Posts in Category: Muslims

Words Starting With the Letter P That Arabs Can Actually Pronounce

My fave bit of journalism this week is this New York Times article on an Israeli lawmaker’s comments that Palestine can’t possibly exist because the Arabic alphabet doesn’t contain the letter P. In the journalistic gem, reporter Isabel Kershner states that “it is rare to meet an Arab who can pronounce the letter P.”

If you’re an Arab, or if have had the misfortune of communicating with Arabs, or living in the Middle East, you’ll know this is something of a fallacy. I say “something of,” as I acknowledge that the mispronunciation isn’t entirely unheard of. I’m fair that way. Perhaps your grandBa called you a SuBBer Star as you were growing up, or maybe you’ve been drinking Diet Bebsi all your life, but have never actually been able to bronounce the broblematic word.

ISIS Fighter Struggles With New Year Diet, Still Trying To Cut Down On Carbs

Posting on Instagram from his shelled-out studio flat in Raqqah, ISIS militant Daoud Mahmoud announced plans January 1st for a low-carb diet, appending the hashtag “#NewYearNewMe.”

One month on, the jihadist tweeted, “@TheRealAbuBakralBaghdadi re: diet, still strugglin, prtty sure imprilist gregrian calndr is haram but got2 cut down somehow lol x fyi @BasharAlAssad”

Why Jordan’s Theeb Should Win That Oscar


Every so often, the Academy nominates foreign-language films that put some of the movies listed in the best-picture category to absolute shame. Theeb, directed by newcomer Naji Abu Nowar, is one such example (side note: Timbuktu, of 2015, and Omar, of 2014, are a couple of others).

Set in the the vast Hijaz province of the then Ottoman Empire during World War I, Theeb (Wolf in Arabic) portrays the complexities of colonialism, death, grief, survival, isolation and loyalty through the subtle lens of one curious Bedouin boy.

FLOW CHART: How to Respond to a Terrorist Attack

By Zahra Hankir and ND*

There are so many terrorist (or kind-of-terrorist-) attacks out there these days, that it’s hard to keep track.

While we understand terrorism is certainly no laughing matter, we thought we’d put together a flow chart  to help you figure out how to respond to such attacks during these dark times.

Are you a Facebook user? A moderate Muslim? A western media organisation? Vladimir Putin? Or even David Cameron?

Florence of Arabia has got you covered.

(Click on the image to enlarge).


* ND is a London-based ultimate frisbee player, flow-chart expert and journalist. She’s also a White Westerner. 

Are you a Terrorist Sympathizer?

David Cameron on Wednesday had the audacity to call me and my friends “terrorist sympathisers,” before adding injury to insult by using my hard-earned tax money to bomb an already war-torn country that’s already being bombed by numerous other countries. Aside from far more serious issues, this begs the question of how one should define a “terrorist sympathiser.” Florence of Arabia does the heavy-lifting for you here.

This Palestinian Woman Wants to Empower Refugees in Lebanon With a Food-truck

Mariam alShaar is no ordinary woman.

She’s Palestinian. She’s a refugee. She’s gentle, yet she’s fierce and passionate. She comes across as being reserved, but she’s known in Lebanon’s Borj el-Barajneh as one of the refugee camp’s most powerful and influential women.

Perhaps most telling: Although Mariam doesn’t call herself a cook, she leads a team of chefs. She’s even launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a food-truck, which she hopes will bring employment to tens of women in Borj el-Barajneh.

Indeed. Mariam is all kinds of extraordinary.

(Side-note: Mariam is also on Susan Sarandon’s radar. And I’ve loved Susan since Thelma and Louise, through to Arbitrage).

On Airport Security-Check Etiquette and Chic Arab Radicals: From Heathrow to JFK

At Heathrow; about to board a flight to JFK. Stopped by security last second — literally moments before getting on to the plane — and asked to step aside.

Told that ‘I’ve been ‘selected‘ by the government of the United States of America to go through a detailed security check’ by a British gentleman who’s speaking in what can only be described as an upbeat voice coupled with a posh accent.

Feels like I’ve won a prize or something.

Study: Things Muslim Kids Are More or Less Likely to Do

Look at this adorable cheap mean selfish little Muslim kid

Some readers of Forbes, the Independent and other publications are  getting a real kick out of a study that has found that religion makes children aged 5 to 12 selfish and stingy, when compared to atheist kids.

Islamophobes must be thrilled!

(I have no doubt Richard Dawkins is ecstatic, too, but I really don’t want to check his Twitter account, because I’m Muslim and that would be against my religion).

Enough about me, though.

Kuffiyeh on the Floor: Art or Accident?

Saturday evening, Frieze Art Fair, London. Lots of obscenely beautiful, hipster-chic people. Expensive artwork that I probably wouldn’t buy even if I could afford it (The cliché around Frieze Art Fair is glitz,” the Independent reports). It’s fun to look at, though. Not to mention the event presents the perfect opportunity to do some serious people-watching. I wander around aimlessly before inadvertently, clumsily dropping my kuffiyeh (scarf) on the floor. No one in my immediate vision appears to have seen this occur.

Flat Whites and Fatwas

Starbucks. East London. Tuesday evening. Killing time. Decide to find a quiet spot to catch up on ISIS-related news of the day. The dimly lit lower-ground floor is packed save a corner table that’s adjacent to a group of bearded (not hipster-bearded, if you get what I mean) professionals. At least eight. They’re partaking in an intense discussion. I overhear the words Muslim, Gaza and Guantanamo. Without thinking twice, I head to the vacant spot. I realize I’m uncomfortably close to their table. They notice me for a split second before returning to their discussion. To leave now would be suspect, I figure. So I take my jacket off and make myself comfortable.