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Last updated: 29 June 2015

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Zaatar chicken: ©Joudie Kalla

Zaatar chicken: ©Joudie Kalla

Putting Palestine on the culinary map

June 2015 – The most delicious way to a society’s soul is through its stomach, believes the creator of Palestine on a Plate.

Photo: ©Boštjan Videmšek

Photo: ©Boštjan Videmšek

Greek islands: No holiday in the sun for Syrian refugees

June 2015 – Kos is straining under the influx of Syrian refugees.  Though locals are hospitable, the refugees are desperate to move on but where or how eludes them.

The Hagia Sophia when it was a mosque.

The Hagia Sophia when it was a mosque.

Hagia Sophia: A symbolic bridge or wedge?

June 2015 – The Hagia Sophia must not become a mosque. If its status must change, it should become a space of tolerance, where both Christian and Muslim worship.

The empire must not strike back

June 2015 – Nostalgia for empire in the Middle East misses two points: we’re not witnessing the “final end of imperialism” and imperialism did not bring order.

Image: AUC Press

Image: AUC Press

A Riche chapter of Egyptian history

June 2015 – For a century, Café Riche was a microcosm of Cairo’s bewildering contradictions, and a “refuge from the pain of loneliness”  for intellectuals.

Father Damien, shortly before he too succumed to leprosy. Photo: Sydney B Swift

Father Damien, shortly before he too succumed to leprosy.
Photo: Sydney B Swift

The leper priest who lost his marbles

June 2015 – Father Damien’s dying wish of marbles for his children may seem odd, but this saint’s caring for lepers can teach us a lot about selfless sacrifice.

The death of sanity in Egypt

May 2015 – The sentencing to death of former president Mohamed Morsi is the latest chapter in Egypt’s comedy of terrors that could push the country over the edge.

The occupational handicaps of being Palestinian

May 2015 – Living with disability is always a challenge but if you’re a Palestinian living under Israeli occupation you are doubly handicapped.

The tip of Egypt’s snobbery iceberg

May 2015 – The replacement of one snobbish justice minister in Egypt with another who believes judges are lords and masters shows how deep elitism runs.

A ‘War on Error’ against radical anti-Islam

May 2015 – Given how many New Atheists, Christian fundamentalists and neo-cons share a distorted view of Islam and Muslims, it’s high time for a War on Error. 

Enslaved by history

May 2015 – Failing to acknowledge the legacy of slavery on all our modern societies makes the present an unnecessary slave to history.

Painting from Qajar Iran, 1850-1885. http://www.islamicpersia.org/2012/09/qajar-erotic-watercolor-art.html

Painting from Qajar Iran, 1850-1885. http://www.islamicpersia.org/2012/09/qajar-erotic-watercolor-art.html

Making halal sexy

May 2015 – Though halal sex may sound as logical as kosher bacon, it does make ts own sense. Some Muslims are utilising the concept to break the taboo around sex.

afrah nasserSmashing the Arab world’s glass ceiling

May 2015 – Arab women are not waiting for others to empower them, they are doing it for themselves. Over 40 are on the list of the most influential young Arabs.

Like today's refugees, Belgians fleeing World War I often took to the sea in overcrowded boats.

Like today’s refugees, Belgians fleeing World War I often took to the sea in overcrowded boats.

War and peace in the Middle East and Europe

April 2015 – Europe’s history of total war and mass displacement can help create more sympathy for today’s refugees and keep hope alive in the Middle East.

The EU is torn between criticising and cheering China

EU-China 1April 2015 – At 40, EU-China relations are going through a midlife crisis. Is Europe living up to its human rights values or focusing on the value-added of trade?

Young and futureless in Iraq under ISIS

April 2015 – Mosul’s youth are desperate, disillusioned and terrified because “ISIS will never let us have a future, we could die any second.”

Dispelling the curse of the Nile

April 2015 – Conflict between Nile basin countries has been averted. But unless effective action is taken, a water war remains a distinct future possibility.

Viking AllahThe Viking Allah

April 2015 – A mysterious ring in a dead Viking woman’s tomb shows how Northern Europeans came into contact with Muslims and Islam before even becoming Christian.

In the 1960s, Sunni Saudi Arabia backed royalist forces seeking to restore the Zaidi Imam Muhammad Badr to the throne.

In the 1960s, Sunni Saudi Arabia backed royalist forces seeking to restore the Zaidi Imam Muhammad Badr to the throne.

The self-fulfilling prophesy of the Sunni v Shia myth

March 2015 – Like in Syria and Iraq, the conflict in Yemen is not sectarian. But political profiteers and jihadists  are turning it into a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Netanyahu and the Middle East: The risky business of “business as usual”

'Business as usual' following Netanyahu's re-election is a risky venture.  Image: https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/572859186972766209

‘Business as usual’ following Netanyahu’s re-election is a risky venture.

March 2015 – Netanyahu’s re-election promises “business as usual”. But this is an extremely risky venture on the Iranian-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian fronts.

Spring of hope amid winter of despair

March 2015 – For Palestinians in Israel, the recent race for the Knesset was both the worst of elections and the best.

The mystery of Arab joy at Netanyahu’s re-election

March 2015 – When Netanyahu’s election victory was declared, rather than grieve, Arabs in Israel were out on the streets celebrating.

Voting for Palestinian liberation

Voting for change. Joint List's Ayman Odeh casts his ballot.

Voting for change. Joint List’s Ayman Odeh casts his ballot.

March 2015 – Active and effective Arab political participation in the next Knesset can be a game changer, shifting the Palestinian struggle towards civil rights.

Living in a selfie-centred world

This self-portrait of Robert Cornelius could be the world's first photographic selfie.

This self-portrait of Robert Cornelius could be the world’s first photographic selfie.

March 2015 – The selfie fad has reached epidemic proportions, but we don’t live in more narcissistic times. Selfie-absorption is as old as civilisation itself.

4 and ½ reasons why listicles are cancerous

March 2015 – Though they may go viral, like viruses (or even journalistic cancer), listicles are bound to kill off their host eventually.