Latest Publications

  • Kurdish Referendum: Who, What and Why?

    Kurds went to the polls in the hope of making history and beginning the march to an independent state in the eyes of the world. Yet that longed-for result is still far from certain. With such international opposition to their cause, legal disputes at home and the thorny issue of which territories the Kurds should be able to lay claim to, a Kurdish state may remain a pipe dream.

  • Iran-US Relations Under Trump: Hardening Attitudes on Both Sides

    The mounting pressure from Washington has contributed to a hardening of Iranian attitudes towards the US, setting the stage for more instability in the region, if not direct confrontation.

  • Youssef Ziedan, the Egyptian Intellectual Shaking Up Religious Beliefs

    Since winning the Arabic Booker in 2009, he has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of religious extremism and cultural decline in Egypt. His voice is one among a growing number in Egypt calling for cultural change, change that can only happen if Egyptians begin to question dearly held beliefs, especially religious ones.

  • Venom in Verse: War of Words Deepens Gulf Crisis

    Some Twitter users hailed the song for declaring loyalty to the Saudi kingdom. Others criticized the artists for aiding a propaganda campaign against Qatar, arguing that music should not serve political agendas.

  • Muslim Travellers Boost Halal Tourism in Middle East and Asia

    In an article published on Vocativ in December 2013, the most halal, ‘is determined by the availability of halal food, prayer direction indicated in room, whether they serve alcohol, and if there is a hand shower or bidet in bathroom (for ablution before prayer).

  • Who is in Charge in Lebanon? IS Evacuation Deal Highlights Security Split

    Following the announcement of the IS’s evacuation deal, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah seemed to contradict this narrative, describing the victory over IS as an example of the “golden equation” of cooperation between his group, the Lebanese army and the Lebanese people, to which he suggested the Syrian army should be added. That suggestion drew pushback from political factions in Lebanon opposed to the Syrian regime.

  • From Early Beginnings to Modern-Day Shia

    Today, Shiites are divided into numerous sects, the largest being Twelver Shiism. Shiites make up the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan; and they constitute significant minorities in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Tanzania.

  • Alleged Israeli Air Strike on Syrian Weapons Plant Sparks Fears of Renewed Conflict

    According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the alleged Israeli air strike on 7 September 2017 killed or injured at least seven Syrian military personnel. However, such strikes have raised fears of escalating tensions between the two nations or a new war between Israel and its long-time enemy Hezbollah.

  • Controversial Gaza Leader Yahya al-Sinwar Shocks, Surprises

    Palestinians wondered whether al-Sinwar’s 24 years in Israeli prisons had affected his ability to make wise, reasonable decisions that served public interests. Furthermore, they questioned his suitability to lead Hamas, given the many years he had spent away from Palestinian society.

  • From Early Beginnings to Modern-Day Sunnism

    Today, Sunnism is by no means limited to the traditional proto-Sunni model that emerged and flourished in Islam’s early centuries. Sunni movements, institutions, independent thinkers and even ordinary Sunni individuals subscribe to various strands and schools of Sunni Islam – from secularism to political Islam, and from Wahhabism and Salafism to liberal and progressive visions of Islam.

  • Egypt’s Al-Azhar University Increasingly Under State Control

    The Egyptian president has called on al-Azhar repeatedly to reform its religious discourse, especially the fatwas it issues, in order for religion to meet the needs of modern times. He has urged Egyptian clerics to counter the rhetoric of religious extremists in general and the Islamic State (IS) in particular.

  • Love and Work: the Changing Face of Israeli Society

    According to Bank of Israel statistics, employment among Orthodox men has risen from 40 per cent to 50 per cent since 2001.  Ultra-orthodox women are better integrated, with their employment levels rising from below 50 per cent in 2001 to close to 70 per cent, above the OECD average of 60 per cent.