Logo

Essays

How Islam Settled Roe v. Wade Centuries Ago

Islam: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

In Islam, abortion is permissible in many cases, like fear of not providing for the child. Sex outside of marriage also falls into this category. One fatwa states that abortion is fine for a single mother, maybe even better if she will face social stigma.

Rebranding Foods for Political Consumption: a Long Tradition

Food and Politics: Just Beefing

For generations, people have been renaming foods for political reasons. Although Americans in our time are infamous for changing French fries to freedom fries, they aren’t the only folks who’ve put politics on the plate that way. Indeed, everyone from the French and Russians to the Iranians and Arabs has done something similar in the past 150 years. And they’ve done so while otherwise naming and handling foods politically, sometimes during strategic struggles and sometimes to score cheap jingoistic points.

A 13th-Century Text Teaches Us About Arabs and Europeans

A 13th-Century Text Teaches Us About Arabs and Europeans

Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, an archbishop of Toledo in the 13th century, wrote an unusual book on the history of the Arabs. Although the prologue states a clear hostility to Islam, the content is much more nuanced — and can teach us about different notions of tolerance and coexistence.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
The Suffering of Crimea’s Tatars

The Suffering of Crimea’s Tatars

In 2022, in their latest struggle for freedom from Russian imperialism, many Tatars have contributed and helped Ukraine to continue defying the invaders. The memory of pain and history of repression is the basis of Tatars’ support for Ukraine’s defense, though Muslim neighbors with similar historical experiences of brutal violence unleashed by Russians — like some Chechens — have openly joined their oppressor’s side.

Riada Asimovic Akyol
The Realm of the Devil and the Destroyers of Rome

The Realm of the Devil and the Destroyers of Rome

In Europe, the North was considered the realm of the devil, the place from whence evil would come upon the world, whereas the Middle East was where the religions of the Old World had developed. But at the turn of the 19th century, people wanted to see it for themselves.

Bernd Brunner
The Algerians of New Caledonia

The Algerians of New Caledonia

Over 2,000 insurgents, among them leaders of the revolt, faced trial in Constantine, Algeria, where they were presented not as anti-colonial leaders but as petty criminals. Because most of the men hailed from noble families, however, the French were wary of sentencing them to death. Instead, they decided to exile the men to the farthest place imaginable: New Caledonia.

Chahrazade Douah,
Mélissa Godin
The Life of a Medieval Envoy Illuminates Forgotten Histories

The Life of a Medieval Envoy Illuminates Forgotten Histories

Both the Abbasid ambassador Ahmad ibn Fadlan and the 19th-century Turkologist who rediscovered him have much to say about how their societies understood themselves — and how we understand ourselves, too.

Tam Hussein