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 Mecca Cleaners Strike

The Mecca Cleaners Strike

In November 2013, thousands of street cleaners in Mecca went on strike. The move was triggered by South Asian workers, primarily, complaining that intense police harassment was accompanying an immigration crackdown. More»

The Women of ISIS

The Women of ISIS

The al-Khansa Brigade, which has become infamous for recruiting female jihadists, released an Arabic-language manifesto on January 23rd. It is likely no coincidence that this was the same published on the same day as death of Saudi Arabi’s King Abdullah. It is obviously targeted at Arab women, hailing from the Persian Gulf.  More»

Terrorists and Human Sacrifice

Terrorists and Human Sacrifice

It has been a few months since a major attack on Army Public School in Peshawar. As a result, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has signed off on additional state violence through the National Action Plan for counter-terrorism, and a faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban has taken responsibility for an attack on Lahore’s police headquarters in mid-February. The pattern is predictable. More»

Feminising Islamic Militarism

Feminising Islamic Militarism

Since the War on Terror began, and especially since the rise of Islamic State, analysts have been alarmed by female jihadists. Maybe “alarmed” is the wrong word. Bewildered seems more appropriate. Regardless, the topic is quickly becoming an industry in its own right. More»

How Not to Analyze Yemen

How Not to Analyze Yemen

The situation in Yemen continues to degenerate faster than the media can analyze it. Since the Houthi seizure of power on Tuesday, there has been a flurry of negotiations, protests, counterattacks, and even outright declarations of independence in the restive south.  More»

Ceaușescu's Egypt

Ceaușescu’s Egypt

Many analysts have become cynical about the Arab spring as a result of events in Egypt. There is certainly cause for it, especially since General al-Sisi is consolidating military rule while establishing a new cult of personality. Personally, I’m not hopeless. There is a trajectory to cults of personality that always has the opportunity to end abruptly, as was the case of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania.  More»

Blaming British Muslims

Blaming British Muslims

Within days of the French terrorist attacks, BBC One’s Panorama aired a documentary appropriately titled After Paris: The Battle for British Islam. Thirty seconds in, the fear mongering starts, featuring a video of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, set to a tense Hollywood-style soundtrack.  More»

Pakistan vs. Charlie Hebdo

Pakistan vs. Charlie Hebdo

According to the Centre for Research and Security Studies, 7,655 Pakistanis died in 2014 as a result of terrorism, militant attacks, drone strikes, sectarian violence, targeted killings, and security operations. Its report was released the same week as the Charlie Hebdo murders, which caused international outcry, and massive unity marches, in France. More»

Abandoning Earth

Abandoning Earth

Science fiction has become obsessed with the idea of humanity abandoning Earth. It is not just movies like Interstellar, which was a smash hit this year. Audiences identify with the theme of resignation in the genre. More»

Top Five Shariati Quotes for 2014

Top Five Shariati Quotes for 2014

Parisian-educated Iranian intellectual Ali Shariati has been severely discredited as an ideologue of the Islamic Revolution. Despite that, the turmoil of this year calls for a reexamination of his work. Shariati made critical insights that are necessary to move beyond 2014’s bloody malaise.  More»

Blame Pakistan

Blame Pakistan

After Wednesday’s attack that left over 100 children dead, Pakistan wants blood. Khoon ka badla khoon. It is this impulse towards revenge that explains why Pakistan is facing such violence in the first place, and how it must reform itself.  More»

Americans, Thugs and Nazis

Americans, Thugs and Nazis

During the summer of 2001, then-Director of the CIA George Tenet warned the Senate Intelligence Committee of a possible major terrorist attack in the United States. He did not specify its time, location, or method. The rest is history. More»

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