Bilal Ahmed

Bilal Ahmed is a writer and activist. He is currently preparing for his dissertation, which will compare tribal structures, and state relations, in Pakistan and Yemen.


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The Sachsenhausen Muslim

The Sachsenhausen Muslim

I grew up hearing rumours about the Jews. They were at once our puppet masters and minions of Shaytan; filthy beggars and degenerate elites; supporters of the Red Army and Balochi insurrectionists. I replayed the fairy tales in my head as I took the S1 train up to Sachsenhausen. I never believed them. More»

Juma Calling

Juma Calling

When I was a child, my mother used to blow on me gently after namaz. It was a folk custom meant to cleanse me of her transgressions, and protect me from the djinn. I did my Juma prayers at Berlin’s Türk Sehitlik mosque seeking that same type of maternal protection. More»

Fear of a Populist Europe

Fear of a Populist Europe

For weeks, the European press has been citing polls indicating that populist, anti-immigrant parties are poised to make major gains in EU parliamentary elections starting May 22nd. If the predictions turn out to be true, the far-right expects to take approximately 15 per cent of seats in Parliament. This is almost double their showing in the 2009 elections, and includes parties ranging from UKIP to Golden Dawn. More»

Tasbih Islam

Tasbih Islam

I come from a Pakistani Deobandi family that venerates tasbih: short utterances in praise of Allah, marked off by a misbahah. Like many Muslims, I grew up with a mother that would assist me with challenges by locking herself in dhikhr. More»

Pan-Slavic Milkmaids

Pan-Slavic Milkmaids

I was one of many ecstatic Eurovision viewers when Austrian drag artist Conchita Wurst won the contest on Saturday night. It was an uplifting moment at a deeply politicized competition, which also featured a Polish contribution by Donatan and Cleo that made me very uncomfortable. More»

The UKIP Muslim

The UKIP Muslim

UKIP Daily contributor Byron Sanford has written a revealing article called “Moderate Muslims Must Vote for UKIP.” Admittedly, I knew it would be offensive from the outset. After all, Sanford wrote a piece a few weeks ago that called halal Subway sandwiches “an affront to the common man.”  More»

Confused Americans in Pakistan

Confused Americans in Pakistan

Pakistan’s ongoing deterioration has produced a sub-genre of journalism that is obsessed with how confusing it seems. Nahal Toosi has written the latest example for Politico. While the main subject is the Abbotobad raid, Toosi also dissects the apparent contradictions of Pakistani politics. More»

Hassled by Neo-Nazis

Hassled by Neo-Nazis

I was harassed by neo-Nazis in Görlitzer Park. It was the night before an NPD rally in Berlin, and I was in the center of a large group of suburbanites who were dancing to techno, and looking at me strangely. More»

Qutb and the Jews

Qutb and the Jews

For all of Sayyid Qutb’s positive contributions to the Muslim world (and there were a few, despite his influence on figures like Osama Bin Laden) we cannot ignore the negatives. The most infamous is his pivotal role in inspiring modern Islamic anti-Semitism with his influential work Our Struggle Against the Jews (1950). The irony is that Qutb often sounds very Jewish. More»

Rise of Javid

Rise of Javid

David Cameron’s Tories have become enamored with the British-Pakistani banker Sajid Javid. The danger of this cannot be understated. Unlike Cameron’s other token efforts, like Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Javid actually has a chance of being successful. More»

Qutb's Communism

Qutb’s Communism

For all his shortcomings, I find Sayyid Qutb to be treated somewhat unfairly. This was probably inevitable. After all, Qutb’s prison writings as a disenchanted member of the Muslim Brotherhood helped inspire two of the region’s most fear-inducing ideologies: Islamism, and Salafi jihadism. More»

Muhammad the Anti-Capitalist

Muhammad the Anti-Capitalist

Would the Prophet Muhammad have been anti-capitalist?  Obviously, we cannot know. The Prophet’s experiences with mystical poetry, called “Revelation” by believing Muslims, are firmly grounded in their historical setting. They cannot offer direct insight on capitalism any more than they can provide a critique of Italian Futurism More»

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