Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) Birthday and Houthi Political Exploitation

For years the Houthis have exploited the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed for political gain: in 2017 they used it to overthrow their one-time ally, former President Saleh; in 2016, they used it to raise funds, and now they are using it they are using it to recruit new fighters.

Passport

Arab Youth is Changing Tattoo Culture in the Middle East

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have a long history of tattoo art. Once considered a sign of beauty, its popularity declined in many regions because of negative social stigma and the fact that Islam prohibits tattoos. Recently, young Arabs have begun to embrace tattooing once again, and they are changing people’s perception of tattoos.
Frankincense, a Gift to the Newborn Jesus, Still Does Wonders

Frankincense, a Gift to the Newborn Jesus, Still Does Wonders

Frankincense, one of the gifts bestowed upon the newborn baby Jesus by the biblical Magi (the Three Wise Men), has been ...

Curtailing Conflict Across the Arab World: Former Yemeni Human Rights Minister Calls for Dialogue

With the Arab world seemingly in constant conflict with no imminent prospects for peace, one world leader outlines her vision of the road to peace in the MENA region.

Coffee: The Lost Treasure of Yemen

Yemenis played a significant role in introducing coffee -- the second most traded commodity in the world after oil -- to countries throughout the world. The government's disinterest, however, in preserving the coffee tree and promoting its cultivation has deprived the country of significant revenue.

Culture

Théâtre Nomade in neighborhood of Hay Mohammadi in Casablanca.

In the Balance:  The Circus Comes to Town

Meet circus collective Théâtre Nomade, one of the troupes at the heart of Morocco’s contemporary and vibrant circus culture.

May Ziade: Arab Romantic Poet and Feminist Pioneer

Founder of one of the most famous literary salons in the Arab world during the twenties and thirties of the last century, she was one of the leading female figures of al-Nahda and one of the forerunners in revolutionizing Arabic poetry and prose.

Halabi Bookshop Provides a Unique Space for Beirut’s Booklovers

Like many young people in the Arab world, Lana Halabi followed the traditional path to success. She pursed both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business marketing and worked in a prominent retail company in the Middle East. There, she gained experience in fashion ...

Tunisia’s LGBTQ Community Looks Forward to Limited Legal Gains

Tunisia seems poised to shake off the anti-LGBTQ legacy of its French-imposed 1913 Penal Code after a presidential committee proposed decriminalizing same-sex relations.

Opinion

ARABIA THAT WAS

When Bigotry and Intolerance Reigned: The Expulsion of Moriscos from Renaissance Spain

Muslim Moriscos converted to Christianity under duress, faced racial discrimination and systematic marginalization by mainstream Catholic Spaniards in Renaissance Spain. They were eventually exiled from their Iberian homeland, but their legacy remains.

Book Review

Amin Malouf’s Les Désorientés: The Unresolved Legacy of the Lebanese Civil War

An insurmountable grudge between friends stands in for the unresolved trauma of political violence in the story of an expatriate visiting his native Lebanon.

ARABIA THAT IS

Learning Between the Lines Protecting Immigrant Children’s Right to Education In Morocco

Learning Between the Lines: Protecting Immigrant Children’s Right to Education In Morocco

As more sub-Saharan immigrants settle in Morocco, advocacy groups urge the government to ensure education access with comprehensive new immigration laws. Under the Constitution, Morocco guarantees everyone living in the country the right to education. In practice, many immigrant children are left out of the classroom.

IN-DEPTH

Muslim Hajj: From Religious Ritual to Lucrative Business. Mecca

Muslim Hajj: From Religious Ritual to Lucrative Business

Attended annually by two to three million people from all over the world, the Hajj ritual is the fifth pillar of Islam required of Muslims who are able physically and financially to perform it at least once in their lifetime.

Tunisia’s Political Crisis: Domestic Power Dynamics Threaten National Stability

Domestic power dynamics in Tunisia threaten to destabilize the country by weakening governance within North Africa’s fledgling democracy. The political crisis in Tunisia that began earlier this year over whether Prime Minister Youssef Chahed should resign has revealed a ...

Iranian Women Dance on Social Media to Resist Government’s Attempts to Stifle Freedoms

When 19-year old Iranian teenager Maedeh Hojabri filmed videos of herself happily dancing in her bedroom to American and Iranian pop music and posted them on Instagram, she didn’t think she would end up in prison. Iranian authorities clamped down and arrested her without...

UAE Punishes Somalia for Its Stance on Ongoing Gulf Crisis

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) persuaded Bahrain, Egypt, Mauritania, the Maldives, the Comoros, Mauritius, the Yemeni government of Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi, and the Libyan Tobruk regime to break off diplomatic relations with Qatar.

VOICES

Habka Libya's First Manga Initiative Seeks to Promote Creativity

Habka: Libya’s First “Manga Magazine” Overcomes Challenges to Promote Unity Through Creativity...

After civil unrest, it can be hard for people to imagine life going back to “normal.” Normalcy not only implies people returning to living their lives in relative peace and restoring a country’s functioning social, economic, and political institutions again (even if they do so ineffectively), but resurrecting an environment that is conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship that allows creatives to explore their imagination and produce artistic work.   In Libya, a country that continues to suffer from, among many other things, high levels of insecurity, constant power outages, and a currency crisis, it seems that restoring any sense of normalcy is a slow and painful crawl. However, 26-year-old Libyan artist Nouralddeen Alhouni has not let these challenges stand in the way of his creative endeavors. Alhouni is the CEO, editor-in-chief,...

Analysis

Going Through the Back Door: Will UAE Sideline Renewed Iran Sanctions?

Despite sanctions in place against Iran for many years, the United Arab Emirates’ trade with and exports to Iran has grown, making UAE the biggest back door for breaching Western-imposed sanctions. Will anything change now with the latest rounds of sanctions re-imposed on Iran?

Who Will Fall: Mohammed Bin Salman or Upholding Principles?

The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi caused global outrage and put the Saudi crown in a difficult diplomatic position vis-à-vis the international community. But the Arab and Muslim world have remained silent. Will this change with the outcome of the Khashoggi investigation? And what impact will it have on the kingdom’s reputation as the Custodian of the Muslim world’s holiest sites?

Kuwait Looks to Turkey, But Hedges its Bets

Despite intense frictions stemming from conflicting views on the role of political Islam in the post-2011 Arab world, allegations of Emirati involvement in the ...