All the people, so many people - Blur and me

the guardian, september 4, 2015

Attending Blur's Hyde Park concert this summer was an occasion to recall the circumstances under which I fell in love with them - 21 years ago, homesick in New Delhi

Stop calling for a Muslim Enlightenment

the guardian, february 19, 2015

In this essay for the Guardian's Long Reads I argue that, contra the current received wisdom, Muslims have been adapting and modernising since the beginning of the nineteenth century. 

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'Europe's premier misanthrope' - Michel Houellebecq's Soumission - review

the guardian, february 7, 2015

Michel Houellebecq's latest novel describing France under Islamic rule is a preposterous fantasy with a kernel of truth


Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent - review

the guardian, july 23, 2014

Innes Bowen has written an invaluable book about British Islam

No One Is Blameless

The New York Review Blog, February 17, 2014

Q: Why would anyone want to go to the cinema to watch the frail outgrowth of the future suffocated under the weight of the past, and finally to be reminded, because the characters cannot be dismissed as bad or even unsympathetic, that there is something in them of ourselves?

A: Because the film in question is another masterpiece by Asghar Farhadi. 


Francis Bacon in the Islamic Republic

The Guardian, October 7, 2005

The finest collection of 20th-century western art outside Europe and America had been gathering dust in storage. Why? Because its owner, the Islamic Republic of Iran, wanted things that way. Until 2005, that is, when for a few weeks Tehran became MOMA.