Category: Middle East

  • Ibn Battuta, Malcolm X and the tradition of student travelers in Islam

    Rihla, or traveling to seek knowledge is an Islamic tradition, whose roots extend as far as the Prophet Muhammad himself, who prioritized learning and knowledge. His famous Hadith “Learning is from the cradle to grave” has inspired billions of people to travel, seek knowledge, over the last 1400 years of Islamic history. This tradition of…

  • Egypt and the Challenge of Islam in the Public Sphere

    “Know that you can have three sorts of relations with princes, governors and oppressors. The first and worst is that you visit them, the second and better is that they visit you, and the third and surest that you stay far from them, so that neither you see them nor they see you.” – Abu…

  • A Life of Reinvention – Malcolm X: Book review

      Is America a ‘melting pot’ today? Has Martin Luther King’s dream of a post-racial society come true? Or are we still closer to the America that Malcom X saw, one that is segregated, racist and inherently unequal? While the answers to these are not simple and certainly not easy, looking closely at the inequality…

  • Religion in the Public Sphere – Good, Bad or Ugly?

      With Christmas, ‘War on Christmas’ and ‘Creeping Shariah’ dominating our headlines, it looks like religion is making a comeback in  public discourse. Unfortunately, it seems to be for the wrong reasons – barring the Pope’s recent gestures of reconciliation with homosexuals and other minorities. But that doesn’t stop his critics from painting him as…

  • New Year Resolution: Top 12 books for Charity and Philanthropy

    New Year Resolution: Top 12 books for Charity and Philanthropy

    Keeping up the tradition of recommending books to read in the upcoming New Year, here is my list of top twelve books for 2014– all focused on Charity and Philanthropy. For starters, the two words don’t mean the same. Hopefully, by the time you are done with the 12 books, you will know the difference.…

  • Book Review: Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an by Denise A. Spellberg

    Book Review: Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an by Denise A. Spellberg

    If the only thing you learn from this book is that the founding fathers had the wisdom to use Islam as a test case, to set the limits of tolerance in America, then that’d be sufficient. Denise Spellberg: Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an is a well-researched book, that locates the debates during the time (and before) Jefferson…

  • Are the Saudis getting something right?

    Are the Saudis getting something right, in terms of their foreign policy, both in the MENA region and around the world? Or is it all a big mess, much like American foreign policy in the region? In a recent article in the TIME magazine, Farid Zakaria[i] pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s foreign…

  • How to overcome cultural barriers to philanthropy?

    Doing good is not easy. In today’s globalized world, where different values, norms, cultural attitudes towards life are coming together and interacting there is bound to be friction, misunderstanding when it comes to what it means to do good, and the intentionality of the acts themselves. In the field of philanthropy, this is markedly so,…

  • Khalil Gibran on Giving

    Giving chapter V , from “The Prophet,” Khalil Gibran Then said a rich man, “Speak to us of Giving.” And he answered: You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for…

  • My experience as a dictator

    I was a dictator for half a day during a simulation in a Public Administration and Democracy course I took at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where I was finishing up my MPA in 2010. I volunteered to be the General of a fictitious state, ‘Kush,’ which is landlocked between the mongrelized…

Twitter
LinkedIn