Islam

Disciples of John the Baptist also flee ISIS

"Going  back home? That would be suicide. The Islamists would cut our throats straight away," says Khalil Hafif Ismam. The fear of this Mandaean refugee sums up that of one of the oldest yet most decimated communities in Mesopotamia.

OPINION: The Irresistible Attraction of Radical Islam

The Oct. 23 attack on the Canadian Parliament building by a Canadian who had converted to Islam just a month earlier should create some interest in why an increasing number of young people are willing to sacrifice their lives for a radical view of Islam. 

OPINION: Rivalry Between Sunnis and Shiites Has Deep Roots

When  the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suddenly emerged in Iraq, it declared as one of its first targets the Shiites and what it called the Safavids. The Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) was one of the most powerful Iranian dynasties after the Islamic conquest. 

OPINION: The West Prefers Military Order Against History

More senseless bombing of Muslims, more defeats for the United States-West, more ISIS-type movements, more West-Islam polarisation. Any way out?

OPINION: Al Baghdadi and the Doctrine Behind the Name

When Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarrai adopted the name of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Quraishi and revealed himself to the world as the Amir al-Mu’minin (the Commander of the Faithful) Caliph Ibrahim of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the whole world had to sit up and take notice of him. 

OPINION: How Obama Should Counter ISIS

President Obama’s speech at the United Nations on Sep. 23 offered a rhetorically eloquent roadmap on how to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

OPINION: ISIS Appeals to a Longing for the Caliphate

When, all of a sudden, ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) emerged on the scene and in a matter of days occupied large swathes of mainly Sunni-inhabited parts of Iraq and Syria, including Iraq’s second city Mosul and Tikrit, birthplace of Saddam Hussein, and called itself the Islamic State, many people, not least Western politicians and intelligence services, were taken by surprise.

OPINION: Sleepwalking Towards Nuclear War

New military measures to deter what NATO perceives to be a direct threat from Russia were adopted at the alliance’s Heads of State meeting in Wales (Sep. 4-5). A few days earlier, President Barack Obama made promises in Estonia that the three tiny Baltic NATO member states would “never stand alone”. 

FILM: From Hamas Royalty to Israel’s Spy

The son of one of the founders of the biggest Palestinian militant group decides to work with Israel. He spends a decade working undercover with the Israeli security service, the Shin Bet, thwarting dozens of Palestinian attacks and contributing significantly to the arrest or elimination of dozens of leading Palestinian militants.

OPINION: A New European Foreign Policy in an Age of Anxiety

The appointment of Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini as the new European Union foreign policy chief offers the opportunity for an overhaul of EU foreign and security policy.

Jordan’s LGBT Community Fears Greater Intolerance

As the region is rocked by violence against a backdrop of the rise of radical groups, Jordan’s lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community fears that new instability in the Hashemite kingdom could lead to increased intolerance towards the community. 

Egypt’s Poor Easy Victims of Quack Medicine

Magda Ibrahim first learnt that she had endometrial cancer when she went to a clinic to diagnose recurring bladder pain and an abnormal menstrual discharge. Unable to afford the recommended hospital treatment, the uninsured 53-year-old widow turned to what she hoped would be a quicker and cheaper therapy.

Time to “Drop the Knife” for FMG in The Gambia

Women’s rights activists in the Gambia are insisting that more than 30 years of campaigning to raise awareness should be sufficient to move the government to outlaw female genital mutilation (FMG).

Atheists, the “Ultimate Other” in Turkey

"Being an atheist isn't something you can easily express in Turkey,” says Sinem Köroğlu, a member of the Atheism Association, the first official organisation for atheists in the country. “It's becoming more difficult with the current government as well,” she adds.

From Religious Conflict to an Interfaith Community

Holy men and their holy books have etched a trail of tears and blood in the annals of human history. From the depths of peaceful temples, mobs have been dispatched with flaming torches; from steeples and minarets messages of hatred have floated down upon pious heads bent in prayer. For too long religion has incited violence and fueled conflict.

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