Archive for December, 2008
Dialogue Between Bigots: Part VI of VI

This is the final installment of the interview, part VI, of ‘Dialogue Between Bigots’ EDITOR: Spanish, French Portuguese and Italian derive from Latin, yet can one argue that today these are the same language? They have diverged to the point where they are mutually unintelligible and hence different languages. All Indo-European languages derive from Sanskrit […]

Dialogue Between Bigots: Part V of VI

This is part V of the interview ‘Dialogue Between Bigots’ AR: I think you are being very liberal in your belief that European law begins with the Bible and that Islamic law begins with the Koran. To claim that Europe takes from the Bible and Morocco from the Koran is to indulge in a terrible […]

Dialogue Between Bigots; Part IV of VI

This is Part IV of the interview ‘Dialogue Between Bigots’ EDITOR: Whereas I agree with you that there is nothing inherently ‘Islamic’ about laws in many nations i.e. your statement is prima facie true. However, the question is what is the source of the common law of the land in Pakistan, in Iran, In Saudi […]

Dialogue Between Bigots: Part III of VI

This is Part III of the interview ‘Dialogue Between Bigots’ EDITOR:  By Islamic states I mean the countries that are majority Muslim and whose power structures are in the hands of Muslims. Iraq is not an Islamic theocracy, but it is surely an Islamic state. It’s history, tradition and values are shaped by Islamic religion […]

Dialogue Between Bigots: Part II of VI

This is Part II of the interview ‘Dialogue Between Bigots’ EDITOR: In your opinion, is it possible for Islamic states to adopt secular systems of government, and to allow non-Muslim minorities to integrate in Muslim dominated political structures? Put another way, given the history and tradition of these areas, Iraq in particular, did the Americans […]

Dialogue Between Bigots: Part I of VI

A few months ago I was asked by an editor in Europe to speak about my work, in particular my work in the Arab world. She had seen some of my work from Northern Iraq that focused on the struggle of Iraq’s Assyrian Christian community as it confronted a resurgent Kurdish nationalism and a raging Iraqi militant resistance. The editor wanted to discuss not just the specific issues related to the Assyrian Christian community, but broader issues related to the ‘Muslim’ world. The interview quickly fell apart.

Photo Project: The Idea of India

Rabindranath Tagore once argued that the “idea of India” itself militated against a culturally separatist view—”against the intense consciousness of the separateness of one’s own people from others.” This argument is the inspiration of a new photo project that I have already begun that explores India’s heritage of religious and cultural pluralism and syncretism. The project is a one-man civil society initiative to counter and correct the simplistic and reductive historical narratives that pit India’s religious communities against each other. By examining the real, lived experiences of the people of the region called the Indian Sub-continent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) I intend to highlight landscapes, sacred spaces, literature, poetry and even philosophies that reflect to the long history of mutual respect, tolerance and most importantly acceptance that have defined the historical and cultural experience of India’s many religious communities.