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 Crisis of Tabloid Islam

The Crisis of Tabloid Islam

We’re in familiar territory. Newsweek‘s recent cover story, Muslim Rage: How I Survived It and How We Can End It, is unsurprising given the ferocity of recent anti-blasphemy protests. Terrified, Western media have spent the past fortnight asking “Why are Muslims upset?” and, in reference to the Benghazi killings, “How can this happen in a country we helped liberate?” More»

Syrians Take Aim

Syrians Take Aim

The Syrian civil war has caused an explosion of political graffiti, cartoons, and flyers in the country’s many Diasporas. The following examples, which contain many Syrian slang words, were photographed in Berlin last month. They give an impression of increased bitterness and radicalization directed against an autocrat who, little over a year ago, was said to be unaffected by the Arab Spring. More»

Arab Spring and the New Left

Arab Spring and the New Left

Eighteen months ago, we flooded public squares across the Middle East. We sought to situate ourselves against the old order, en-nizaam – the regime. En-nizaam meant more than just Hosni Mubarak and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. It referred to an entire way of doing things, one that mired the region in dysfunction when the old empires finally collapsed.  More»

Rape and Revolution

Rape and Revolution

Shall I respond violently? No. The bloody mist that hangs above the ancient cities- Jalalabad, Quetta, Peshawar- reeks of vengeance. Shall I grieve endlessly? No. I am weary of perpetual sadness. I will not pout among clouds of opium like the ghosts of Khorramshahr. More»

Tahrir Via Nintendo

Tahrir Via Nintendo

I recently traveled to Tahrir Square in order to gain a richer perspective on the Egyptian Revolution. I was in Tahrir for the period immediately after the runoff elections, when the country was gripped with uncertainty regarding its final outcome. The graffiti on Mohamed Mahmoud street has been seen globally. These new designs are particularly evocative of the square’s current atmosphere. More»

The Pakistani Radical

The Pakistani Radical

He was a casually dressed man in his fifties. He greeted me colloquially, and asked me if I wanted anything to drink. “I’d love some orange juice,” I responded. Referring to the man behind him, he said: “Watch for the paranoid schizophrenic back there. He’s bothering that couple and they don’t know what to do about it.” More»

Reverse Exodus Narrative

Reverse Exodus Narrative

I was one of thousands protesting all over Cairo last week, and of dozens who spent their weekends in Tahrir Square during the first anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s February 2011 resignation. The euphoria has faded, and much of the Arab Spring’s optimism has turned to cynicism. However, this is why I believed that February 2012 was the best time to finally travel there. More»

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