Novels of Jewish-Muslim ‘Miscegenation’: A Thriving World

Demand for Dorit Rabinyan's Borderlife has apparently surged since the novel -- which details a Muslim-Jewish love story -- was excluded from Israel's high-school curriculum as depicting "miscegenation" and "threatening Jewish identity."

‘Reflections on Islamic Art’: Reinvigorating the Discourse on Islam, and Art

From my review in Al Masry Al Youm / Egypt Independent: “Reflections on Islamic Art,” edited by Ahdaf Soueif, appears at a time when Islamic art is surging back into fashion. Soueif’s collection, published in November 2011, pairs art from Doha’s monumental Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) with creative writing from twenty-seven internationally acclaimed authors. … Continue reading ‘Reflections on Islamic Art’: Reinvigorating the Discourse on Islam, and Art

In Memory of Sufi Writer Ahmed Bahjat

Editor's note: Egyptian writer Ahmed Bahgat passed away Sunday evening at age 79. Contributor Mona Elnamoury reflects on his work: By Mona Elnamoury Best known for his short story collection Kesas Alhayawan Fi AlQuran (Animal Stories in the Quran), Ahmed Bahjat has written many other Islamic fictional works in which religious facts were imaginarily delineated and mystically … Continue reading In Memory of Sufi Writer Ahmed Bahjat

Views of Islamism in Egypt: 4 Books

News in Cairo today is focused on yesterday's Islamist and Islam-focused rallies in Tahrir. Islamists have been depicted in both English-language and Arabic-language literatures. There are many portraits of (mostly terrorists) who've been animated by some vision of Islam. Far fewer literary works treat Islamist characters with sensitivity, depth, or creativity. Four that do: 1) … Continue reading Views of Islamism in Egypt: 4 Books

Author of ‘Christian Ghetto’ Speaks About His Fears

Shamei Asaad is neither a Coptic intellectual nor an activist. He is an engineer who took it upon himself to break the spiral of silence of his fellow Copts by detailing their concerns, from a layman's perspective, in a book entitled “The Christian Ghetto.” For a long time he was against the idea of migrating to the West to escape sectarian discrimination. But after the Alexandria church bombing, the 40-year-old man had to change his position.

Authors Respond to Alexandria Bombing

But it was the author Khaled al-Khamissi---who wrote the best-selling Taxi and another novel titled Noah's Ark---who was the canary in the coal mine. According to Al Masry Al Youm, he read from a list of persecutions and injustices enacted against Copts throughout Egyptian history, saying: "We must acknowledge that there’s a real problem. Intolerance is only rising."