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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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, […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]