Khaled Diab is a journalist and author. He is the author of two books: “Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land” (2014) and “Islam for the Politically Incorrect” (2017). His website is https://chronikler.com/
Latest from Khaled Diab
Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the theory that she was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad has enjoyed a resurgence. But whether the British queen had a Muslim princess ancestor, the theory’s popularity speaks some harsh truths about postcolonial reality.
Because of the subsequent controversy, few now recall the history of the book: that it was published in Persian before the fatwa; that Arab and Muslim intellectuals defended Rushdie; and that the author himself considered the novel to be part of the Islamic, not Western, literary tradition.
The myths about al-Rashid and Charlemagne, which depict them as just, honorable and courageous commanders of the faithful, reinforce the idea that Christendom has always been at war with Islam — and, by implication, always will be. But what the history of the two monarchs reveals is that Muslims and Christians can simultaneously be foes and friends, both with each other and among themselves.
Every society has its traditional clothing and almost every society has moved radically away from these traditions in recent times. Nevertheless, clothes play a significant cultural role in creating a sense of belonging, unity and collective identity.
Despite what culinary chauvinists claim, few cuisines have developed in isolation. The history of foodstuffs and food words is a history full of migration, adoption and constant civilizational mashups.
To disbelieve in the existence of God in the Arab world is no easy thing. In countries where atheism is outlawed — it’s punishable by death in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia — many must keep their skepticism secret not just from family but also from society. Yet more and more of us are coming out of the closet.
While many European Jews regarded themselves as honorary “Orientals” or “Arabs,” there were (and still are) Jews who were indeed Arabs. In fact, Middle Eastern Jews played an active role in the formation of modern Arab identity and nationalism.