In the few hours after Omar Mateen shot dead 50 innocent people at Pulse in Orlando a week ago, dozens of politicians and heads of states around the world rushed to condemn the grotesque hate crime. The “condemnations” trickling in from the Middle East were particularly interesting and unique when placed in the context of these countries’ track records on LGBT rights and their mistreatment of homosexuals (Russia could potentially be added to this list, too, but for the sake of this post, we’re focusing on the Middle East). To illustrate the stark contrast between the condemnations and the countries’ respective policies on homosexuality, Florence of Arabia has put together the below listicle featuring Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. (Please do send in more if I’ve missed any.)
The contrast is quite humorous and hypocritical, but on a more serious level, it reaffirms just how rampant state-sponsored homophobia is in the region. It’s worth noting that the condemnations were similarly worded and omitted any mention of the attacks occurring at a gay club or targeting homosexuals. The condemnations are inherently problematic in that the states are essentially players that enable or fuel the sort of hatred which motivated the very crime they appear to have condemned. Scholar and writer Samar Habib in this piece for the Washington Post argues that the condemnations are a “start,” whilst acknowledging they are somewhat troublesome.Continue reading →
From hipsters in Williamsburg to millennials in Bethnal Green, ‘big, bushy beards’ have morphed from an ISIS subculture style to a mainstream Western fashion trend.* Daoud Mahmoud of Raqqa, Syria, says he can no longer remain silent. Florence of Arabia reports.
In a series of furious Tweets on Friday, 22-year-old ISIS militant Daoud Mahmoud blasted Western millennials and hipsters for their “appropriation” of the caliphate’s beard culture, saying it was becoming “increasingly intolerable.”
Tweeting from his shelled-out flat in Raqqa, Daoud gave a brief history of ISIS beard culture, saying facial hair is a core tenet of the terrorist group’s deep-seated spirituality — so much so, men who don’t sport a suitably bushy beard are instantaneously slaughtered.
There are so many random acts of Islamophobia these days that it’s impossible to keep track.
This week we have an unidentified employee (or unidentified employees) at an unidentified nursery school in Luton who called the mother of a pupil in for questioning after her toddler son drew a picture of his father with a knife chopping a cucumber. You read right. A cucumber.
The staff in question apparently misheard the boy when he said cucumber, thinking he meant to say “cooker bomb” instead, and suggested the child may need to be admitted into a de-radicalisation programme.
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” Continue reading →
UberPool is now available in London after successfully launching in New York.
I have mixed feelings about this.
On the one hand, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to save some £s (precisely 25% of a full ride) on costly London transport? Particularly for those long-haul rides from.. well… Brixton to Farringdon.
On the other, part of the reason I appreciate Uber is that you get to avoid interacting with, or being exposed to, strangers. Specifically talkative, inebriated strangers who are feeling especially friendly. When you aren’t. Continue reading →
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 teamed up Prof. Andrew Will-Share, a London-based mixologist, to do the heavy-lifting for you here.
Tense times. Social media overload. Everyone’s outraged; everyone’s mourning; everyone’s got something to say. It’s almost impossible to keep up with global media coverage of the political aftermath of the Paris (and Beirut) attacks, let alone take into account how ridiculous, off-point, or bigoted some of it has been.
Some unique takes on the Paris attacks from Aida Alami, a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Foreign Policy, and Bashir Saade, a professor of politics at the University of Edinburgh. (Note from Nov. 24: I’ve also added a third account from journalist and PhD candidate Sobhiya Najjar.)
While Alami offers a personal account of reporting from the scene in Paris — and the thoughts that crossed her mind at the time — Saade takes a step back to make some sense of the political implications of the attacks in both France and Lebanon.
Najjar’s piece centres on the cognitive dissonance she felt as her concern wavered from Paris to Beirut and from Beirut to Paris.
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.