I’d like to draw your attention to the Critical Muslim, a new quarterly journal which looks like a book. I co-edit the journal with Ziauddin Sardar, who is perhaps Britain’s most prominent ‘critical Muslim’. The CM is concerned with the politics, economics, culture, law and literature of the Muslim world – and of course the Muslim world today includes locations such as London and Lima. Our writers are convinced and sceptical Muslims, religious and cultural Muslims, and non-Muslims. We publish a range of perspectives, usually but not always with a somewhat leftist leaning. And the CM has a sense of humour.
I’m very proud of the arts section. The first issues include a story by the accomplished British-Pakistani writer Aamer Hussein, poetry and prose from upcoming Iraqi writers (one of whom is the very highly-rated Hassan Blasim), a selection of the Arabic poetry (Qabbani and others) which accompanied the Arab uprisings, essays on the Palestine Literature Festival and the Erbil Literature Festival (in Iraqi Kurdistan), a great story of cross-cultural love (and disappointment) by young British writer Suhel Ahmed, poetry from the great Mimi Khalvati, an essay on Muslim jazz, and much more.
Each issue is themed. The first, for instance, focuses on the contemporary Arab uprisings. My contribution is an essay which came out of a trip to Egypt last spring, and conversations with Muslim Brothers, Tahrir Square revolutionaries, journalists and shop keepers. Prominent Arabic journalist and author of the noted “Who needs an Islamic State?” Abdelwahhab El-Affendi writes on Islamism. Novelists Jamal Mahjoub and Fadia Faqir write respectively about Sudan and women. Pulse’s Muhammad Idrees Ahmad and Jasmin Ramsey write about Wikileaks and the Green Movement in Iran.
Issue Two is called The idea of Islam, and includes something controversial by Michael Muhammad Knight, author of “The Taqwacores”, a brilliant essay by Soha Al-Jurf on her unorthodox blend of Islam and Buddhism, commentary on misogyny by journalist Samia Rahman, and a study by Carool Kersten of ‘heresy’ in Muslim history. Issue Three is called Fear and Loathing. Issue Four will be a Pakistan special, and should be particularly rich.
Please subscribe. And please encourage your local library, college, even mosque or church, to subscribe. Details on the website. There’s so much rubbish out there written on Islam and the Muslim world, by unreflective Islamists and Islamophobes alike. Why not support a more sophisticated voice?