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Women, democracy and dictatorship

The electoral success of Islamic parties in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, has raised worries about policy and legislation on family and gender issues, this despite re-assuring noises from leading figures. Earlier electoral successes of Islamists in Iraq had brought about a disorderly mix of family policies and rule of disparate religious authorities, accompanied by much […]

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Living in a topsy-turvy world

It really is a sign of just how skewed our priorities are when a couple of Twitter postings about the Prophet (PBUH) cause more of a stir than the killing of innocent people. Or, as a friend of mine Tweeted “killing an innocent in the name of my religion is 1000 times more offensive than […]

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Imam Hussein’s views on oil refining

And then Hussein (AS) said to the usurper Yazeed: “the righteous demand that we turn the riches of this land into higher value export commodities by refining the crude into gasoline, fuels oils and distillates. Your continued insistence on the production of lead based petrol has destroyed the Ummah of my grandfather. Today, we make a stand in […]

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The Iron Lady and Architects of the Future

Yesterday the Evelyn Grace Academy, a school in Brixton, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects was awarded the Stirling Prize, which, (according to the BBC at least) is the most prestigious UK award in architecture. It was the second year running that Zaha’s firm had won the prize, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects, […]

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the brain softer.

I have had a writer’s block that stretches back months, and have not blogged despite the largest upheaval in decades in the Middle East, riots in the UK, and the momentous return of King Kenny to his helm. But I am back now. Unfortunately, since I last wrote, London has lost what I like to think […]

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Miracle in the Marshes of Iraq

A tear-jerking documentary about the marshes of Iraq and one man’s crusade to undo decades of injustice. Highly recommend all to watch. The four-part documentary is available on YouTube. To become a member of Nature Iraq, the organisation spearheading the effort to restore the marshes to its former glory, click here.

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How would you like Iraqi culture to change?

Pretty much everyone I speak to about this feels that there one thing or another about Iraqi culture that could do with change. However, specifics tend to be sparse. There are a number of possible reasons for this – it’s not always the time and place to discuss potentially sensitive issues (the adage about not […]

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Hijab is Sexist and Degrading

After thinking about this for a long time, I have come to terms with the idea that hijab is sexist and degrading. In fact, it should have died a well-deserved death in the 20th century, along with other forms of dehumanising objectification. Hijab and the subjugation that it symbolises is rooted in the male domination […]

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Film Review: Son of Babylon

It tends to be frustratingly hard to describe pre-2003 Iraq to non-Iraqis as my portrayal always seems inadequate. The lived and shared experience relayed through friends and family over the years is rich in absurdity, suffering and sorrow but I struggle to put all this into words. So I felt a good deal of gratitude […]

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Revenge of the ruminants

“It was definitely not a moo.” I asserted “Oh it certainly was a moo.” My wife replied “So now I’ve transformed into farmyard animal or something?” I asked, growing slightly irritated. I got up, feeling not exactly a hundred percent with a certain heaviness in my chest.  On my way down, I surmised that it […]

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