The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Naqshbandi Army (an alliance of Ba’athists-cum-Islamists) took Mosul this week, and has advanced on Kirkuk and Tikrit, the latter being Saddam Hussein’s birthplace. Their offensive, which has sent 500,000 people fleeing northern Iraq and been a fiscal windfall for the group after it robbed city banks, was coordinated with other militias, but ISIS is the leading player. (More…)

This week marks the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Mainstream Western analyses of the events in Beijing tend to focus on an ill-defined demand for liberal democracy. Personally, I have always understood the protests as part of an ideological legitimacy crisis that also affects Pakistan. (More…)

Like many people, I was too optimistic about the June uprising that toppled Mohammed Morsi. I assumed that it would make inevitable struggles for a wider democratization of Egyptian society, and with it, the rest of the Muslim world. (More…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

As the crisis unfolds in Ukraine, with Vladimir Putin attempting to  annex Crimea in a manner similar to Abkhazia and South Ossetia during the 2008 Georgian war, right-wing Americans are finding a way to blame President Obama. The assertion, which has dominated U.S. cable news, is that Obama’s lack of global leadership has allowed these events to take place.  (More…)

The Euromaidan protests have resulted in the second Ukrainian revolution in a decade. However, you wouldn’t know that based on progressive coverage in the West, much of which has settled on the idea that they engineered a fascist coup.  (More…)

Last week, Ellen Page came out of the closet during the Human Rights Campaign’s THRIVE conference. As a fan of the actress, I was thrilled. However, as someone of Pakistani ancestry, I think that celebrities coming out is a good opportunity to discuss why it’s an unfair expectation to have for all gays and lesbians. (More…)

Water is finally being discussed, however disingenuously, in regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. But actually, water needs to be understood as a fundamental reason for the ongoing occupation. It came to the fore this week when the EU Parliamentary President mentioned it in his speech in the Knesset. (More…)