Saudi Arabia and the Dangers of Cultural Reformation

Western absurdities and sinful projects. The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) certainly had a colorful way of describing cinemas and concerts in a bulletin it issued on June 1st. The terrorist organization condemned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for “opening the door wide for corruption and moral degradation” with his plan of … More Saudi Arabia and the Dangers of Cultural Reformation

More than a Song: Domestic Violence Tackled in Elissa’s Ya Merayti

 Lebanese superstar Elissa’s most recent music video is also her most serious: “Ya Merayti” (“My Mirror”) features Elissa as a domestic abuse survivor. Shunning the romantic lovey-dovey storylines popular with Arab music videos the clip, shot on location in Serbia, brings to light a problem that is all too familiar for plenty of Arab women, yet, … More More than a Song: Domestic Violence Tackled in Elissa’s Ya Merayti

Long Skirts VS Underwear: The Control of Women’s Bodies Continues

Dress codes come in all different shapes and sizes: some are strict and rigid, backed up by local laws or the rules of an establishment; others are more cultural ‘suggestions’ backed up by the frowns (and likely harassment) of a certain community. Dress codes serve different purposes: some are meant to unify; some are safety … More Long Skirts VS Underwear: The Control of Women’s Bodies Continues

Breathing You In: The Arab Music Video Goes International

Controversial Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe is at it again with her first English-language single Breathing You In, released on April 14th. The accompanying music video, shot by international Palestinian music director Tarik Freitekh (see picture below) in Las Vegas, has predictably taken the Arab world by storm, as all her music videos usually do. Haifa is the … More Breathing You In: The Arab Music Video Goes International

EuroTrip 2015: Islam and Judaism in Europe

On December 27th, 2014 I embarked on a 13-day Eurotrip which lead me through 5 different countries, accompanied by my sister for three of them. Although my plans of visiting Muslim places of interest were dashed due to time constraints, locations and preferences, I did get some great exposure to Jewish Europe. A recap: Budapest, Hungary Muslims have had a … More EuroTrip 2015: Islam and Judaism in Europe

Observations from Harvard Arab Weekend 2014

For four days each November leading academics, businesspeople and other personalities converge on the world’s most famous institution for Harvard Arab Weekend. Sponsored by the Harvard Alumni Association and other Middle East/North Africa student organizations, this conference, billed as the ‘largest pan-Arab conference in North America” according to its website, discusses the most important issues … More Observations from Harvard Arab Weekend 2014