manal.shakir

Manal Shakir

A freelance journalist in Chicago, IL who tweets @ManalShakir1

Politicising homosexuality: A make or break for US presidents

The president of the United States, dispelled all doubt his democratic supporters or republican opposition had earlier this month when he spoke in support of gay marriage in a televised interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News.  The announcement comes at a sensitive time as this is election year and gay rights, union, and marriage have always been a sensitive political subject for those on the Hill and all citizens of the United States. Although the first amendment of the American Constitution’s Bill of Rights includes the freedom of association, laws for and ...

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The problem with owning large media corporations

When talking about journalists, some may describe a journalist as always having news in his/her blood. However, when describing a media mogul like Rupert Murdoch, one may say owning news was always in his blood. Inheriting a media company from his father, Murdoch went one step further and sought to build himself an empire quickly. Buying the News of the World, The Sun, The Times, etc, Murdoch then decided to create News Corporation,  News Corp, which is the second largest media corporation in the world today, located in New York. News Corp was established as a holding company – a company that does not have a direct ...

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Who is the real enemy in Afghanistan?

In 11 years of warfare, Kabul has never seen a Taliban offensive such as this; government buildings, foreign embassies, NATO offices and bases were continuously attacked for two days by coordinated rocket and gun attacks around the country. Deeming the violence as a ‘spring offensive’, it is disheartening to see that 11 years of war and devastation have not had the result some may have hoped for, and also raises questions as to who the ‘real enemy’ is, and whether the ‘enemy’ can be pinpointed to being one group or individual. It also raises the question as to how many different perspectives ...

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Afghan shooting rampage: When the solution became the problem

When it comes to international relations, it is usually wise to step forward with the right foot. If you have someone representing you in another country, you want to ensure that that person represents you in the best possible way and shows your culture, values, and traditions in the most positive light. This is how people come to learn, appreciate, and admire the ones who hail from other countries. So when it comes to the armed forces, are the criteria different? Must a soldier have a history of aggression to become a better soldier? Does a soldier have to be ...

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Iran, laughing in the face of nuclear disaster

Iran has launched a four day military exercise to show its strength in the wake of rising tensions with the international community and possible military action against them. Getting into gear, their Revolutionary Guards as well as their ground troops and air defenses, Iran is ready for anything. Coinciding with the show of strength is a two day UN inspectors’ visit to Iran, the second visit this month. Led by Herman Nackaerts, the team hopes to achieve access to Parchin military base, as well as talk to question Iran’s nuclear scientist. The inspectors, however, will not be visiting any nuclear ...

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Captain atom and the indulgence of war games

The latest news to come out of the Iran-United States stand-off is a deafening statement from the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, that there is an increasing possibility that Israel will pre-empt an attack from Iran in the spring of 2012. Come April, Panetta can see a ready of arms from the United State’s most important ally in the Middle East. Reiterating Panetta’s stance was Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the time to stop Iran’s attempts at producing nuclear weapons was running out. Israel’s military chief said that Iran could produce its first nuclear bomb within one year of planning, since they had enriched ...

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Does the American Muslim vote count in 2012?

During President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he was hopeful and positive; his speech, like most of his speeches, ignited a fire amongst those watching. One felt a sense of pride and hope as he spoke about the state of the country and his future plans. And while he addressed all areas he could, he may have missed out on a group. President Obama mentioned the Hispanic/Latino population in the country and the African American population; he also extended strengthened support to the United State’s biggest ally in the Middle East, Israel. And while I understand that the president cannot ...

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Iran and the oil embargo

When it comes to the face off between the United States and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program, there are signs that things could escalate into something that neither country will be able to handle. Is it wise to challenge one another at a time like this and threaten each other’s security and resources? Global powers are not what they once used to be. Is this stand-off supposed to result in something, or is it an indication that we cannot stop playing games with one another? Recently, the European Union finally approved an oil embargo on Iran, which prohibits any EU member ...

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Don’t put a label on it

Islamic centre or mosque? Obama, Muslim or Christian? Flood aid, Indian or not? Why exactly does it matter? In the twenty-first century, labels still define us and somehow they seem to be more important than the ‘bigger picture’. As individual groups, Muslims and Pakistanis have allowed labels to divide themselves, creating disunity which allows for instability. In the case of Pakistanis, a society that acts so quickly and effectively to help fellow citizens in a time of crisis, it doesn’t make sense that Pakistanis would let labels divide themselves to the extent that they have. Pakistanis have a multi-layered and faceted society, and ...

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To veil or not to veil

First it was Egypt to take action against the veil, after a top cleric announced that the face veil was to be banned in certain educational institutions in Egypt; then France followed suit, down-right banning the face veil for security reasons; and then Syria in toe, banned the face veil in universities and educational facilities because parents of university students do not want their children to be educated in an ‘environment of extremism’. And to add to the list, certain European countries are now debating whether they should give in to the face veil ban, or allow citizen’s their ...

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