What Academic Freedom in Turkey

In January 2016, the group called Academics for Peace issued a petition. It is an initiative run predominantly by intellectuals in Turkey concerned with the need to prevent further conflict in south-east Turkey, supporting the return to a peace process as soon as possible. This particular petition, however, dubbed ‘we will not be party to this […]

What future now?

Waking up on a Saturday morning, there is always the experience of getting up early, sinking a strong coffee with breakfast and open-endedly reading the pages of news stories while thinking through how to best utilise the weekend. The themes of Brexit, Europe, the upcoming UK General Election and the recent local elections fill many […]

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 […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]