Opinion

So, which religion is right?

Eighty-four percent of the world’s population (5.8 billion out of 6.9 billion in 2010) are affiliated to one religion in some form. Seventy-seven percent identify themselves as a member of one of the five widely recognised world religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. With over 4,300 religions spanning the Earth, how can people be […]

Not much wisdom

There’s this idea that even if you’re not a believer and you don’t see Holy Books as divinely dictated, still they’re a good source of wisdom. I’m not convinced of that. There’s a lot of gorgeous language in the King James translation of the Bible, to be sure, and some of the remarks attributed to […]

Marginalising religious minorities harms society

Between a rock and a jihad place If a secular and pluralistic society wishes to function well, it must not disadvantage religious minorities. Indeed, it is critical – whether you are a doctor, a school teacher or the head of the BBC’s religious programming – that your cultural and religious background does not handicap you. […]

Fuck modesty for International Women’s Day on March 8!

Wherever Islamism gains power and influence, it comes for women first. And it’s always a sign of worse to come, hence the saying: ‘the freedom of society is measured by the freedom of women.’ Islamism but also the Christian-Right, Buddhist-Right,  Jewish-Right,  Hindu-Right, Sikh-Right … have turned misogyny into an art form. They police women’s behaviour […]

Doors slamming shut in the US

Trump’s war on free everything is raging right along over here. (I apologize for his manners toward Theresa May. He just doesn’t know how to act. That hand-holding thing was gruesome, and we’re all embarrassed about it.) He attacks the free press nearly every day; he attacks freedom to protest, freedom from forced pregnancy, freedom […]

O Hitchens, where art thou?

Bill Maher’s lazy comparison between Milo Yiannopoulos and Christopher Hitchens shows just how much we need ‘the Hitch’. Donald Trump performs the astonishing feat of “covering 90% of his head with 30% of his hair”, and Hillary Clinton is “hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security.” These are the […]

Common humanity should be at the core of our politics

I was born in Iran; I am a migrant, a refugee. But I am not the “authentic other” that xenophobes love to hate nor am I the “authentic Muslim” promoted by the Islamists. To me, they are two sides of the same coin. In this day and age, migrant or “Muslim” very often automatically equals […]

A Clash of the Uncivilised

Trump, Muslim Profiling and the Far-Right’s Assault Donald Trump’s suspension of new refugee admissions for 120 days and the barring of nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days (likely to be extended) is fundamentally about a far-right restructuring of US society under the guise of ‘stopping terrorism’ and defending […]

‘Keep your mouth shut!’

On Wednesday The New York Times talked to Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, above, formerly executive chair of the far-right website Breitbart News. What Bannon had to say is startling. “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Mr. Bannon said during […]

Playing the part

I heard someone on National Public Radio yesterday remark that we’re all obsessing over politics these days. Hmm … not exactly, I thought. We’re all obsessing over Trump, much as one might obsess over an approaching train if one were nailed to the tracks, but that’s not necessarily politics, at least not as commonly understood. […]