under its deadweight. Continue reading