Rhetorical Bullshit – Islam And Racism

I'm sick of this one. It's in the news again after a survey studying Australian attitudes to Muslims. Islam is a religion, not a race. In fact Islam freely embraces converts from any ethnic group.

The Causes Of Islamic Extremism

There was an interesting exchange of opinion in the pages of last week's The Age. It began with a short opinion piece by Rachel Woodlock called Anti-Muslim tub thumping creates fodder for extremists which was followed two days later by Muslim violence a fact, not prejudice by Anglican vicar, Mark Durie. In the essay section of this site are two essays Blood Brotherhoods and Is Islam a Religion of Peace? The first essay looks at the problem of terrorism and gang violence from a Jungian perspective and does not isolate Islam as unique (it discusses all forms of terrorism and [...]

Nicolas Kristof On Islam

An odd article by Nicolas Kristof appeared this week: Moving forward in the the Middle East. Odd, because it contained this comment:

European And American Imperialism In The ME

This is something that's been nagging me ever since John Pilger appeared on last week's Q&A. Yeah, I know, it's Pilger and his views are well known. But what annoyed me is that he must take us as fools, especially when he trots out the old socialist line that the problems of the ME are due to the sins of British, French and US imperialism. Does he think we can't read history for ourselves? The major flaw in this tired 'socialist' view is that it ignores the Ottoman Empire and the fact that the Ottomans sided with the Central Powers [...]

Why Islam Confounds Progressives

As I write this I hear that Mubarak has finally resigned. This news is just one piece of a complex puzzle that continues to confound political progressives. The problem is actually simple. I know because I am a political progressive and have discussed this issue with other progressives many times. The political progressives' first instinct is to blame their own political culture for the faults of the world. Somehow, if the West was not so imperialist, if it did things differently, then we would not have the problems we have today. This is incredibly self-centered and ignores the historical and [...]

Paul McGeough On The Middle East

I respect Paul's opinion. He has travelled throughout the ME and knows the complexities of the region. This is why I find the final words in his recent article, Middle East echoes siren call of freedom so jarring.

Egypt And The Middle East: Revolution Or Evolution?

In my novel Navaratri the protagonist Gabe travels to Israel and the Gaza Strip. There he meets a number of characters that reflect the different shades of the long-standing conflict in the region. One such character is DJ Sheik-in-da-house, an Ismaeli Sufi engaged in a cyber war against the Sunni hardliners of Hamas - Hamas being an offshoot of the neighbouring Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. But my interest in this conflict extends beyond my novels to a series of essays I wrote for Integral World (which includes Is Islam a Religion of Peace?). So I have been watching the current upheavals [...]

The Anthropology Of Sex: Sexual Maturity

This is a controversial and highly contested issue in industrialized countries. I say 'industrialized' because it's a bit of a non-issue amongst pre-industrial cultures. When is an individual mature enough to engage in sexual activity? What is the evidence from anthropology?

The Naked Child In Art: The New Arguments Against

My novel Navaratri explores the nature of the erotic in art. To date I have only been exploring just some of the research that went into the novel, and only in regard to the first section (I haven't even begun to tackle the themes in the latter sections of the book). One of those themes is the conflict between the classical view of the naked body, which celebrated it as a thing of beauty, and the Judeo-Christian view, which sees it as a thing of shame. This conflict has waxed and waned throughout the history of art, from time to [...]

Nazanin Afshin-Jam

In developing the characters for my novels I am often amazed how, well after the fact, I find out just how plausible they are. In Navaratri Gabe travels to the Gaza strip to escort a young Arab Christian model called Aliyah into Israel. She tells him that she sees a modelling career as a stepping stone to human rights work. Just recently I found out about Nazanin Afshin-Jam, an Iranian model, singer and human rights activist.