Latest from Tam Hussein
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.
He wanted to own his mistakes, rail against the historical revisionism prevalent among some of the more outspoken members of the Muslim diaspora and set an example for others.
In a personal essay, terrorism and security reporter Tam Hussein considers his own run-ins with the police and the public, through the lens of William Gardner Smith’s classic 1963 novel “The Stone Face.”
To this small but influential number of Muslims in Europe and the U.S., Afghanistan is not really a country, but a mythical canvas onto which they can paint their own hopes and dreams.
The closest Prince Turki al-Faisal comes to expressing regret is when he writes that he and his American counterparts might have been too focused on the immediate aim of winning the war in Afghanistan, rather than the potential long-term consequences of their actions.
Bangladesh’s independence was, and remains, a taboo topic in Pakistan, and much of it is blamed on the Cold War, Bhutto, and Indian political machinations. I had to reassess that post-independence propaganda I had been fed in later years. And, of course, the biggest shock was my discovery at 11 that Muhammad Ali was not Bengali!
Western prison systems still struggle to incarcerate notorious jihadists or ideologues. One major case was that of Abu Qatada, dubbed “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man.”
Opportunities to meet a caliph are pretty rare. Yet in London in the 1990s, you could bump into a protector of the entire Muslim world on the Central line. He wore no finery, of course, and his palace was a two-bedroom government apartment in Dagenham.