LET’S INDEED HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT ISLAM

By | History, Islam, Opinion pieces for the press | No Comments

  Last Friday in these pages, Waleed Aly excoriated both Tony Abbott and that embarrassing buffoon running rogue in the US Republican primaries, Donald Trump. He deplored their ignorance about Islam and the muddle entailed in the conservative Catholic Tony Abbott calling for a Reformation and revolution within Islam. But then he added that ‘this isn’t really a conversation about Islam’; it’s about a dubious brand of ‘arch conservative’ populist politics. Very well, then. Let’s actually have the conversation about Islam that we have to have. Let’s begin with Waleed’s striking observation that ‘Islam’s own version of the Reformation already…

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 DUNCAN’S DILEMMAS HIGHLIGHT THE REAL PROBLEM

By | Intelligence, Islam, Opinion pieces for the press, Terrorism | No Comments

Perhaps the story of the past week has been controversy over the Director General of ASIO, Duncan Lewis, publicly rebuking a number of politicians and urging that they curb their outspokenness regarding Islam. Lewis had made two crucial points: that intemperate criticism of Islam risked inflaming Muslim opinion, making ASIO’s job harder; and that it was ‘blasphemous, to the extent that I can comment on someone else’s religion’ to suggest that Islamist terrorism springs from Islam itself. It is, surely, rather unusual for the head of the security service to rebuke senior politicians for their remarks; but that a man…

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NIALL FERGUSON’S CRITICS JUMP THE GUN

By | Biography, Book reviews for the press, Geopolitics, History | No Comments

Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist (Penguin Press, New York, 2015) 986 pp. Harry Gelber’s review (December 2015) of the first volume of Niall Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger – Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist – strikes the right note in describing it as ‘the first half of what may yet turn out to be his masterpiece.’ There is no question that Ferguson is poised to deliver something special in the second volume, which, he informs me, will take at least another three years. Even this first volume is a most impressive piece of work. Yet Ferguson’s critics on the Left refuse to…

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