Tahir Abbas Middle East

Inequality, Extremism and Radicalism: A Global Overview

There are a number of ways to explain patterns of global Islamic political radicalism, but few have looked at the interconnected geopolitical dynamics underpinning global societies in an economic and sociological context. Straight off the bat, there are a few takeaways to consider. There is considerable inequality in the Middle East, some of which is…

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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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British Muslims: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Muslims in Britain are on the receiving of the intense gaze and scrutiny of media and political institutions more than ever. No more is this the case than in relation to Sadiq Khan. Labour Party candidate for London Mayor, and arguably leading the race in the polls, in the last two weeks he has experienced wave…

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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…

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The Paris Attacks Explained

There is considerable emotionality and concern over the tragic events in Paris, but how can we explain the issue? The events in Paris on the night of Friday 13 will go down in history as one of the most horrific acts of organised violence in the country. Eight terrorists in six separate attacks unleashed a wave of terror…

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A Massacre in Paris

With at least 127 dead in Paris, serious questions will be raised, but where will the answers be found? There is blood on the streets of Paris. A city under siege. A nation gripped in panic. At the time of writing, at least 127 people have been murdered by terrorists in six separate incidences of…

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The Road to Mississippi

When one thinks of the Deep South in the US, certain images and thoughts immediately arise in the minds of the many. Virginia is where the first slave ships docked. For hundreds of years, many millions of Africans were brutally taken from their homes, shipped across the Atlantic, and ended up as slave labour to help build…

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Turkey Can No Longer Ignore the Kurds

The latest elections in Turkey resulted in a majority for the AKP, but what will happen to the “Kurdish issue”? It has been a deadly summer in Turkey. Three suicide bomb attacks in less than six months have killed over 130 people, wounding hundreds more. Many of the victims were Kurdish in origin. Ironically, specifically…

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Erdogan’s winning hand

No one in their right minds could have predicted the election outcome in Turkey on 1 November. The pollsters got it wrong again. There may or may not have been a kind of fraudulent victory, but Erdogan’s gamble worked. His party is back with an overall majority, and his own future as the president with…

circa 1965:  British Conservative politician and Ulster Unionist Enoch Powell (1912 - 1998) attends a Conservative Party Conference.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

On Racism

There are some who find it difficult to utter the ‘R’ word. Racism is a concept that has completely disappeared from the popular vernacular in relation to understanding differences in society. Greater concern is often placed on notions of values, or concerns in relation to certain community norms that are seen as antithetical to Britishness.…

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Top Ten in Turkey

There are many astonishing facets to life in Turkey. From its history to its culture, from its cuisine to the hospitality of its people. But there are all sorts of other dynamics of a vast society that can only be gleaned from living and working in the country. Having had a chance to reside in…

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A Question of Free Speech

The recent shootings in Texas raise to the fore the question of freedom of speech, the freedom to offend, the issues of tolerance and coexistence in society, and the need to find a balance between these competing interests. One of the problems of the debate is the polarity of opinion, as they emerge in light…

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Conflict and peace in the Middle East

Introduction The ideals of diversity, difference, the notion of a mosaic society, are all amiable, but in reality these terms mean nothing without equality, without which there is no peace. As soon as one tribe regards itself more prized than the other, it is the beginning of every conflict. This experience is as old as…

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Garland Shooting – some immediate thoughts

Garland, Texas, was the site of the shooting of two gunmen who opened fire at a ‘draw the Prophet Muhammad cartoon’ event this morning. Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Geertz Wilder, all key figures in the anti-Islam movement, were attending. It was hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The two gunmen whose identities have…

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The 2015 General Election Campaign That Never Was

The UK General Election is but a few weeks away. It is one of the most closely run elections in living memory, but the conclusions are all too clear. The changing nature of the electorate, the configuration of political ideologies that converge on the centre, a disaffected population who distrust their politicians, a media machinery…

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An open letter to my embattled Muslim professional colleagues in Britain

Dear Friends I am hearing from friends and colleagues in Britain that they are suffering the relentless strain of engaging in anti-racism and scholarly activities in fighting bigotry towards Muslims. It seems that the situation in Britain is certainly quite severe. It is totally understandable that so many academics, activists and politically-engaged people feel a…

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