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A Deadly Night in Nice

As the news came in on the night of 14 July that there was yet another attack in France, this time in Nice, the immediate reaction was to fear the worst and associate it with the likes of Daesh or Al-Qaida. It quickly became apparent that a truck had driven 2km through a parade, zigzagging […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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‘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 […]

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‘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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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

MFull 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 […]

Syrian refugees run after entering Hungary from Serbia through a barbed wire fence, on the border near Roszke, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. Hungary deployed police reinforcements to rein in an unrelenting flow of migrants across its porous border Thursday, but refugee activists said the effort appeared futile in a nation whose migrant camps are overloaded and barely delay their journeys west into the heart of the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

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 […]

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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. […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Trauma of Suffering

As I write the final few thousand words for my next book, which is on the condition of Islam, politics and ethnicity in contemporary Turkey, and as I read countless pages of news, opinion and blog posts rarely read by others this morning, I feel a sense of foreboding concerning the state of the world. […]

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Sowing the Seeds of ISIS 2.0?

It is a case of smoke and mirrors indeed in relation to the conflict in Syria. What is going on? And what is going to happen? The so-called rebels are the militarised Sunni groups who are supported and funded by the US and Saudi Arabia through Turkey. The Russians are on the side of Assad, […]

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Lazy Cameron Speaks the Language of Racialism

It is reasonably encouraging that the British Prime Minister wishes to fund the teaching of English language to British Muslim women who have been left behind by ‘progress’, as it were, but the backdrop to his statements are however deeply problematic, as well the implications they raise. In the 1950s, British ‘coloured immigrants’, as they […]

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My New York State of Mind

I recently returned from a semester stint as a visiting scholar at the famed New York University, a renowned institution of higher learning in the US, and recognised the world over. Afforded the distinct luxury of allocated NYU housing on West Fourth Street, the entrance to the block was at the foot of Fifth Avenue, […]

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May the Forced Be With You

No Spoilers In 1977, as an excited 7-year old, I queued up outside the Gaumont Cinema on Colmore Circus in Birmingham with my father and a cousin. We were waiting to see Star Wars, a film which had taken both audiences and critics by storm. Little did I realise that it would have the impact […]

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“You ain’t no Muslim, bruv”

Another day and another attack, this time by a deranged young man on three innocent victims in a tube station in east London. Witnesses allege that he screamed ‘this is for Syria’ before attacking his victims, one of which is critically injured. Videos on Twitter have gone viral, and newspaper outlets are reporting that this […]

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Now you see me, now you don’t

When you look straight towards me What does your mind think you see Averting your gaze in buried fear Or do you prolong a brooding stare Am I exotic and dangerous together Or an alluring but sinister aggressor Am I a threat to your familiar ways Do you dread your looming days Am I not […]

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Follow the money to understand Daesh

I am trying to get my head around understanding the geopolitics of the current crisis in ‪Syria. As always, it is a good idea to follow the money. In this case, we are talking about gas pipelines from the east to the west. Who wants more control of them? The ‪EU, ‎US, Saudi Arabia and ‪Turkey, where the latter […]

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Remembering to Forget

So many nations across the world have chequered histories. Their foundations rest on the annihilation of indigenous peoples eliminated supposedly because they were uncivilised or backward. In the course of time, as the new communities arrived and settled, they created a nation in their own image. Rather than there being a commemoration and remembrance of […]