On Violent Extremism

Full text of my talk on the ‘violent extremism’ panel, The Wilberforce Society Annual Conference 2017: Global Disenchantment, St John’s College, Cambridge, 4 February.   The Wilberforce Society, my fellow panellists and to you the audience, many thanks indeed for the kind invitation and the opportunity to be with you here today. In the ten […]

White Out(Rage): Trump, Islam and Whiteness

It is going to be a very difficult time under Trump. Behind his victory is the intersection of two sets of processes. Both rich and poor white groups believe that their privileges are disappearing in the light of globalisation, immigration and diversity.(1) Trump voters feel comfortable expressing their latent racism, believing it is a legitimate […]

2016: annus horribilis

At the start of 2016, no one could have predicted the impact or the scale of the events that would occur during the year. In reality, it has been a catalogue of a most surprising range of outcomes. David Bowie, Prince, George Michael and Leonard Cohen, all giants of the popular music scene, forever gone. […]

Berlin, Ankara and Zurich…

In the space of a few short hours, three separate terrorist incidents shocked the world. It might be incumbent upon the thinking individual to suggest some sort of pattern here or to determine the links between these different events to put forward an overarching paradigm, but it would also be foolhardy and somewhat disingenuous. In […]

Enter Trump

The American voting public has just elected Donald Trump as the next President of the USA. Here is why it is a disaster. He is a serial business failure. He would be worth twice as much if he left his father’s inheritance alone. He is a serial groper, harasser and misogynist. He mocks the disabled. […]

Raving Brexiteers

It has been nearly four months since the Brexit vote split the country in two, with a tiny margin of leavers gaining the upper hand. It will lead the country on a path to leaving the European Union as soon as Article 50 is triggered, which is likely to be in the first quarter of […]

Kashmir bleeds again

The recent violent struggles in Kashmir, dubbed the Burhan Aftermath, have drawn attention to a rift between two neighbouring countries that has its genesis in the partition of India in 1947. In dividing India, two countries were established not as friendly neighbours but as two competitive nations pitted against each other separated by religion and […]

How Brexit Unleashed the Dragon

After endless articles and discussion pieces written on the reasons why one-third of the British population voted to Leave the EU in the recent referendum, there is still reason to explore some of the over-arching concerns implied by this eventuality. Renowned Oxford University geographer Professor Danny Dorling argues that years of austerity and inequality have […]

A Word on Blair

Yesterday the Chilcot report was finally published after a seven-year long wait. For many of us following the Iraq War from the very beginning none of the contents were at all surprising. The report was a damning account of catastrophic failures of decision-making at the highest levels, but not only that. Tony Blair ignored all […]

Time to Fly

As I sit here at the airport gate on my way back to England after nearly six years in Istanbul, the feelings are more numb-like than I would have imagined. It is partly to do with the fact that over the last two weeks or so I have been making all sorts of arrangements to […]

A Broken Britain on the Brink

After the 2008 global financial crash, it was clear that Britain was going bust for a generation. Bankers caused it by exploiting loopholes created by New Labour’s deregulation of the financial markets. When the immediate solution was to shore up the assets of the banks, the government should have left the banks to fall while […]

The Ironies of Brexit

Less educated middle-aged and elderly white folk in smaller towns and cities were most likely to vote leave but are least likely to benefit in the end. Brexit has brought to the surface layers of racism and the ‘ghosts of empire’. England has given into hate and bigotry, not openness and tolerance. Brexit could trigger inflation, […]

‘It Was Xenophobia Wot Won It’

Now that was a surprise. Britain has voted to leave the EU. It turned out to have been a clear split between working class communities in de-industrialised areas and the urban educated metropolitan liberal-minded ‘Guardian’ readers in the south. It shows how divided Britain is – and how out of touch Westminster is with the […]

‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’

I feel rather outraged about how this whole Leave-Remain debate has unfolded. From what has started as a ridiculous spat between two right-wing elements of the Tory party, recently going back to the days of Norman Lamont and his infamous speech in 1995, Britain is about to make a historical non-reversible decision that will have […]

Far Right Extremism and Islamic Political Radicalism

The recent tragic murder of Jo Cox MP has brought to the surface major concerns in relation to far-right extremism in Britain today. Although much within media and political discourses focuses on Islamic political extremism, there is little attention given to far-right violence. Moreover, these acts are no aberration either. Rather, various reporting necessarily suggests […]

Homage to Muhammad Ali

The passing of Muhammad Ali on Friday morning met with responses from around the globe. People from all walks of life have commented on the man, his life and how he touched them. In many ways, I knew of Ali as long as I have known of myself. He was always part of my own […]

On the Tales of Rumi

Come, come, whoever you are Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It does not matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come   One city in Turkey stands apart from others for its historical significance. Konya is the final resting […]

Privilege = More Privilege

A Princeton University professor recently published his CV of failures as a way in which to inspire his undergraduate students with the dictum, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try try again’. It has received considerable attention, with some describing it as ‘beautiful’ while others deconstruct its meaning to suggest that a CV of failures could […]

The Impact of the Islamic State and Turkey’s Civil Society

Full text of my presentation, ‘The Impact of the Islamic State and Turkey’s Civil Society’. Paper present to TASAM (Turkish-Asian Centre for Strategic Studies) Fourth International Middle East Congress, ‘Turkish-Arab Relations: Multi-Dimensional Security Building’, Hatay, 27-29 April. Thank you, madam chair. Hello, good morning and welcome. I would like to thank the conference organisers for the kind […]

Here and there but still nowhere

There are times when the ‘where are you from’ question is essentially about whether you are seen as a threat to the imagined identity of the questioner. I am currently the city of Karlsruhe, in south-west of Germany, getting ready to return to Istanbul, and having spent yesterday debating migration, identity and the question of […]

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

After much expectation and hype, Zack Snyder’s Batman vs Superman has opened to mixed reviews. Many consider it an epic masterpiece, quite possibly the best superhero film ever. Others argue that it contains too many narratives, there is insufficient plot development or that the big fight between the two protagonists is not nearly fleshy enough. […]

Getting Away With It

There are many Muslims working in the radicalisation-deradicalisation industry in an effort to eliminate the problems of extremism, but it is merely a ruse for blasé thinking and legitimising the existing state of affairs. Here is my top ten list of reasons why. They say they are Muslims, which gives them some credibility among non-Muslims, […]

Brussels Attacks: Not Islam but Politics

Across the world right now, minute by minute news alerts are fixated on the terror attacks in Brussels. At the time of writing, 28 people have tragically lost their lives with countless others seriously injured in hospital. The shock, horror and trauma this will cause Belgium, combined with a global cry against Islamic terrorism, will […]

No Freedom, No Speech

Yesterday afternoon, the AKP moved in on Turkey’s biggest selling daily newspaper group, Zaman and Today’s Zaman in English, calling in the administrators, placing the news outlet under the authority of the government. The silencing of so-called dissenting media voices has occurred systematically over the years, leading to charges of authoritarianism, the abuse of power […]