Logo
Kareem Shaheen

Kareem Shaheen

Middle East and Newsletters Editor

Kareem Shaheen is Middle East and Newsletters Editor at New Lines magazine. Prior to his work with the magazine he was a Middle East correspondent for the Guardian in Beirut and Istanbul, a reporter for the Daily Star in Lebanon and The National in Abu Dhabi, as well as writing for AlHudood, an Arabic language satirical news site. He has a master’s degree in war studies from King’s College London and is Egyptian by birth. He is currently based in Montreal.

Kareem’s coverage on the ground of the Khan Sheikhun chemical attack in Syria in 2017 was nominated for the Frontline Club print journalism award. Over the past few years, he has spent a lot of time working with independent Arab media outlets to develop their skillsets and train young journalists based in the Middle East.

Latest from Kareem Shaheen

As the World Cup Begins in Doha, I Remember the Rivalries of Egyptian Teams

As the World Cup Begins in Doha, I Remember the Rivalries of Egyptian Teams

This chronic failure over such impossibly low stakes necessitates that Arabs following international competitions hedge their bets, since the obsession with football won’t go away simply because their national teams are relegated to watching. This leads to fervent support for international clubs and European and Latin American national teams, with a fanaticism and enthusiasm that make one believe they hail originally from Munich, Sao Paolo or Manchester.

Kareem Shaheen
A Lebanese Dance Troupe Wins ‘America’s Got Talent’

A Lebanese Dance Troupe Wins ‘America’s Got Talent’

It is not a bad faith or cynical reaction most of the time, but it sometimes does make you wonder whether you have agency: if you were given an opportunity because you are talented and hard-working or because you’re a diversity hire, whether your success in an endeavor comes down to your excellence or the pity of an outsider.

Kareem Shaheen
In the Middle East, a Yearning for Stability via Monarchy

In the Middle East, a Yearning for Stability via Monarchy

But there is also a sense of ruefulness at times about such an institution and a bygone era it represents that nobody really remembers but surely must have been an improvement on today’s regional malaise. After all, if we are to be led by absolute rulers, why not also have the prestige and pageantry?

Kareem Shaheen,
Rasha Al Aqeedi
Muslim and Arab Authorities Must Examine Their Blasphemy Claims

Muslim and Arab Authorities Must Examine Their Blasphemy Claims

There is no shortage of clerics and government officials willing to fan the flames to improve their standing in their societies (as the Rushdie case and countless others before it have shown). It is incumbent upon individuals and conscientious members of the clerical establishment to fight this instinct for bloodlust, to seek outrage as an outlet for life’s challenges. It is also incumbent on them to realize when they are being used in this way to serve the interests of the ruling class. After all, if something as integral to the foundation of your identity as your faith trembles every time someone mocks it, it is perhaps time for some introspection.

Kareem Shaheen
In Rushing to Conclusions, the Media Often Misses the Mark

In Rushing to Conclusions, the Media Often Misses the Mark

This capacity to shape the public consciousness should give media practitioners pause. Journalists and editors have a penchant, for example, of adding contextual paragraphs explaining the background to breaking news events to their audience that tend to fall back on cliches and accepted conventional wisdom. This has the effect of shaping the overall narrative around an event before all the evidence has come to the fore.

Kareem Shaheen
A Magazine’s Broad Brush Demeans All Arabs

A Magazine’s Broad Brush Demeans All Arabs

In reality, media leads to gradual change through the gradual accumulation of data, anecdotes and imagery that ultimately shapes how society perceives certain actors, whether they are people or nation-states.

Kareem Shaheen
Legacy Media Joins the First-Person Movement

Legacy Media Joins the First-Person Movement

Readers will read every word, however long. The reader’s short attention span is a myth, as we found: Their disinterest is in the content they’re being fed, not in the important stories themselves.

Kareem Shaheen
Saudi Arabia’s Choice of Imam Sparks Hajj Controversy

Saudi Arabia’s Choice of Imam Sparks Hajj Controversy

The sermon itself was boilerplate and innocuous, urging good deeds and adherence to the pillars of the faith, standard fare for such an occasion. But it was interesting also for other reasons, such as the demonstration of the state’s power over the religious establishment as well as how it exerts influence over it to serve its political goals and shifts positions on what it will tolerate in terms of religious speech.

Kareem Shaheen
In the Mideast, Feuds and Friendships Turn Orwellian

In the Mideast, Feuds and Friendships Turn Orwellian

The ability of the state, so secure in its hold on power, to impose top-down revolutionary cultural, political and social change that instantly transforms (at least on the surface) attitudes about festering problems that have shaped people’s worldviews for decades, often their whole lives, is extraordinary.

Kareem Shaheen
A Simultaneous Wish to Return and to Abandon

A Simultaneous Wish to Return and to Abandon

Why do we yearn to go back always, even when we’ve had perfectly good reasons to leave? Why is wandering so difficult even when you’ve been welcomed with open arms?

Kareem Shaheen
Prayer-on-the-Field Ruling Speaks to Diversity

Prayer-on-the-Field Ruling Speaks to Diversity

It is of course difficult to divorce an individual case from the broader context of a resurgent religious right, which can feel like an assault on the liberal way of life and secularism itself as a key pillar of democracy. But I also don’t think it is wise to be outraged and fearful over every expression of the self that veers away from those precepts.

Kareem Shaheen
Two Young Women’s Vicious Murders Reveal a Troubling Rot

Two Young Women’s Vicious Murders Reveal a Troubling Rot

While the crime is horrific, it is not senseless. It is a perfectly logical outcome when society sees women as mere accessories who serve at the pleasure of the male master race.

