On (Soon!) Becoming a U.S. Citizen
Seven years ago, I was sitting alone in my room in Malaysia, having earned my diploma the month before. I was filled with depression and despair while many of my friends who had just graduated were filled with happiness and were set to either continue their studies or get to work. My student visa in …
Walking on Eggshells: Discussing Extremism in the West
I am approaching my sixth year since I landed in the United States as a refugee from Iraq. Since then, there have been so many changes—gaining eighty pounds is the most obvious of them—but I can say now that I can speak with some authority when I engage in discussions about extremism, and in particular …
The Failure of Ideological Purity Tests
I arrived in the United States in March 2013 as a refugee from Iraq. I resettled in Houston, Texas, where two of my brothers lived at the time. A few days after I arrived in this country—of which I am now a permanent resident—I started searching for humanist and freethinking clubs in the local area. …
What Is Missing from the Conversation about Iraqi Elections and Extremism?
Iraq needs a future beyond the dueling sectarians.
The Illusion of Winning the War against ISIS
To defeat terrorist groups enduringly, we must overcome the conditions that let them to thrive.
Enlightenment in the Arab World 2.0
The Arab world must return to the scholariship and cosmopolitanism of Bayt Al Hikma. The Internet may show the way.
Censor Social Media and Lose the War Against Terrorism
I recently made a joke on Facebook about both ISIS and the absurdity of New Age religions and positive-thinking cults by saying that “If you don’t like ISIS, join them because change comes from within.”
Toward a Rational Muslim Immigration Policy
Secular Bengali bloggers are hugely valuable, because they contribute intellectually to the war of ideas against jihadists.
That Radical Islamist Terrorism Question
“No good policy can come from either denying that the problem exists or from exaggerating the true number of our adversaries.”
From Lahore to Brussels to Baghdad: A Plan to Fight Back
“What is starting to hurt me almost more than the continuous terrorist attacks—which make it seem as though the whole world is on fire—is seeing how we are becoming numb to these attacks.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Need for Political Solutions
“There is a need right now to break this cycle of violence and support a third-party government, even if it currently doesn’t have enough popular support currently to function on its own.”
Anti-Muslim Bigotry vs. Genuine Criticism of Islam
Pigeonholing can be dangerous, but it’s nonetheless true that commentators upon Islam tend to belong to one of six groups.
Why Raif Badawi Matters
I am an atheist and very public about it; if I had been living in the Middle East and caught by the government or an Islamic militia, I could be in Badawi’s position.
Who Is Really Gross and Racist?
The concerns of those worried about insulting Islam are seriously misplaced.
ISIS and the Future of Islam and the Arab World
Western liberals underestimate the extent to which, in the Arab world, Islamic extremism is a mainstream phenomenon.
Identifying as an Ex-Muslim, Pros and Cons
“I prefer to identify myself with atheism and humanism as parts of a larger national and global movement, rather than identifying principally with people who happen to come from the same religious background I did.”