A study of Arab attitudes to sexuality reminds us of a liberal Islamic tradition

sex-and-the-citadel-intimate-life-in-a-changing-arab-world.jpgThe book Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World, by Shereen El Feki was reviewed by Roula Khalaf in the Financial Times.

The article reviews the book which aims to offer insight into this highly sensitive subject whilst also establishing that there are a multitude of views held by Muslims around the globe on the subject of sex and sexuality. The review goes on to explain the structure of the book and it’s usage of historical examples. These historical examples have a variety of uses, for example: they can be to illustrate historical precedents that contrast or compare to the current situation or how the current practice has grown out of the historical background.

Iraq: 10 years later

16 March

Iraq: 10 years later

In this piece the Financial Times’ Middle East editor Roula Khalaf gives an account of the last ten years of Iraq. Together with the analysis of the inevitable political and economic consequences of Iraq’s most recent history, the article also looks into how the religious populous of the country is rebuilding and re-contextualising itself after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Looking specifically at the contemporary political situation and how this is both influenced by and influences the religious communities in Iraq.

Nottinghamshire Police warn about a sharp increase in hate-attacks against Muslims

10 December 2012


A Muslim family based in Bingham in north-western Britain were the latest victims of increasing anti-Islamic attacks in Britain. The family found an offensive graffiti which attacked Islam and Allah outside of their family house last week.


According to the father’s account the attack left the children traumatized:


“Two days after the first incident I saw the eldest on the laptop looking at a map, looking for escape routes in case anything goes wrong, I’m not even a strict Muslim at all, so for this to happen to my family is a joke.” He said.

The second attack came three weeks later when the family found a cross wrapped in ham left on their doorstep.

The attack was taken as a significant warning for increase in the hate crimes against Muslims. Police data show that 1,200 anti-Muslim attacks were reported in Britain in 2010. A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the nation that is most suspicious about Muslims. A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.

Multiculturalism Debate Boiling in UK After Cameron’s Speech

7 February 2011

After Prime Minister David Cameron declared that the model of multiculturalism at state level has failed, a heated debate has sprung up. Tariq Modood writes a fervent plea for multiculturalism and shows some of the many examples of where it is already in practice. The Independent reports of attacks from Muslim groups and the Labour Party on the Prime Minister, who is said to be “livid” about the reactions. The BBC gives a feature of what different parties of the debate and academics understand by “multiculturalism”, while the New Statesman calls Cameron’s remarks cynical, but also shows disappointment with the Labour Party’s response. The Financial Times and a Daily Telegraph blog acknowledge the importance of the Prime Minister’s speech as a warning against Islamic extremism.

French Muslim Minister Fadela Amara wants the Burka banned

PARIS – A ban on the wearing of the burka in France would help stem the spread of the “cancer” of radical Islam, one of its female Muslim ministers has said.

Minister Fadela Amara told the Financial Times that a veil covering everything but the eyes represented “the oppression of women”. Ms Amara said she was “in favour of the burka not existing in my country”.

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe

Caldwell frames the issue of Muslim immigration to Europe as a question of whether you can have the same Europe with different people. The author, a columnist for the Financial Times and a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, answers this question unequivocally in the negative. He offers a brief demographic analysis of the potential impact of Muslim immigration—estimating that between 20% and 32% of the populations of most European countries will be foreign-born by the middle of the century—and traces the origins of this mass immigration to a postwar labor crisis. He considers the social, political and cultural implications of this sea change, from the banlieue riots and the ban on the veil in French public schools to terrorism across Europe and the question of Turkey’s accession to the E.U. Caldwell sees immigration as a particular problem for Europe because he believes Muslim immigrants retain a Muslim identity, which he defines monolithically and unsympathetically, rather than assimilating to their new homelands. This thorough, big-thinking book, which tackles its controversial subject with a conviction that is alternately powerful and narrow-minded, will likely challenge some readers while alienating others. (July) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review by the National Post

Review by The Guardian

Review by Financial Times

Italy’s Northern League seeks to block new mosques

Italy’s Northern League has proposed new legislation which would halt the construction of new mosques. The bill would require regional approval for the building of mosques and require that a local referendum be held concerning minarets and loudspeakers calling the faithful to prayer. The Financial Times reports that the chances of this being approved are slim, as the legislation clashes with several constitutional rights. The legislation is set to be sent to Italian parliament next week.

UK Muslims suffer growing suspicion

A recent poll showing that Britons are the most suspicious about Muslims unnerved the sizable Muslim minority in the UK. LONDON – The latest Financial Times opinion poll which showed that Britons are the most suspicious about Muslims has unnerved the sizable Muslim minority in the European country, the second largest on the continent. “I would happily send my children to a Muslim school, but I know my wife wouldn’t,” David Flisher from Ipswich, a non-metropolitan district in the peninsula of East Anglia in eastern England, told IslamOnline.

Attitudes Toward Muslims Mixed in Europe and the U.S.

“A new Financial Times/Harris Poll of cross sections of adults in the five largest European countries and the United States looks at attitudes toward Muslims and finds differing opinions on Muslims as a threat to national security, prejudice towards Muslims and whether parents would object to a child marrying a Muslim.

When it comes to Muslims as a threat to national security, the British are the most wary as 38 percent say the presence of Muslims in their country is a threat, followed by 30 percent of Italians and 28 percent of Germans who believe the same. Approximately one in five French (20%), American (21%) and Spanish (23%) adults also say the presence of Muslims in their respective countries is a threat to national security. With the exception of Spain and Great Britain, where large pluralities say the presence of Muslims does present a threat to national security, majorities of adults in the other four countries say they do not present a threat.

These are some of the results of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among a total of 6,398 adults aged 16 to 64 within France; Germany, Great Britain, Spain, the United States, and adults aged 18 to 64 in Italy, between August 1 and 13, 2007.

A summary of the report can be found here.