Today many Palestinians and people believing in justice and the right to self-determination are celebrating the overwhelming vote to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. This was a clear message that the world (or at least the UN represented world) sent to the US, Israel and allies that enough is enough. Indeed, had the UN been a real democratic organization without historically dictated (hence old) rights of veto, Palestine would today be a recognised nation. Surely, morally, humanly, and in the name of justice, this is news to celebrate. It also shows the extent to which the US, with few acolytes left, and Israel, with probably even fewer, are geopolitically isolated. Continue reading
As director, I am pleased to inform you that today the website for the Study Contemporary Muslim Lives Research Hub at Macquarie University was officially launched.
Study Contemporary Muslim Lives (SCML) is a research hub based within the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University. It undertakes research on social, cultural and political aspects of contemporary Muslim communities and societies and is committed to the advancement of social scientific understandings of Muslim lives in different social and geographical contexts through excellent empirical research, scholarly publications, and active postgraduate programs.
SCML also has, among other activities, a Visiting Scholar Program. SCML welcomes applications from academics who want to carry out research as visiting scholars at Macquarie University. Visitors participate in and enrich the research-intensive and vibrant communal life of the Research Hub, which is part of the Department of Anthropology. Continue reading
During my career I’ve had the opportunity to observe several student association fairs in various countries, where dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of clubs and organizations campaign to attract new members. I am always interested in the Muslim associations and also the growing and increasingly visible Jewish-Israeli student associations. Recently I have accepted a new position at the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Continue reading
To write about the Middle East is always difficult, but to write about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is even more so. Emotions, religious fanaticism and global geopolitical interests make this region the trap of many commentators, journalists and academics whom wish to propose ‘the best solution’. Analysis seems to be the only refuge. Continue reading
All religions have their scholars since no religious text or even tradition can escape the slavery of human exegesis; no exegesis, no religion. Since Ayatollah Khomeini’s famous 1989 Fatwa, which made Salman Rushdie famous for books that few succeed in reading from cover to cover and others find unpalatable, fatwas have become a symbol of all the evil or stupidity (depending the circumstances) people believe to find in Islam (rather than in the ‘scholar’ issuing them). Many fatwas have received more attention from non-Muslims than from Muslims thanks to the mass media hyper-focus on whatever is related to Islam. Indeed, fatwa means simply ‘advice’ and Sunni Muslims are not bound to accept them, particularly if the religious edicts are irrational or illogical. Continue reading
Days have passed since the so-called ‘Gaza Flotilla’ was brutally raided by Israeli forces. As usual in these cases, I tend to take my time before writing my opinion. Let me start from some simple observations:
The Gaza blockade is irrational. It breaches international law and affects the most vulnerable people within Gaza. By contrast, politically, it reinforces Hamas. Indeed, anybody with even a minimum of knowledge or contacts in Gaza knows that supporting Hamas or becoming an active member remains the only solution to enjoy some benefits and relieve one’s family from the hardship of the illegal embargo, enjoying the few products smuggled through the endless number of Egyptian border tunnels controlled by Hamas. Continue reading
Obama’s speeches are becoming a classic, no less than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for those studying English, at least in Japan. Certainly, after eight years of Bushisms, Obama’s words sound like Shakespeare. Hence, few would have complained if the Nobel committee would have awarded him the Nobel in literature. Notwithstanding that, in listening to Barack Obama’s 36-minute Nobel lecture we may wonder whether a mistake has been made and if the President was supposed to receive the Nobel in Philosophy for his contribution to contemporary Sophism instead of Peace. Indeed, if Barack Obama should be compared to somebody for his Laureate Speech, it would certainly not be Martin Luther King or Gandhi, but perhaps rather John Lennon. Continue reading