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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

Iraq War retrospective: How does attacking Iraq solve the problem of terrorism? #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following post was written in late October 2002, after my earlier post about the Bali bombings, where I was still trying to work out just how the Iraq War would be related to terrorism. As the post makes clear, […]

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“The veil is on my face, not my mind” #Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Sometimes, Twitter’s forced succinctness produces the most insightful commentary: Almost fell over when a niqabi in Luxor told us she voted for Hamdeen Sabahi. “The veil is on my face, not my mind,” she said. #Egypt — Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) […]

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#Tahrir Square on #Jan25Two in pictures

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the one-year anniversary of the uprising in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, the heart of the Arab world and the pulse of the Arab Spring. Thousands and thousands of people are thronging the square. Below are some images from the […]

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the khutbah (sermon) of Yusuf al Qaradawi in Tahrir Square

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Dr. Yahya Michot, professor at Hartford Seminary with the collaboration of student Samy Metwally, has prepared a complete translation along with an introductory analysis of Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s khutbah (sermon) in Tahrir Square on February 18, 2011. Here is the […]

a No-Fly zone over Libya NOW

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via @SultanAlQassemi Al Jazeera breaking: Multiple reports confirm that military airplanes are bombing protesters in Tripoli. #Libya In President Obama’s Cairo speech, he said, Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of […]

VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT: Obama remarks on Egyptian revolution and Hosni Mubarak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Video is also at C-SPAN here. Scroll down for the transcript. Also see Democracy Arsenal on how well the President’s handling of the Egypt situation has been, overall. There are naysayers however like Daniel Larison and Joshua Trevino. Here is […]

(UPDATED) no-Mubarak Mabrook to Egypt after all! (and no more to Omar)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE 2 President Mubarak has indeed resigned! And he has handed power over not to Suleiman, but to the Army: Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has resigned from his post, handing over power to the armed forces. Omar Suleiman, the […]

Endgame in Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Far from dying down, the protests in Egypt have only grown – there’s a million marching upon Mubarak today: About 1,000,000 people have gathered for the planned “march of a million” in the Egyptian capital, calling for Hosni Mubarak, the […]

Democracy or Else: voting compulsory in Gujarat state

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s some irony in the recent news that in Gujarat state, that democracy will now be mandatory: All registered voters in Gujarat will be required to vote. Those absent will be asked to submit a valid reason with proof within […]

Abdullah runs off; Karzai certified

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Afghanistan residential challenger Abdullah Abdullah decided (correctly) over the weekend that the planned run-off election between him and incumbent President Karzai would be subject to the same abuses and lack of transparency as the original election, and thus withdrew his […]

CSID Ramadan Iftaar Dinner on Sept 16 featuring Seyyed Hossein Nasr

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I was forwarded the following general invitation from the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, for an iftaar dinner featuring Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr as the keynote speaker. Nasr is a true heavyweight scholar, originally from Iran, now […]

‘Twas the night before Ramadan, and all through Kabul… #afghan09

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

… the voters are stirring, and speaking their will. The word democracy refers to a process, not an outcome. The outcome in this case is largely known; President Hamid Karzai is projected to win easily, even if his main challenger […]

Karzai’s competition: Dr. Abdullah Abdullah

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the frustrating things about Afghanistan is that it’s such a mess that our expectations for the democratic process were quite low. It seemed a given that Karzai would cruise to re-election unopposed, and while that may not be […]

The Iranian crucible: Islam + Democracy = ?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Several thousand Iranians marched on Tehran University today in protest of the election, on the anniversary of a student protest in 1999: The demonstration is taking place on the 10th anniversary of a student uprising that, at the time, posed […]

The Green Revolution in Iran doesn’t need US political fertilizer

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama pointedly did not comment on US preferences for the Iranian election during his Cairo speech, and was careful not to make any official statement of suppoort for reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi over the weekend. Vice president Biden […]

May God watch over Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post from Fatemeh Fakhraie. (June 13th, 2009). In the U.S., several university commencements were held today. Outside my window, college graduates and their families are celebrating and looking forward to their futures. Iran is not celebrating […]

Iran votes for hope and change

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a historic day and potentially a turning point for the future of the Middle East – Iran is voting. If you want to play political junkie, stay tuned to Twitter, where you can follow #IranElection tweets out of […]

Pakistan’s constitutional Islamism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ali Eteraz has a lengthy, lucid article on the root of Pakistan’s problem – namely, that it’s 1973 constitution has made it an Islamist state rather than a democratic one. Eteraz provides a lengthy historical background and context for how […]

Ayman Nour released from prison in Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Excellent, if surprising, news for democracy and political reform in Egypt – dissident and one-time opposition party candidate for President against Hosni Mubarak, was released quite abruptly from prison yesterday: Mr. Nour, a charismatic political leader who challenged the governing […]

democracy promotion and liberal interventionism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Further to the debate at Talk Islam earlier, I think that it is critical that the broader foreign policy principle of democracy promotion not be discredited by the imperialism-lite of the neoconservative movement.Liberal interventionism is not a purely military effort, […]

Democracy, Jewishness, and Greater Israel: pick two

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The idea of the state of Israel is one I support wholeheartedly. A nation for the Jewish people, a homeland where they can engage in the same right of self-determination and chart their own destiny. However, this right and this […]

I Voted

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I cast my vote for Barack Obama in Wisconsin today. I am excited and proud, not just because I support Obama, but because the very act of voting – for McCain, Obama, or anyone else – is a reminder of […]

Previous Posts

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community
This happens almost every day in Pakistan - fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder fellow Muslims in cold blood. This time, the target wa

posted 8:22:26am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Proof denies faith
On Reddit, someone posted the following question: "What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?" I think this is precisely the wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly

posted 9:33:46am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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