Islamic culture

2014 December

The paradox of Christmas

2015-11-24T06:53:43+00:00December 20th, 2014|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , |1 Comment

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 20, 2014) ISTANBUL, TURKEY ✦It was a Sunday, the first day of Advent, en route from Hamilton to my African home, when I toured the Old City here, a place where religions and cultures and empires have collided for centuries. This is when my guide for the day said what he did. I had asked him about some historic notes and holy relics in the Topkapi Palace Museum, items identified as thousands of years old from ancient Israel, but looking dubiously more modern and Ottoman-like, when he told me as plainly as if he was giving the weather report that, "It's all mythology anyway. Whatever you believe is true, that's the truth."

2004 April

Passion proves a hit in Muslim Mideast

2012-10-23T02:10:03+00:00April 8th, 2004|Categories: London Free Press, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Okay, let's not be totally surprised that Jesus wields power outside the West. He did, after all, live in the Middle East. But after its big splash in North America, did anyone -- I mean anyone -- expect The Passion of the Christ to be allowed in the Islamic Middle East, let alone break movie records here?

2003 November

Learning Arabic 101

2012-10-23T03:09:32+00:00November 1st, 2003|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Iraq. Can it be saved? Six months after its liberation, Iraqis are still short on power, electrical and otherwise. The Yanks are still being greeted with grenades as much as with flowers and hugs. And how did those weapons of mass destruction disappear?

2003 April

Who will play the movie’s wacky Iraqi?

2012-10-30T02:14:43+00:00April 25th, 2003|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Telling Lies in Iraq is my choice for the name of the flick we can only hope will be made about former Iraqi minister of misinformation Mohammed Saeed Sahaf. If it's anything like a satirical Web site on this new cult figure, a site that once had an incredible 4,000 hits per minute, this movie will be stunning.

2003 April

‘Jihad of soul’ arrived in Middle East long ago

2012-10-30T02:19:33+00:00April 11th, 2003|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Trying to galvanize sagging troops, one of Saddam Hussein's last public pronouncements was recently to formally call for Muslims everywhere to join his ranks and fight Islamic jihad, or holy war. Should we care?

2003 February

In the Arab world there are no lonely singles

2012-10-30T03:24:03+00:00February 14th, 2003|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

It's Valentine's Day. Great fun. Two years ago today, I proposed to Jean. Her ring was presented in a restaurant, with the help of the official town crier, his booming voice, clanging bell and scroll. Moments later, along with thousands of others in London, Ont., we heard about our upcoming "royal wedding" on the radio.

2002 November

Yemeni children need love, hope, honesty

2012-10-30T04:13:26+00:00November 2nd, 2002|Categories: London Free Press, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

The children. Oh, the children. The smallest hold tightly onto black, tent-like baltos that drape over their mothers. Others sing in a school courtyard near our home. But the beggar kids who run to our vehicle when it's stopped at intersections really get me.