• Muslim in America: Identity and Isolation

    An early morning flight to D.C., day-long conference and empty cityscape drained me of energy. Exhausted, I stepped out of my nondescript hotel into the street and felt a heavy air pregnant with moisture.  Heading down the sidewalk to find dinner, I came across the shadow of a man who had the unmistakable gait of […]

  • Pakistan at the Precipice

    To watch my country of birth unravel has been a curious thing. As the Taliban continues to sweep across vast swaths of northern Pakistan, American pundits and officials ask incredulously, “How can their government let this happen?  How can their people let this happen?”  The United States looks on anxiously like a jolted passerby watching […]

  • Israel’s Elections: Another “Hamastan”?

    Many observers describe Israel’s political system as dysfunctional because its latest elections have likely produced a government hostile to the peace process.  These observers forget that Israeli voters themselves may have no interest in the peace process.  Otherwise, why the largest votes went to the three candidates who most stridently brandished their anti-Arab credentials? No […]

  • A Muslim’s Memo to Obama: Words Cannot Camouflage Cluster Bombs

    Liberals swooning over President Barack Obama’s recent speechmaking are also much impressed by his rhetorical overtures to Arabs and Muslims, first articulated during his inaugural address and reiterated on a major Arabic-language news channel. The sharp divergence in tone and tenor from Bush’s rhetoric is certainly welcome after eight years of hubris and arrogance. Quoting […]

  • “Just the Facts”: Interview with Norman G. Finkelstein

    Norman Finkelstein is one of the world’s most outspoken and tenacious scholars on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and a fierce critic of the way Israel’s supporters try to wield the memory of anti-Semitism as a baton to beat up on those who criticize the country’s well-documented atrocities. Author of Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism […]

  • Pakistan Invades America — “Without Permission”

    The U.S. State Department lodged a sharp protest over ongoing Pakistani missile strikes and ground raids today, saying the Islamic Republic was violating American sovereignty. “We will try to convince Pakistan . . . to respect [the] sovereignty of the United States — and God willing, we will convince,” State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack told […]

  • A Guantanomized Age: The Long Interrogation

    Stark images of spectral men — their appearance in bright orange jumpsuits belied by legal invisibility — have been seared into the minds of many Muslims as an index of America’s anger. But, for American Muslims, abuse and disappearance of detainees are not the defining features of the “war on terror.”  Eyed by the national […]

  • Sarah Palin: Vice Wrapped in Virtue

    Conservatives unveiled their vice presidential wildcard with high hopes of courting disaffected Clintonistas and mobilizing the religious base.  But the payoff appeared increasingly meager as Sarah Palin’s unscreened embarrassments, from attempted book-bannings to vindictive political purges, came tumbling down her mountain of presumed moral authority. Fortunately for Republicans, the timidity and “good manners” that served […]

  • America’s Registered Muslims

    I awoke early this morning and sleepily shifted to the computer screen.  Scanning the news, my eyes alighted upon a startling sight: “17-page document identifies Obama as a registered Muslim, Clinton supporter says.” The first thought to zip through my mind: 17 pages?  What kind of form does a Muslim need to fill out to […]

  • The Soft Surge: Opening the Gates of Hell in Pakistan

    When I was younger, my family would visit Pakistan during summer vacations.  In the teeming port city of Karachi, I often went with my uncle to the local bazaar, where merchants and browsers haggled fiercely over prices underneath tan tents. To conceal my American upbringing, I wore pants in the oppressive heat (shorts were derided […]

  • Free Speech, or Weapons Free?Anti-Islamic Invective and War

    Anti-Muslim material — the short film Fitna and the Danish cartoons spring to mind — usually raise hell when they first appear. They also raise some interesting questions. The propagandists have certainly enjoyed their handiwork.  Vilifying the enemy flavor of the month always wins vigorous rounds of applause (and money) from the right quarters.  The […]

  • The Only Good Muslim Is the Anti-Muslim: Liberals’ Fear of Islam

    For some, Barack Obama’s stature as a man of the Left has fallen precipitously, like late autumn leaves shed by branches bowing to the will of winter. Disappointment has often been self-inflicted.  Supporters have dipped their pens deeply into the inkwell of Obama’s inspiring story and written their own lines on Afghanistan, oil drilling, or […]