“The Rise of Militant Islam”

Conversation with Ahmed Rashid. Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley. 3/26/02 1-Background Welcome to Berkeley. Thanks a lot. Where were you born and raised? I was born in Ravapindi in Northern Pakistan. After the Second World War, my family was based some of the time in Pakistan and some of the time in London. So I grew up in both places […].

Inside the Jihad.

Interview with Ahmed Rashid. Few governments are as shrouded in secrecy as the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan. Ever since these mysterious bearded clerics emerged from obscurity in 1994 to overrun almost the entire country — imposing a radical version of Islamic law that forbids women from employment and education, bans entertainment such as card-pl […].

The Real Islam.

Conversation with Stephen Schwartz. In The Two Faces of Islam the journalist Stephen Schwartz argues that in order to appreciate the pluralist, tolerant side of Islam, we must confront its ugly, extremist side. In the mid-1700s a new strain of Muslim extremism began to flourish in a small village in the Arabian desert—a strain that would have a profound […].


Interview with Abdolkarim Soroush. April 1997 – Following his return to UK from the United States and shortly before he left London for Tehran to end a twelve-month absence from the country, Dr Soroush spoke to SERAJ in an exclusive interview. Here is a summarised translation of this conversation. Dr. Soroush, over the last few months, you have travelle […].

“I Defend a Moderated Version of Socialism”.

nterview with Hashem Aghajari. Interviewer: Hamshahri (Persian Morning Daily) Sunday, May 12, 2002. Hamshahri: The left-wing of government has a heavy past which nobody has ever tried to deal with seriously, nor have the leftists been ready to defend the performance of their predecessors in a transparent manner or frankly. Many of the projects implement […].

A Generation in the Process of Development.

Summary: Ehsan Naraqi, the advisor to the former UNESCO director-general Federico Mayor, believes that although Iran has ranked second among the Muslim nations in terms of publication, it has hit the bottom of the list in terms of international recognition. It has led to American universities have dropped Iranology from their curriculum despite the West’s […].

Ethics and Ethical Critiques.

Interview with Abdolkarim Soroush. Q: Dr Soroush, you have been away from Iran for some time and we have been deprived. The fact of the matter is, when we look at your works over the past one or two years, we see a common denominator. Ethics of the Gods is a collection of your articles that was published in 2001. Articles such as “Civil Society, Ethical […].

Democracy and Rationality.

Interview with Abdolkarim Soroush. Q: Dr Soroush! I’d like us to discuss the question of rationality. Would you be so kind as to begin by pointing out the different interpretations that there are of rationality and also mentioning your own chosen interpretation, so that we can go on from there? A: Let me first say that I don’t know what you mean by reas […].

Tune into the “new conscience of Islam”.

Interview with Abdou Filali-Ansary. Interview by Sophie Boukhari, UNESCO Courier journalist. There is a reformist current in Islam, one that takes a critical approach to its origins. For Moroccan philosopher Abdou Filali-Ansary*, if Muslims had more room to freely debate issues, religion and politics might no longer be so closely entwined Since the 19th […].

“Islamic Societies”.

Conversation with Ira Lapidus. Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley. 1/14/03 1-Background Ira, welcome back to Berkeley. Thank you, Harry. Where were you born and raised? I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised there. I went to high school there, and then I went to college and graduate school at Harvard. Looking back, how did your pa […].

“Islam and the State”.

Conversation with Vali Nasr (1). Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley. 10/3/02 1-Background Vali, welcome to Berkeley. Thank you. Tell us a little about your background. Where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. I got my primary and secondary education in Iran, and in England. My family migrated to the United […].

The war for Muslim minds*

From Fallujah and Peshawar to Amsterdam and Paris, is radical, militant Islam winning or losing its political battle for the support of the world’s Muslims? Gilles Kepel, leading analyst of post–9/11 global fractures, talks to openDemocracy’s Rosemary Bechler. openDemocracy: The first section of your book The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West expl […].