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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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»

Soviet Neocons

Soviet Neocons

One of the difficulties of critically discussing the Soviet-Afghan war is conceptually imagining Soviet imperialism. Many leftists are hesitant to condemn the nature of Soviet militarism in countries like Afghanistan. While there are understandable reasons for this, it misses the crucial point. More»

Scarlet Jihad

Scarlet Jihad

Jihad is not just an obsession in my country of Pakistan. The entire region has become enamoured with the idea, even as it rejects Salafi jihadist groups such as Al-Qaida and the Taliban. It is not because of a debate between liberalism and conservatism, or whether or not Islam is compatible with Enlightenment values. It is because for many Muslims, Islamism is the new post-Soviet Marxism.  More»

Towards Interstellar Islam

Towards Interstellar Islam

What will Islam look like in five billion years? It is our responsibility as Muslims to find an answer. Readers may scoff at the inquiry as childish, but if humanity really does survive that long (and what’s the point if we assume that it won’t?) then we have to grapple with the question of how our faith will look in the distant future.   More»

NASA Viral Bait Futurology

NASA Viral Bait Futurology

Nafeez Ahmed has written a piece for The Guardian’s Earth Insight that is getting a lot of attention. It is no wonder, since he reports on a paper called “A Minimal Model for Human and Nature Interaction” which uses mathematical models to argue that industrial civilization will not continue in its current form. It isn’t actually as bad as it sounds.  More»

Putin and the Jew

Putin and the Jew

As the Ukrainian revolution continues, the spectre of “The Jew” has once again reared its head. Rather than on the streets of Kiev, though, it is being seen a bit more subtly in Putin’s official homophobia. It has been made especially obvious by Russian-language assertions that the Euromaidan revolt was part of a larger “international gay conspiracy.” More»

Hating the Ahmaddiya

Hating the Ahmaddiya

I grew up hating Ahmaddiya Muslims. It’s almost a ritual for Pakistani Muslims, especially in the deeply pious newly middle class. Even calling them Muslims will bother many of my family members: we all grew up using the pejorative “Qadiani.” We hated them with a vehemence that somehow rivaled our disgust for Sikhs and Hindus, though maybe it’s all part of the same thing. More»

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