Fear of the ‘other’ causes ructions in Britain and Norway

by Rashmee

Posted on January 26, 2020 / The Arab Weekly


Certain groups of people are being dehumanised and cast as the “other” because of fear. Because of that, the crime of hate is being normalised. In December, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led his Conservative Party to a huge parliamentary majority, which gave him leeway to steer Brexit, controversial trade talks with the United States … Continue reading “Fear of the ‘other’ causes ructions in Britain and Norway”

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Dutch law on burqas reveals more than was intended

by Rashmee

Posted on August 2, 2019


The Netherlands is in a dither about burqas, niqabs and other face coverings. It’s banned them but doesn’t want to enforce the prohibition because there isn’t really a problem per se. Of the Netherlands’ 17 million people, only about 150 to 400 women wear burqas and niqabs, according to Annelies Moors, a professor of sociology … Continue reading “Dutch law on burqas reveals more than was intended”

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What joins India and Australia? The answer might surprise you

by Rashmee

Posted on April 18, 2019


Consider the following paragraph: “Since at least the 1990s, XXXX conservatism has offered a highly successful, if philosophically incongruent mix of free-market liberalism and increasingly strident cultural nationalism.” Which proper noun – “Indian” or “Australian” – would fit in place of XXXX? Both perhaps. In both India and Australia conservatism premised on exclusion has held … Continue reading “What joins India and Australia? The answer might surprise you”

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What’s foreign and Arab about Italy’s Eurovision entry?

by Rashmee

Posted on April 7, 2019 / The Arab Weekly


There is an element of farce about the bigotry on display at the highest levels of the Italian government with respect to a song by a half-Egyptian, half-Sardinian man named Alessandro Mahmoud. Mahmoud’s song “Soldi” (“Money”) won the Sanremo Music Festival contest in February. In its 68 years, Sanremo has launched the careers of some … Continue reading “What’s foreign and Arab about Italy’s Eurovision entry?”

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Like Sweden, Finland has its Muslim-bashing populists

by Rashmee

Posted on September 16, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


The rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats, who are hostile to Muslims and migrants, is mirrored in Finland, Sweden’s neighbour to the east. Finland, too, has an authentically populist political party with a nasty message for immigrants of non-European, non-Christian heritage. Like Swedes, Finns have elections on their minds. Finnish voters will go to the … Continue reading “Like Sweden, Finland has its Muslim-bashing populists”

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What South Korea’s reaction to Yemeni refugees really tells us

by Rashmee

Posted on July 13, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


It has taken less than a thousand refugees fleeing Yemen’s grinding three-year-old war for prosperous, seemingly globalised South Korea to revert to fiercely xenophobic notions of a country built upon “ethnic homogeneity” and “pure blood.” South Korea’s newly visible animus to Muslims and Arabs comes at an interesting point in the global conversation about uninvited … Continue reading “What South Korea’s reaction to Yemeni refugees really tells us”

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Cosmopolitanism isn’t dead but it might need a rebrand

by Rashmee

Posted on June 6, 2018 / The National


“Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe,” US president Barack Obama reportedly said in the weeks after Donald Trump’s presidential election victory. Mr Obama’s self-doubt about the liberal politics that won him two presidential terms is reported in a new book by his long-time aide Ben Rhodes. But that single comment about … Continue reading “Cosmopolitanism isn’t dead but it might need a rebrand”

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Italy has fewer migrants now but hateful Trumpian echoes resound

by Rashmee

Posted on February 11, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


By every calculation, Italy’s election in early March will settle nothing. The country may or may not end up with a government straight off after the vote. It could be the populist Five Star Movement or a centre-right coalition composed of the Forza Italia, the Northern League and the Brothers of Italy. However, having a … Continue reading “Italy has fewer migrants now but hateful Trumpian echoes resound”

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From spiritual harmony to the women’s movement, new narratives will emerge in 2018

by Rashmee

Posted on December 26, 2017 / The National


“Last year’s words belong to last year’s language,” wrote TS Eliot in the final poem of the set called Four Quartets. “And next year’s words await another voice.” The new year will, as it always does, bring out other voices. But will they be heard over the loud, angry cries of 2017? Is 2018 going … Continue reading “From spiritual harmony to the women’s movement, new narratives will emerge in 2018”

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Greece deals judiciously with Western Thrace sharia law, a relic of the Ottoman empire

by Rashmee

Posted on December 4, 2017


It’s been nearly three weeks since the prime minister of Greece announced his government was going to do away with an extraordinary bit of imperial baggage – sharia law – that governs Western Thrace on the land border with Turkey. This state of affairs is a hangover from the Ottoman empire, as The Economist recently … Continue reading “Greece deals judiciously with Western Thrace sharia law, a relic of the Ottoman empire”

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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