Stories about middle east

Why is it acceptable for Indian companies to abuse Indian migrants in the Middle East?

In the southern coastal belt of India and the Malabar side, there has been an obsession among youngsters to flock to the Middle East for a better livelihood. The trend embarked in the late 60s, as a result of the oil boom in most parts of the Arab gulf region. With a shortage of labour force at home, the requirement for semi-skilled and highly-skilled labour from third world countries elevated and thus began the influx of thousands of workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Initially, in the early 70s, Kuwait and Bahrain attracted huge labour force as massive oil extraction ...

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Is atheism rampant in the Middle East?

Just recently Ahmed Harqan, an Egyptian human rights activist, stunned television audiences all over Egypt and rest of the Arab Middle East, by claiming his non-belief in the existence of God and his profound disdain to religious scriptures and ideology. Following this astonishing revelation, a raging debate sparked all over the Middle East, since religion has been the most sacred form of thought in these parts of the world. It was very uncommon to discuss faith and scriptures, as it was considered blasphemous to question the doctrines of religion, and was even punishable legally. But over the last few years, things have taken ...

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I never fully believed that British Muslims were being victimised, but then I was stopped at Heathrow

I have always been aware of the injustices British Muslims face, but I have sometimes doubted the narrative of the “Muslim victim”. Why is it such a big deal if you are singled-out every now and then because of your appearance? If you have nothing to hide, there should be no problem – just cooperate, surely? Security officers would never apply a blanket stop and search; they only stop potential criminals with good reason, right? Wrong. Just over a month ago, I was about to arrive at border control at London Heathrow, having flown in from Dubai. Suddenly, I was pulled aside and ...

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Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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The greater evil, Western hypocrisy or the ISIS?

“Third teenager has been caught trying to flee Australia to join Islamic State” – Daily Mail, UK Are they crazy? Insane? Traumatised? Or hypnotised? Who can think of leaving behind the luxurious life of western countries, including Scandinavia, and end up in a region where even getting a continuous supply of electricity is a rarity, where the western concept of freedom completely seizes to exist, and you simply do not know whether the next bomb hitting the ground will turn your surroundings into a pile of rubble. How on earth can somebody think of leaving Australia for countries such as Syria and Iraq, which are ISIS ...

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Mr Nawaz Sharif, the Saudi-Yemeni conflict is not our war to fight

As the Houthi rebels strengthen their stranglehold over the country, amid the surreptitious flight of the Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the long raging civil war in Yemen has finally come into the international spotlight. Pakistan is, once again, at crossroads with Saudi Arabia, who is attempting to suck in inter-ethnic, inter-religious, and intra-sectarian conflicts into their black hole. The prospects of petro-dollars coupled with the longstanding romance between the Sharifs and Sauds, buoyed by a rise of the Pakistan Army as a bulwark against both domestic as well as international terrorism, in recent times, might have made the temptation of joining the Saudi alliance irresistible, but it is an alliance ...

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Ashraf Ghani – Bringing maturity back to international politics

Although no one will claim honestly, the new Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, for the most part, is a well-respected statesman amongst the Washington circles. Politicians are trained liars and Ghani’s predecessor was no exception to the rule. However, this guy is someone who comes across as less slippery, more adaptable to change and hence generally acceptable for his demeanours and policies. Earlier this week, Ghani was on his first official US visit as Afghanistan’s head of state. He is no alien to either US culture or politics. He studied, worked and played a prominent part in influencing Washington’s pre and post 9/11 Afghan policies. I ...

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On Frida Deguise ‘nuding’ her fashion line

Being happy in one’s skin is not an easy task. Being happy in one’s clothing is an almost impossible adventure. I have been told that the greatest form of happiness is to be one’s true and natural self. This is not a universal truth that I am preaching but merely a life lesson and something to live by. My good friend, Pramit, a leading journalist, and I were once working on a project together. It so happened that we were both invited for a breakfast meeting at the White House, a key location in our little town of intrigues and ...

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Why is PML-N allowing foreign funding for Pakistani madrassas?

Funding for religious seminaries in Pakistan has always been a difficult topic to cover. For one, most seminaries are unregistered, making it difficult to deduce the exact source of their funding. Even when seminaries are registered, questioning the source of funding remains a no-go area because of the sensitive topic of religion. Being the country’s largest province by population, the presence of a large number of religious seminaries in Punjab, both registered and unregistered, is natural. Eyebrows have always been raised when it comes to the influence of religious seminaries based in the province, but the source of funding received by ...

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King Salman: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

I was sitting at a Washington café when the news of the late Saudi monarch Abdullah’s passing broke. This café is one of the favourite hangout locations of Middle Eastern and Persian origin men and women of letters and those from the corps diplomatique. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been no admirer of the Saudi Kingdom. Other than the fact that for years I’ve personally vociferously raised my voice against the Kingdom’s horrendous human rights record as well as its fallacious policies toward other regional states, both Muslim and otherwise. I hardly ever paid attention to the fact that King Abdullah was ...

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