Yay, I won an award. The Editorial Intelligence 2016 ‘Society and diversity’ comment award. (No, I am not quite sure, either, what ‘Society and diversity comment’ amounts to, but I am immensely pleased to have won it.) The Editorial Intelligence awards have grown over the past decade to become perhaps the most important journalistic comment awards in the UK. Other winners this year included Jonathan Freedland as ‘Commentariat of the Year’, Gary Younge for ‘Comment Piece of the Year’, Sam […]
The copyediting of the Afterword for the new edition of From Fatwa to Jihad is complete. It’s inching towards publication… In the meantime I am reposting here two videos about the original edition that I made for Faculti, a website that publishes videos of authors and academics talking about their work. The first film is a reading from the final section of From Fatwa to Jihad, the second an exploration of the themes and arguments of the book.
In the recent wonderful British Museum exhibition on the historical cultures of Sicily, the curators described 12th century Norman rule as a ‘Golden Age’ , an ‘Enlightened Kingdom’ in which the ‘coexistence of Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures created what was probably the most progressive court in Europe.’ From the perspective of the time, the relationship between different peoples in Norman Sicily, as in Moorish Iberia, was remarkably tolerant. There was, of course, nothing equal in the relationship between different peoples; […]
‘A strange fate befell Muhammad Ali in the 1990s’, Mike Marqusee writes in Redemption Song, his wonderful, illuminating study of ‘Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties’. ‘The man who had defied the American establishment was taken into its bosom. There he was lavished with an affection which had been strikingly absent thirty years before, when for several years he reigned unchallenged as the most reviled figure in the history of American sports.’ The global outpouring of grief, affection […]
This essay on Sadiq Khan’s London Mayoral victory, Trevor Philips’new pamphlet on diversity and the public discourse on Islam was published in the Observer, under the headline ‘Muslims are not a ‘different’ class of Briton: we’re as messy as the rest’. ‘It shows it is possible to be Muslim and a Westerner. Western values are compatible with Islam.’ So said Sadiq Khan after his victory as London mayor. Trevor Phillips, former chief of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, takes […]
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation has published a fascinating poll on attitudes to religion and politics in five North African countries (Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco). It reveals wide differences between the countries in political and religious attitudes – Tunisia being by far the least religious and most liberal, and Libya the most religious and conservative. There are also some depressingly familiar commonalities – particularly conspiracy theories about the creation Daech/IS. Tunisia is, of course, the only democracy among these states, […]
This is a transcript of my talk at the Castrum Peregrini in Amsterdam on 2 May. (Apologies for the lack of links and references; I will sort them out in due course when I have more time.) ‘Can Europe be the same with different people in it?’ So asked the American writer Christopher Caldwell in his book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, published a few years ago. It is a question that has been asked with increasing urgency in […]
Categories: Free Speech, Multiculturalism • Tags: anti-semitism, christianity, clash of civilizations, diversity, europe, identity politics, immigration, integration, islam, judeo-christian tradition, karim miske, migration crisis, racism, trevor phillips
I took part last month in a discussion about ‘Contemporary Understandings of Radicalization’ at King’s College, London. Organised by the King’s College War Studies Society and the Remote Control Project, the other speakers were Shiraz Maher and Claire Lauterbach of Privacy International. Here is my introduction. One of the problems with discussing the concept of radicalization is that it can mean all things to all people. In one sense it simply means ‘the process by which terrorists become terrorists’. But, radicalization, […]
This Wednesday, Channel 4 in Britain will broadcast a Trevor Phillips documentary on ‘What British Muslims really think’. On Sunday, the Sunday Times published details of an ICM poll about Muslim attitudes commissioned for the programme and ran an essay by Phillips on Muslim integration. The headlines generated by the poll – ‘Half of British Muslims want gay sex banned says poll’; ‘Most Muslims would not give terror tip-offs’, etc – and Phillip’s argument (‘the integration of Muslims will probably […]
An excerpt from my latest column for the International New York Times on why ‘radicalization’ is a flawed concept. It was published under the headline ‘The Little We Know About the Jihadists in Our Midst’. The evidence suggests that the concept is flawed and that such anti-jihadist measures are ineffective, even counterproductive. A secret British government memorandum leaked in 2010 dismissed the idea that there was ‘a linear ‘conveyor belt’ moving from grievance, through radicalization, to violence’. A 2010 American […]
‘Solidarity and anger. Those were my immediate emotions’. So I wrote last November after the Paris attacks: ‘Solidarity with the people of Paris, anger at the depraved, nihilistic savagery of the terrorists.’ My emotions are much the same after the savage attacks in Brussels this week. ‘But, beyond solidarity and anger,’, I observed in November, ‘we need also analysis.’ I have written much over the past few years about why conventional views about radicalization and the making of European jihadis […]
I recently gave an interview to Bread and Roses, the TV magazine hosted by Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya, on Europe’s migration crisis, Muslim immigration, the open borders debate and the question of profiling. (The interview begins about 7 minutes in). There were a few errors in what I said, so before anyone else points them out, let me do so myself: The EU-Libya migration deal was concluded in 2010; the new EU-Turkey deal proposes that all irregular migrants crossing from Turkey […]
A new edition of my book From Fatwa to Jihad will be published next year, for which I am writing an Afterword to bring the story up to date. So, it seemed a good time to repost two videos I made about the current book for Faculti, a website that publishes videos of authors and academics talking about their work. The first film is a reading from the final section of From Fatwa to Jihad, the second an exploration of the […]
It is seven years since From Fatwa to Jihad was first published. The themes at the heart of the book – Islam, multiculturalism, free speech – are even more relevant now than they were in 2009. And in those seven years much has happened – from the emergence of IS to the ‘no platform’ debates, from the Charlie Hebdo killings to the migration crisis – that has pushed the debate on. So, next year there will be a new edition […]
Last year I gave a talk at the Oslo Freedom Forum on free speech and self-censorship. I also gave an interview to Google Ideas. It has now been published as part of a series of Google Ideas interviews from the Oslo Freedom Forum called Censored. Here is the original speech I gave, followed by the Google Ideas interview. . .