1:05 PM, Jun 25, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Why were the words of Fouad Ajami “never welcomed in the cultural salons of Beirut and Cairo?” asks Samuel Tadros in Tablet magazine. And why are they now “unfashionable … in the halls of power in Washington?” Because “instead of following the herd and blaming the ills of the region on the foreigner, he had written in the opening pages of his 1981 book The Arab Predicament that ‘the wounds that mattered were self-inflicted wounds.’”
Tadros, a contributor to this magazine, has written a wonderful tribute to his teacher, and later publisher of his two brilliant books on the failure of liberalism in modern Egypt, Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity, and the recently released Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt. “I met Ajami for the first time in October 2010,” writes Tadros.
As a student at Georgetown distressed with the state of Middle East studies in American universities, I had emailed him asking for his advice on my quest for a doctorate. We met a week later, and for the next three hours a bond was created. I like to think that he saw a younger, though less brilliant, version of himself in the student sitting in front of him, that he saw a similarity between my ideological transformation because of Sept. 11 from an Arab nationalist to a conservative, and his…
Ajami was remarkable because he became a full American and loved this country as anyone could love it, but that never lessened his passion for what he had left behind. He knew well the region’s ills, the pains it gave those who cherished it, and God knows it gave him nothing but pain. But he always believed the peoples of the region deserved better, and he was unabashed in championing their cause and their yearning for freedom.
Tadros’s moving reminiscence, alongside those of others like Paul Wolfowitz, Bret Stephens, and Michael Mandelbaum, is perhaps the most personal. “For me,” writes Tadros, “I will remember the magnificent scholar who took a young man under his wing and mentored him for four years. I will remember the kindness, the encouragement, the generosity he showed me. Farwell, my Mo’allem. Farewell my friend. Farwell to the complex and extraordinary Fouad, the American, the Shia, the Lebanese, and though he wouldn’t have liked it, the Arab as well.”
Tracing the Muslim roots of modern-day Sicily.Aug 5, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 44 • By RICHARD TADA
A band of Muslim raiders sacked Rome in 846 a.d., plundering the city’s churches and getting clean away with their loot. They had come from Palermo, in Sicily, which had been in Muslim hands for 15 years. Sicily was then on its way to becoming a predominantly Islamic and Arabic-speaking island, and it remained under Muslim rule for over two centuries, until the Normans conquered it in the late 11th century.
To be young, Muslim, and American. Jun 24, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 39 • By PETER SKERRY
The Boston Marathon bombings highlighted, once again, the challenges of assimilating Muslim youth. And while the onus of accountability ought not rest exclusively on Muslim Americans, it understandably weighs most heavily on them. Indeed, any fair-minded assessment of recent events must underscore the inadequacies of Muslim-American leaders. Yet the usual criticisms are wide of the mark and fail to identify the institutional as well as intellectual weaknesses of these leaders.
12:45 PM, Feb 13, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
Kosovo, the Albanian-majority Balkan republic, is probably best known for its fervent pro-Americanism, understandable given the role of U.S.-led NATO forces in assisting its 1.8 million inhabitants against Serbian oppression in 1999. American troops in Kosovo are drawn from National Guard units and have fallen below a thousand, but continue to symbolize a commitment that Kosovars consider indispensable to their future.
10:43 AM, Jan 3, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The small republic of Kosovo, with a population of less than two million—90 percent ethnic Albanians, of whom 80 percent are Muslim—is the Balkan zone offering the greatest resistance to radical Islam. Some vignettes from recent interviews may impart the flavor of the debate over Islamism in the country:
10:50 AM, May 6, 2011 • By LEE SMITH
Tariq Ramadan is the latest in a long chorus to criticize the Obama administration for killing Osama bin Laden. The organization that his grandfather Hassan al-Banna started, the Muslim Brotherhood, along with its Palestinian branch Hamas, mourned the death of the holy warrior, while more moderate voices, like the Sheikh of Al Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb, simply complained that his death rites were inappropriate. Ramadan seems to align himself with the latter. “It's very strange,” Ramadan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “that we drop his body in the sea, against all the Islamic rituals, and we are told the Islamic rituals and principles are respected.”
And he's a golfer, too.Aug 30, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 47 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
"Ike’s not a Communist, he’s a golfer." That was Russell Kirk’s succinct response to the claim by John Birchers in the 1950s that President Eisenhower was a Communist.
So what?7:18 PM, Aug 19, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
In March 2009, a Pew poll found that 11 percent of Americans incorrectly believed President Obama was a Muslim. A new Pew poll shows that that number has increased to 18 percent. Does this seven-point jump have any significance? Maybe. Maybe not.
From Pakistan to Bosnia.4:00 PM, Aug 9, 2010 • By IRFAN AL-ALAWI and STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The people of Pakistan, and Muslims as well as non-Muslims around the world, were horrified when, at midnight on July 1, three bombers struck the Data Darbar Sufi shrine in Lahore.
12:00 PM, Apr 14, 2010 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The young Kosovo Republic, with an overwhelming Muslim majority but a tradition of moderate Islam and a secular constitution, has joined Tunisia and France in prohibiting girls attending public schools from wearing the headscarf (hijab). As in Turkey, where the ban on headscarves, instituted in the 1920s, has become a matter for judicial controversy, decisions against the headscarf by local and school authorities have produced a legal case and complaints of discrimination.
The niqab problem.12:00 AM, Feb 11, 2010 • By IRFAN AL-ALAWI and STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
Proposals to ban niqab, the face veil worn by some Muslim women, are gaining support in France and Britain. France saw its first crime by “burqa bandits” on February 6, when two men wearing head-to-foot female “Islamic” garments robbed a post office in the Parisian suburb of Athis-Mons. The men gained entrance by convincing the clerks that they were women, then lifted their veils to disclose that they were not, drew at least one firearm, and stole about $6,000.
Khaled Abou El Fadl's mysterious Egyptian interview.Dec 22, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 15 • By KATHERINE MANGU-WARD
DR. KHALED ABOU EL FADL'S reputation as a moderate Muslim thinker earned him a seat on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom last May. He is an accomplished legal scholar and an expert on Islamic jurisprudence. Born in Kuwait and bred in Egypt, Abou El Fadl is a professor at UCLA Law School with degrees from Yale, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, remarks made in an unguarded moment--and subsequently distorted by the Egyptian press--have just landed him in trouble.