It matters that Kazakhstan is championing a 9th century Islamic philosopher. Here’s why

by Rashmee

Posted on July 20, 2020


Just days ago, an online symposium on Al Farabi celebrated the Islamic philosopher’s 1150th year of birth. Hosted by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Kazakhstan’s UK embassy, it was scheduled for 1400 BST / 1900 Nur-Sultan Time / 0900 EST. Note the timings. The symposium was scheduled to start at “1900 Nur-Sultan Time”, … Continue reading “It matters that Kazakhstan is championing a 9th century Islamic philosopher. Here’s why”

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Leadership and the lessons from an empire in decline – in 10th century Baghdad

by Rashmee

Posted on April 14, 2020 / The Focus


The pandemic is the first global crisis in more than 50 years where no country is looking towards the US for leadership. Two things are vital during a global pandemic – a vaccine and leadership. A vaccine isn’t expected at least for a year – so what about leadership? Trump-led America is an empire in … Continue reading “Leadership and the lessons from an empire in decline – in 10th century Baghdad”

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Leadership and the lessons from an empire in decline – in 10th century Baghdad

by Rashmee

Posted on April 9, 2020


This is the first global crisis in more than 50 years where no country is looking towards the US for leadership. If there’s anything that’s needed in a global pandemic it is a vaccine and leadership. A vaccine is not expected at least for a year, but what about leadership? Trump-led America is an empire … Continue reading “Leadership and the lessons from an empire in decline – in 10th century Baghdad”

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The only thing that’s guaranteed about Trump’s foreign policy is its unpredictability

by Rashmee

Posted on June 29, 2019 / The National


As US secretary of state Mike Pompeo visited India, and the G20 summit got under way in Japan on Friday, with President Donald Trump in attendance, there was increasing talk of Washington’s foreign policy incoherence. Multiple geopolitical crises remain at varying levels of volatility, notably Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. US-China trade tensions continue to … Continue reading “The only thing that’s guaranteed about Trump’s foreign policy is its unpredictability”

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How Al-Farabi drew on Plato to argue for censorship in Islam

by Rashmee

Posted on November 12, 2018 / Aeon


You might not be familiar with the name Al-Farabi, a 10th-century thinker from Baghdad, but you know his work, or at least its results. Al-Farabi was, by all accounts, a man of steadfast Sufi persuasion and unvaryingly simple tastes. As a labourer in a Damascus vineyard before settling in Baghdad, he favoured a frugal diet … Continue reading “How Al-Farabi drew on Plato to argue for censorship in Islam”

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The view from 10th century Baghdad on Donald Trump

by Rashmee

Posted on August 22, 2018


It was purely by chance but I was reading the following sentence late on Tuesday, August 21, when there was bombshell news from the United States: A city that displays faulty judgement, which causes it to miss the right path, must have surely had for its first ruler “a man who falsely pretended to be … Continue reading “The view from 10th century Baghdad on Donald Trump”

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Two liberal thinkers that need to go on Anglo-Saxon list of greats

by Rashmee

Posted on August 7, 2018


It’s not enough just to discern the gaps in The Economist’s list of original and influential liberal thinkers. What’s important is to explain why other thinkers need to be added on to any list that claims to be about the more of the planet than just the Anglo-Saxon world. The Economist list has the usual … Continue reading “Two liberal thinkers that need to go on Anglo-Saxon list of greats”

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#Helsinki, #Trump and an age-old story, the parable of the drunken mystic

by Rashmee

Posted on July 23, 2018


When Presidents Trump and Putin spoke to journalists in Helsinki exactly a week ago today, they appeared to make plain their preference for each other. Mr Putin said he wanted Mr Trump to be elected and Mr Trump was – well, craven, cowed, deferential. It led some to wonder why America’s commander-in-chief would be so … Continue reading “#Helsinki, #Trump and an age-old story, the parable of the drunken mystic”

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Sufism’s tragedy is how imperfectly it is understood today

by Rashmee

Posted on December 3, 2017 / The Arab Weekly


Before Egypt, it was Pakistan. In South Asia’s most populous Muslim country, for more than a decade, militants have been picking off worshippers at shrines dedicated to Sufi poets and pirs or spiritual guides. They have killed dozens at a time, leaving a bloody gash along paths normally strewn with red rose petals. In February, … Continue reading “Sufism’s tragedy is how imperfectly it is understood today”

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Trump and Al-Farabi’s ‘virtuous city’

by Rashmee

Posted on February 12, 2017 / The Arab Weekly


We know the truth about Donald Trump’s claim that the media deliberately under-reported terrorist attacks. It is laughably false and it is loose-lipped incite­ment to communal hate. What we do not yet properly know is why the United States’ new president has made the outrageous allegation that journalists “have their reasons” to play down the … Continue reading “Trump and Al-Farabi’s ‘virtuous city’”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK