Tag: USA

  • Top ten books I read this year

    I read a lot of books this year. Like a LOT. Part of the reason is that I am preparing for my prelim exams (part of the PhD process) where you prove to your committee that you know your stuff. Additionally, I presented a few papers at a few conferences, many of them outside my […]

  • Why you should be Skeptical of Media Pundits’ Commentary

    Are the pundits (or experts) on TV actually making us more ignorant? I am starting to wonder if all this explosion of ‘experts’ around us is really helping us understand the complex issues in front of us, or are they ‘dumbing down’ things, in order to reach us, and in essence not really helping us […]

  • How to write about Islam?

    Amidst all the noise about the end of the world scenarios being portrayed as a result of ISIS conquest of parts of Iraq and Syria and equally banal assertions that Islam is somehow inherently violent, and needs ‘reformation’, the common man out there is left confused. As someone studying Islam in America, I am at […]

  • Two models of Community Engagement – Co-optation or Exclusion?

    Hamza Yusuf is arguably the most well-known American Muslim (after Muhammad Ali- the former heavyweight boxing champion) alive. As a spiritual leader, his influence goes beyond the Muslim community to the White House, and the Obama administration. He enjoys wide influence (and receives some criticism) but overall, he is a respected man, who is seen […]

  • 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 […]

  • What the Religious Right in America can teach us about Pluralism

    Religion in the public sphere has not always been problematic, as American history demonstrates. Clergy have taken both the ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ positions when it comes to issues such as civil rights, anti-war protests etc. This is seen as in the 1960s, when the clergy lead demonstrations for civil rights while in the 1980s they […]

  • Which History Should We Remember?

    Anwar Congo comes across as a fairly normal man – Until he starts to describe his sadistic ways of killing innocent people. He is the protagonist of an Oscar nominated documentary The Act of Killing, a film making, for depicting the 1965 Indonesian purge of Communists. An estimated one million people were killed during that […]

  • What is ‘Big data’ and does it tell us anything?

      Consider this: almost every important story these days is accompanied by a chart, an info graphic or a detailed econometric analysis that even the creators of the graphic don’t fully understand. It is filled with ‘Big data’, the buzz word these days. So, what is ‘Big data’ and why are we so obsessed with […]

  • Is there a ‘God Problem’ in the West?

    Is there a ‘God Problem’ in Western societies? Given the rise of the atheist movement, best exemplified by people such as Christopher Hitchens, Daniel C. Dennett, Richard Dawkins and other famous celebrities who make a living dissing religion; the question is: Do they have a point when they say that religion makes no sense and […]

  • A New Year Wish – Charity and Justice for all

    It is that time of the year when everyone is reaching out to everyone else, to seek support for their causes. Financial support, in-kind support, volunteer time, all of it is kosher. If you work in the nonprofit sector, you’d know. There are many things that are wrong with our world and activists, religious leaders, […]

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