[Image credits: New York Times and Dinuka Liyanawatte] June 17, 2014

A librarian for the pages of history

June 12, 2014

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Laurens Hesselink at his stand at the Sharjah International Book Fair

Laurens Hesselink has made it his life’s work to preserve priceless ancient books and manuscripts dating back to the 15th century As written for Gulf News (June 12, 2014) Looking after what was quite possibly the most valuable stand at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, was renowned antiquarian Laurens Hesselink and owner of Antiquariaat […]

French explorer Gibran Hasnaoui globe-Trots to combat Anti-Islam sentiment

April 15, 2014

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Gibran Hasnaoui (Photo credits - Wafaa El Yazid)

As written for The National (April 15, 2014) When the French national Gibran Hasnaoui first landed in the UAE in 2010, he had no idea that the next two years would send him in a direction he could never have fathomed. Although born into Islam, Hasnaoui never felt a connection with God – or his […]

Loss and Laughter in Dubai’s Labour Camps

March 1, 2014

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22 Champ

As written for The Platform (March 01, 2014) Mahmoud Kaabour explains how his new docu-film, Champ of the Camp, delves deeply into Dubai’s notorious camps to expose feelings of pain and yearning  We just separated only yesterday But how will I live in this condition for ages Death didn’t come, but why have your memories come Oh long […]

The Trials of Ease – Reflections of a Forehead Well-Traveled

February 3, 2014

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(Image via MuslimMatters.org)

As written for MuslimMatters (February 03, 2014) In Ramaḍān, from the balcony of my flat in the United Arab Emirates, I can hear the boom of a cannon fired from a few kilometres away signalling the end of a day’s fast. Following immediately is the call to the Maghrib prayer – 3 different adhāns in […]

The Real GoodFellas

December 23, 2013

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Mural on a New York City subway train - depicting the diversity of the city.

Disclaimer: By posting this, in no way do I intend to invalidate/dilute the increasing stream of incidents reflecting anti-Muslim hate.  I do believe however, that Islamophobic sentiment is also inadvertently creating a reverse bias, where Muslims (especially in the Arab World) are beginning to generically hate on the West and the people who represent it […]

Must Wedding Bells Go Ka-Ching? -A Muslim Perspective On The Wedding Industry

November 20, 2013

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Bride_Groom_Peg_People

As written for Muslim Matters (November 20, 2013) When it was confirmed that I was to be married and the dates for the event set, family members went into a flurried pseudo-state of panic and anticipation. We have a wedding to plan! The dress! The venue! The guest list! The frenzy that ensued soon began to seep […]

Ramadan Musings

July 28, 2013

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Muslim children attend a special evening Ramadan prayer at the Juma Masjid July 10, 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka (via Yahoo! Maktoob / Getty Images)

As written for Yahoo! Maktoob (July 24, 2013) To anyone looking to truly appreciate Ramadan, I would say: put on those blinders. Block out the clichéd crescent-themed commercialism lacing the highways – the hawking of seasonal sugar syrups competing with the peddling of fast food all-you-can-eats. Ignore the ostentatious Ramadan tents and the allure of their […]

Must We Have A Day

June 20, 2013

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flipping-calendar-pages

Today they say, is refugee day So the world remembers us, or so they say When the only one thing soothed, hugged and told “it’ll all be alright” Is their conscience. Must we have a day In your calendar of goodwill?   Striking in hunger for those millions of empty plates.  Lighting candles in vigil […]

Posted in: Blogpost, Poetry, Society

Dubai’s Reading Cafes

May 14, 2013

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Book Munch in Al Wasl Square, Jumeirah (image provided by Book Munch)

As written for The National, UAE (May 14, 2013) Another fun round-up for the lit lot. At a time when a true appreciation of literature is seemingly on the demise, thanks to the doomsayer-esque allure of technology and its de-romanticisation of the written word, Dubai seems to be witnessing a sudden revivalist surge in the promotion of […]

Dignity in the Time of Islamophobia

March 29, 2013

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Tianmen

Following months of an incendiary campaign against Muslims in Sri Lanka, a Muslim-owned fashion store was attacked last evening by mobs of hate-mongers led by men in the saffron garb of Buddhist monks. I refuse to dignify these robed madmen by associating them with the religion they claim to represent, just as I would be […]

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