Category: Articles (Page 2 of 3)

Displaced Homes

A lush, green beautiful valley. In Chingiz Samedzadeh and Yulya Rusyayeva’s photograph, which features in British Council’s Close to Home

exhibition, the natural beauty of the scenery is spoiled by a road that runs right through the valley. But there is more in the photograph than meets the eye. The road is also a border; it divides two warring states, Azerbaijan and Armenia. One on side of the road, there is ‘home’. On the other side, ‘displacement’.

But what is ‘home’? Is it something more than just an address, just the building where we reside, just the valley that … Read More

My Work

“As you surf the Net, read newspapers, blogs and tweets, watch YouTube and merge yourself in gossip, consider how little all the multiplicity of information available tells you about anything that is not of the West, derivative of the history, ideas, experience and technology of that dispensation. There is a coherent historic narrative out there – but it is the narrative of the gradual expansion of consciousness, will to power, dominance and self expression of a peninsula to the north of the Mediterranean Sea called Europe and its offshoot over the waters, the USA. It is the story that has … Read More

A Garden of Identities: Multiple Selves and Other Futures

I close my eyes and think of a future world. A visionary world, thirty, forty years from today. A world not of new humanity but a plethora of old and new humanities. A world where more than one of way of being human is not only the norm but is considered essential for the very survival of our species. This is the world as a garden.

Gardens, by the very fact that they are gardens, consist of a plethora of different plants. There are all variety of hurdy perennials that flower year after year. There are the annuals and the … Read More

The Erasure of Islam

One cannot have a revolt on behalf of reason in Islam because reason is central to its worldview: reason is the other side of revelation and the Qur’an presents both as ‘signs of God’. A Muslim society cannot function without either.

Ziauddin Sardar on the shadow cast over Islamic culture by the Enlightenment.

What Enlightenment? It may have been good for Europe, but for the rest of the world in general, and Islam in particularly, the Enlightenment was a disaster. Despite their stand for freedom and liberty, reason and liberal thought, Enlightenment thinkers saw the non-West as irrational and inferior,

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Forward to Black Skin, White Masks

Black Skin, White Masks by Franz Fanon, Pluto, London, 2008

I think it would be good if certain thing were said: Fanon and the Epidemiology of Oppression

(Direct quotations from Black Skin, White Masks are set in italics)

The opening gambit of Black Skin, White Masks ushers us towards an imminent experience: the explosion will not happen today. But a type of explosion is about to unfold in the text in front of us, in the motivations it seeks, in the different world it envisages and aims to create. We are presented with a series of statements,

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Talking or Shouting? Religion and Public Space

31st Corbishley Memorial Lecture, London27th November 2008
(written text of the lecture prepared by Professor Sardar)

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel honoured to be invited to deliver this year’s Corbishley Lecture. I must begin by taking issue with my assigned subject. Far from talking or shouting, it seems to me organised religion is in retreat in Britain’s public space, reduced to a muffled whisper if not exactly a dying whimper. This may seem a strange judgement from a member of a faith most associated in the public mind with bangs! However, I am clear in my own mind

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Between Two Masters: Qur’an or Science?

The headline in the Bulletin of the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa announces a staggering discovery. Canadian scholar confirms Quran and Ahadith on Human Embryology (1). The story tells us that a certain Dr Keith Moore, Chairman of the anatomy department of the University of Torontos School of Medicine, has discovered the happy marriage between the Islamic revelation and contemporary human developmental anatomy. I am amazed at the scientific accuracy of these statements which were made in the seventh centuryIt is quite reasonable for Muslims to believe that these verses are revelations from God, Moore is reported to have

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British, Muslim, Writer

I. I hate winters.

The one in 1962 was particularly bad. Months of sub-zero temperatures, they skated on the frozen Thames that year – just as Dickens wrote. And the snow! It piled up everywhere and refused to budge, week after week. How on earth could one play guli danda in weather like that? Try as I might it was impossible to shape a snowball into the pointed guli, the torpedo shaped piece of wood, to launch into orbit with a determined whack from the danda, a large flat stick. The snowballs disintegrated on collision with any hard object. Anyway,

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Children and Tomorrow

I am sitting in my study, in front of my PC, writing this article on how we perceive children nowadays. Behind me my daughter Maha, 7 this month, is drawing on my ‘reporter’s pad’. Whenever I get stuck, which is about every other sentence, I turn around to ask Maha a few questions. ‘Maha’, I say at one juncture, ‘What would you like to see in the future?’. Even before I have finished the question I begin to feel foolish. After all, what perception can a child of seven possibly have of the future? ‘You mean tomorrow?’ she asks.
‘No. … Read More


I discovered the meaning of globalisation in Singapore. Indeed, the moment one arrives at the city-states Changi Airport, one can see globalisation running riot in an impersonal consumerist cornucopia of designer labels. Changi Airport is also dedicated to being the worlds premier transport hub. From here you can go anywhere ushered along by the ubiquitous Singapore Girl, as the much advertised stewdardess of the national airline are known. Whenever I arrive in the building, I leave as rapidly as possible, hoping for a talkative ride into Singapore city centre, courtesy of a local taxi driver.

And that is how the … Read More

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