Society

Muhammad Ali: An American Muslim

Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer this world has ever known, is no more. The fact that he is gone is difficult to swallow. For years, Ali was renowned as a larger than life figure, “the greatest” as he would call himself, and the demise of a man of such high stature is surely a void that can never be filled.

In the world of sports, Muhammad Ali will forever be known as the boxing legend who won 56 bouts during his 21-year career. In popular culture, he will be remembered as the man who was not afraid when it came to speaking his mind — someone who was not shy of talking about things unrelated to boxing, and would always take the right stand when needed.

But that is not the only reason why this world will miss Muhammad Ali. Continue Reading

Society

Islamophobia, Hatred And The Arabic Language

While both sane and insane voices exist in every society, it is common knowledge by now that Islamophobes are pretty loud in the West, especially in USA. The story of Ahmed, the kid who brought a self-made clock to school, is a case in point. Of course, Islamophobia is not the dominant ideology in USA, as can be seen in the efforts of several good-willed Americans who seek nothing but peace. After all, Ahmed did get support and appreciation from all corners, didn’t he?

However, what happens when such Islamophobic paranoia, even though it might be in the minority, spills out and makes itself visible in stuff that is otherwise not a monopoly of Islam? What happens when one’s bigotry makes him/her feel scared of a language?

Apparently, some Islamophobes in USA seem to have an irrational fear of the Arabic language. Continue Reading

Society

Islamophobia in USA: The Arabic Language

On March 18, a student in Pine Bush High School near New York City recited the American Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. This was done as part of the school’s Foreign Language Week, which was conducted to celebrate the “many races, cultures and religions that make up [the US and the Pine Bush] School District.”

One would expect the multicultural and cosmopolitan American society to appreciate such gestures. However, reactions to the recitation of the Pledge in Arabic spoke otherwise: the language in itself was described to be meant for terrorists! Such bigotry once again highlighted everything that is wrong with USA nowadays: xenophobia, racism, ignorance, violence and above all, Islamophobia.  Continue Reading

Diplomacy

Rethinking Democracy in USA

Democracy is the worse form of government, except for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.

— Winston Churchill

Churchill’s above statement provides a sweeping, and possibly one-sided picture, of democracy as a mixed blessing — a system with its boons and banes that just somehow works. Such a generic observation claims, on one hand, that democracy is better than any other non-democratic system, and at the same time points out that it still is not the God-given mandate to all problems that this world is currently facing. Unfortunately, a good number of Americans tend to agree with the first interpretation of Churchill’s statement, but overlook the second one.

Much like any other form of governance, democracy too is vulnerable. However, one can find solace in the fact that a democratic setup offers us the chance to have second thoughts about mistakes of the past: replace one set of fools with a new set of fools, for instance. The elected leaders serve for a given time period — such a time limit can control the amount of damage that they can do to their country or, in the case of USA, to other countries as well. Continue Reading

Diplomacy

Sanctions Against Russia? Good Luck!

Now that Crimea has decided to unite with Russia and Russians have welcomed Crimea’s move with happy hearts, the Western half of the world, especially USA and European Union, are talking at length about imposing sanctions against Russia in order to bring Vladimir Putin to his senses. However, the task seems easier said than done — Uncle Sam is simply not in a position to impose long-term sanctions against Russia.

Economic and political ties between the United States and Russia are surely not exemplary. Yet, one key American industry relies heavily on a particular import from Russia: fuel for nuclear power plants.  Continue Reading

Diplomacy

Iran-US Nuclear Deal Signals A Gorbachev Moment For Rouhani

So Iran and the United States reached a deal about the nuclear stuff recently. Thus far, I have read many opinions and analyses about this historic event: Israel calls it a mistake of gigantic proportions, US and Iran are considering it to be a step in the right direction, rest of the world is watching, commentators and experts are either happy or unhappy depending on their political stance, and so on.

As of now, it is too early to judge whether the nuclear deal between USA and Iran is a good thing to happen or not. However, pros and cons aside, one thing is certain: with the new Rouhani government in place, the Islamic Republic is indeed headed towards some noticeable changes.  Continue Reading