I applaud Trump for inspiring such great progressive moments in the US

Post 9/11, the world became a very different place. However, no one could have predicted how the heinous acts of a few deranged individuals that September day in 2001 would affect the lives of more than a billion Muslims across the globe. On their part, Muslim Americans were naturally traumatised to witness the sudden thoughtless rise in islamophobia and hatred towards their community. So they internalised their fears and saw merit in distancing themselves from all national socio-political discourses. Barack Obama’s progressive policies did bring some relief for Muslim Americans. Unfortunately, his sincere efforts at instilling confidence within the marginalised Muslim ...

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The world must not allow the situation in Yemen to fester anymore

The Middle East has had a tumultuous history and the region’s politics have been anything but composed and calm. There are many fault lines that run through the geographic, social and ethnic divisions, and as a result, conflict and turmoil have never been too far from taking centre stage. The latest conflict to erupt in these volatile climes has been the civil war in Yemen which has been raging for the last two years. Yemen is one of the poorest and most backward countries in the Arabian Peninsula, yet it is also very strategically located. This makes it a fertile ground for various interests to ...

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Destroying Jinnah’s house will not undo the Partition, Mangal Lodha

The sordid saga of ultra-nationalism unfolding in the subcontinent took a new twist this week. The Times of India reports that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, demanded that Jinnah’s house in Mumbai be demolished and replaced by a centre representing Maharashtra’s culture.  Jinnah’s residence is a mansion in the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai where Mohammad Ali Jinnah resided following his return to India from England in 1936. It continued to be his primary residence till 1944, following which he started transitioning to the Flagstaff House in Karachi where he moved permanently after Partition. Before anything else, let’s dispense one clarification: jingoism ...

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Why Turkey’s referendum is important

Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries of the world. Besides physical beauty of its architectural heritage and breath-taking landscapes, Turkey also captures the imagination because it is a crossroad of Asia and Europe, and consequently a lovely mix between tradition and modernisation. But what makes Turkey truly fascinating for me is that since the 1920s, it has been a secular as well as a moderate Muslim majority country. Whenever someone wants to prove that a Muslim country can be secular and moderate, they use Turkey as their example.  Turkey was cited by Reza Aslan as an example to counter ...

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How to get away with murder in India? Blame a man for eating beef

A year and half after the horrific Dadri incident, Hindu vigilantes continue to “cry beef” and hunt for Mohammad Akhlaqs. The manager of a Jaipur hotel faced a similar hungry mob on Sunday night (March 19) that stormed the place over rumours of serving beef. According to a report in The Indian Express, the owner of Hotel Hayat Rabbani, Naeem Rabbani, has alleged that after taking his manager into custody, police brought him back among the cow vigilantes “to calm them down”. He was also slapped around and manhandled in police presence. Rabbani, who held a press conference with his staff a ...

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Why would India elect Yogi Adityanath as CM of Uttar Pradesh?

Is the expanding dominance of Narendra Modi on a national political landscape a reassuring sign for India as a nation? Can we, Indians, rest assured that the country is in the hands of an enlightened leadership who will strengthen the idea of India? The answer is a big no. Despite the electoral dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi’s overarching presence in Indian politics today, the plural democracy has never looked as vulnerable in independent India as it looks today. How will one explain the anointment of Yogi Adityanath, a rabid sectarian figure, as the chief minister (CM) of Uttar ...

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Thank you, Modi, for proving that partition saved the subcontinent’s Muslims from extinction

Dear Mr Narendra Modi, I was not at all surprised that your party, Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP), swept the recent Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections. You ran your campaign on an anti-Muslim platform, you convinced most of the UP Hindus that Muslims in their state are Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents and that Muslims would not vote for your party, therefore they voted en masse for BJP. In fact, to appear anti-Muslim, you did not field a single Muslim candidate despite the notion that there are more than 40 million Muslims in UP! So, in spite of the Muslim population of UP being over 20% of the total population, the ...

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Calling leaders in Western Europe remnants of Nazism will not gain Erdogan any friends

A unique diplomatic war is stirring between two prominent players in the European arena, the Dutch and the Turks. The drama started when the Dutch denied entry to two prominent members of the Turkish cabinet into their country. These members were to address the Turkish expatriates in the Netherlands over the upcoming referendum citing security concerns. The two sides do not appear to be interested in toning down the rhetoric or working towards normalcy. Turkish strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan upped the ante with the following remarks: “I have said that I had thought Nazism was over, but that I ...

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The Modi brand is here to stay

The man is bigger than his party. This is the crux of the results of five assembly elections in India, especially the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) that sends 80 MPs to Parliament. After these polls, there is no denying that Narendra Modi’s popularity overshadows not only the opposition but also his own party, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). There was similar support for our first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, as was there for his daughter Indira Gandhi during her regime. Modi is no Nehru and is also quite different from Indira; the background of the ‘chaiwala’ has ...

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Trump’s past, just like the Baku hotel deal, will keep haunting him

Donald Trump has taken the US by storm; given a whole new meaning to the word ‘lie’; upped the deceit and trickery standards, raised the immorality bar, trashed government institutions and functionaries and consistently put to shame the entire country that he’s supposedly the leader of. Thus, it is hardly a matter of surprise when the press comes out with a news story or a scandal that involves him or his associates. To be honest, the day I received an email alert from The New Yorker regarding Adam Davidson’s ‘Donald Trump’s Worst Deal’, I simply pushed the delete button and moved on with my day. You can ...

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