A Line In The Sand

“We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” [Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston] For an illustration of what the late viscount meant by his statement one would be hard pushed to find a better example than in…

Du’a on Laylatul Qadr.

  Ya Rabb! Let the Heavens and Earth bear witness: There is no power or strength save with You. In this month that You have sanctified, upon this night your Messenger informed us of, we beseech You for your loving clemency. No sincere plea escapes you; from the depths of the ocean, from the belly…

Midnight Mass is not for us.

Dear Miqdaad Assalaam-alaikum. I appreciate your responding to my tweet censuring your planned attendance at midnight Mass, despite the lingering suspicion that it was motivated more by a desire to win plaudits as a man of moderation standing up to “extremists” rather than understanding my (and many others’) objections. First of all let me start…

Islam and homosexuality

What does Islam have to say about homosexuality? It’s a question not infrequently asked of Muslims in the West. While contemporary western European attitudes towards same sex relationships have mostly evolved to the point of being positively celebratory there remain pockets of resistance to this newfound tolerance of what was once deemed a mental illness…

Flying whilst Muslim

It wasn’t the first time it had happened to me, that was back in 2014. This time, however, it was different. Someone in the security establishment had decided it was time to upgrade my membership of the “Schedule 7” club from associate to plenary – with all its attendant perks and benefits. As a child…

Letterboxes, Niqabs and Poisonous Snakes

[My take on “burqa”-gate expressed by way of an open letter to comedian Rowan Atkinson. Image courtesy of the irrepressible @HashashinTag – thanks for making us all (even the haters) laugh, sis. For any Muslims who might raise objections: please note that my acceptance of the “right” to mock and lampoon Islam in a liberal…

Another four years of ignominy…

“If the French were really intelligent, they’d speak English.” [Wilfrid Sheed – “Essays in Disguise”] As an Englishman (yes, I “self-identify” as one) I’ve always been proud of my intense dislike for the French. Their arrogant hauteur, vainglorious boasting, gauche directness and worst of all, their pompous dismissal of all and any English achievements (the English language…

Checking out

Boom. Once more, only this time closer, unmistakably closer. And again, the walls and roof trembled, their moans articulated in the puffs of fine dust that engulfed him. Outside the cacophony of conflict blared loud and relentless. “Fuck sake!” His shalwaar kameez had been freshly washed and ironed only hours earlier; at 9 am he’d…

Mad Mel, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia

It’s not that I don’t like Melanie Phillips, I just can’t stand the sight of her [I’m trying not to notice!]. Actually I was intending to write this short piece even before the whole brouhaha over her “no such thing as Islamophobia” remarks erupted. As someone who has monitored her rantings for around thirteen years…