February 23, 2014 |
PARIS - Not long ago, I attended a colloquium of French scientists and philosophers in Corsica, France, called "How to Think About the Future. " With few exceptions, the astrophysicists, economists, physicians and social theorists on hand offered dark visions of tomorrow. A new financial crisis, water and grain shortages, endless war, a general collapse of ecosystems - we were spared no catastrophic scenario. A month earlier, I had been invited by the environmentalist think tank Breakthrough to San Francisco, where I reflected with a group of thinkers on the Schumpeterian economic idea of "creative destruction" and its application to energy production.
February 22, 2014 |
SAN DIEGO - With an assured and intimate voice, playwright and novelist Ayad Akhtar's stories cleverly slide across religion, tradition, sexuality and the dangerous if sometimes comical predicaments endured by Muslims in a post-Sept. 11 world hardened by incendiary politics and "us" versus "them" prejudices. His work is intricately American, revealing the strains and joys of Muslims, many of them immigrants, trying to hold on to their ancestry while assimilating into a nation that celebrates diversity yet takes intense pride - and a degree of security - in counting the ways in which we're the same.
February 17, 2014 |
GAZA CITY - Like many Palestinians, Marwan Hissi has closely followed reports of peace negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. An unemployed father of five living in a refugee community in the Gaza Strip, Hissi says he has a question for American negotiators leading the talks: "Where's Hamas?" The Islamic militant movement, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, has been excluded from the process as U.S. officials work out a preliminary agreement on key issues in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
February 4, 2014 |
BEIRUT - He loves sushi, AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. He could be killed at any moment but vows to marry "a beautiful, righteous Muslim girl" as soon as he finds one. He proclaims a "love for justice" but defends beheadings, battlefield executions and sectarian killing. He scorns democracy and extols a fundamentalist interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law. Welcome to the virtual world of Chechclearr, the Internet handle of a self-described Islamic militant who says he is fighting as an Islamist rebel in Syria but also has time to post a copious amount of pictures and comments on the Internet.
February 3, 2014 |
BEIRUT - The general command of Al Qaeda has disavowed one of its best-known and most successful affiliates, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is waging a brutal guerrilla war in both Middle Eastern nations. Apparently angered by the group's growing power and autonomy, Al Qaeda's Pakistani-based central command issued a blunt statement saying that the Islamic State is "not a branch of Al Qaeda," has no "organizational relationship" with Al Qaeda and its actions cannot be linked to Al Qaeda.
January 24, 2014 |
CAIRO -- One of Egypt's loveliest but lesser-known museums was a casualty of a powerful bomb on Friday targeting a police headquarters directly across the street. The stately 19th century Museum of Islamic Art in downtown Cairo, filled with precious cultural objects such as manuscripts, astrolabes and ceramics, was badly damaged by the early-morning blast. The explosion, one of three blasts Friday that killed five people in the city, shattered windows, knocked off big chunks of masonry from the museum's ornate facade, and left a tangle of wires in the entryway.