Kareem Shaheen
Understanding What Drives Men to Mass Murder

Understanding What Drives Men to Mass Murder

The links between violent extremism and domestic violence, and how masculinity and the place of men in general in modern society interacts with these phenomena, is one that is not adequately explored in the mainstream.

Kareem Shaheen
In Archaeology, a Shard Isn’t Just a Shard

In Archaeology, a Shard Isn’t Just a Shard

The tone of gentlemanly shock was fascinating to me — it seemed meant to convey an inoffensive stupefaction at the ways of these Stone Age natives. It also came with the presumption that laws should not apply to their own citizens. It had nothing to do with the actual validity of the law per se but the prospect that citizens of a first-world country should be beholden to laws at all beyond their own shores, especially in “backward” Arab countries.

Kareem Shaheen
The Hypocrisy in Policing Bad Words

The Hypocrisy in Policing Bad Words

When words are so powerful, they alone can tell a story of abject loss and desperation. When words are so powerful, they expose the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Kareem Shaheen
The Dark Legacy of French Colonialism

The Dark Legacy of French Colonialism

A weekly review of news, essays, podcast and more from New Lines. The week of May 02 to May 06, 2022.

Kareem Shaheen
Ramadan TV Blurs Fact and Fiction

Ramadan TV Blurs Fact and Fiction

It is of course difficult to discern truth from fiction in such works of art, particularly given the secretive nature of these dealings, but they all add up to a relentless sort of public framing that primes minds to think about events, groups and people in a certain way.

Kareem Shaheen
War Widows and Veneration of Death

War Widows and Veneration of Death

A weekly review of news, essays, podcasts and more from New Lines. The week of April 18 to April 22, 2022

Kareem Shaheen
Stability for Its Own Sake Is One Step From Chaos

Stability for Its Own Sake Is One Step From Chaos

A weekly review of news, essays, podcasts and more from New Lines. The week of April 11 to April 15, 2022

Kareem Shaheen
Russia’s Grotesque Intervention in Syria

Russia’s Grotesque Intervention in Syria

A weekly review of news, essays, podcast and more from New Lines. The week of April 4 to April 8, 2022

Kareem Shaheen
Reading Stories of Courage From a Century Ago

Reading Stories of Courage From a Century Ago

It is gratifying to read about such courage and heroism under duress. Whatever the impetus, odes should be sung for it in celebration. The Turkish officer who protected Armenians from the Ottoman-era genocide is like Schindler, the personification of the better angels of our nature.

Kareem Shaheen
The Saudis’ Religious Legacy

The Saudis’ Religious Legacy

It is difficult to glean the actual impetus behind the initial decision to ban the broadcast in the first place. The scenes from the holy mosques are emotive to a lot of observant Muslims and cement Saudi Arabia’s role as the custodian of the holy mosques and an Islamic center. They are also powerful showcases of the state’s organizational prowess in pulling off such seminal events hosting millions of faithful every year.

Kareem Shaheen
The Danger of Hagiography as History

The Danger of Hagiography as History

A weekly review of news, essays, podcast and more from New Lines. The week of March 21 to March 25, 2022.

Kareem Shaheen
Russia’s Long History of Bombing Hospitals

Russia’s Long History of Bombing Hospitals

A weekly review of news, essays, podcast and more from New Lines. The week of Monday Mar. 5 - Friday Mar. 11, 2022.

Kareem Shaheen
Racism Isn’t a One-Way Street

Racism Isn’t a One-Way Street

A weekly review of news, essays, podcast and more from New Lines. The week of Monday Feb. 28-Friday Mar. 4, 2022.

Kareem Shaheen
At the Olympics, Arab Unity Remains Elusive

At the Olympics, Arab Unity Remains Elusive

If any cause should inspire Muslim solidarity and empathy it is the plight of the Uyghurs, certainly more so than other ridiculous causes that have prompted widespread outrage like a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad or a film in which an actress removes her underwear offscreen.

Kareem Shaheen
Netflix’s Perfect Strangers Has More Truth in It Than Its Critics Allow

Netflix’s Perfect Strangers Has More Truth in It Than Its Critics Allow

It creates a kind of societal schizophrenia in which people are publicly outraged over artists’ failure to adhere to the moral imperatives of their faith and cultural values but Muslim countries lead the world in Google searches for porn.

Kareem Shaheen
Egypt Events Draw Focus on Sexual Harassment

Egypt Events Draw Focus on Sexual Harassment

A suicide and the circumstances behind an ad call attention to mistreatment of women and girls.

Kareem Shaheen
Mo Salah and Aboutrika Spark a Debate About Religion

Mo Salah and Aboutrika Spark a Debate About Religion

Two separate incidents involving major Egyptian footballers have sparked a debate online and in the mainstream press on the role of religion in society.

Kareem Shaheen
Turjuman: Sudan Edition

Turjuman: Sudan Edition

Note from the editor: We wrote this news digest in the days before the ongoing coup in Sudan. The military…

Kareem Shaheen
The Death of the Palestinian Cause Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

The Death of the Palestinian Cause Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Arabs are of course not of a single mind on any particular issue, nor is it possible to gauge public opinion under tyrannical regimes. But it is indicative of the fact that these authoritarians no longer see the pan-Arab Palestinian cause and supporting it as vital to their survival.

Kareem Shaheen
First Among Satans

First Among Satans

America does not deserve sole ownership of the Great Satan title. Why do Russia’s and China’s actions not spark similar outrage, a similar, simmering public consciousness that establishes them as foes to be thwarted in the broader culture?

Kareem Shaheen