Month: July 2014

Is the global chai shop out of currency?

Is the global chai shop out of currency?

I wrote this three days ago, at Jeddah Airport, waiting for the connecting flight to Chennai. Half awake and half asleep, I am conscious of the hundreds of people around me – possibly thousands, who are anxiously waiting to leave the Airport and reach their destination. I see a fleet of Saudi Arabian Aircraft waiting …

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“There are over 50 words for Love in Arabic language, while English has only 12” – Dr. Fatima Mernissi

“There are over 50 words for Love in Arabic language, while English has only 12” – Dr. Fatima Mernissi

Scholars and intellectuals form a community – no matter where they live; their learning and seeking of truth unites them in a bond that is hard to break. This was the philosophy that Ibn Battuta lived by, and I put this to test recently. True to my old habit, I tried to read up as …

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Lessons in Foreign Policy from Food Cart Vendors

Lessons in Foreign Policy from Food Cart Vendors

“Cairo, very good city. You go there?” queried the young Egyptian juice vendor, as I was attempting to buy a mixed berry juice, while waiting for my turn to enter the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Another food cart vendor, who was a Syrian pointed out the similarities in spices in India and the Arab …

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Music and the Mullahs – can the twain meet?

Music and the Mullahs – can the twain meet?

The debates about the use of music in Islamic practices specifically and music as entertainment are perhaps as old as Islam itself. These debates are not new reminds a scholar of Amnan Shiloah (1997). In the absence of clear injunctions about music in the Qur’an, secondary texts such as Hadith and other texts written by …

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Can democracy take root in the Arab world?

Can democracy take root in the Arab world?

As Syria burns, Iraq implodes and Tunisia and Libya struggle to democratize, one question remains central to framing discussions of participatory governance – Is democracy possible in the ‘Muslim world’? Is democracy an ‘internal wound,’ that has been left to fester for too long, within the Arab/Muslim world, as Moroccan scholar Fatima Mernissi argues? She …

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