I recently across a copy of The Christian Herald from December 1, 1915 and the lead article by John Maynard Owen Williams is on a recent trip he took to Syria and Iraq. The images are from a century ago and I attach a few excerpts from the article. For the first part, click here.

to be continued

I recently across a copy of The Christian Herald from December 1, 1915 and the lead article by John Maynard Owens is on a recent trip he took to Syria and Iraq. The images are from a century ago and I will attach a few excerpts from the article.

يقرب الله لي بالعافيه والسلامه … وصل الحبيب الأغن
ذاك الحبيب الذي حاز الحلا والوسامه … وكل معنى حسن
ونسأل الله تعالى عودنا من تهامه … الى سفح صنعاء اليمن
لأن صنعا سقاها الله فيض الغمامه … منزل حوت كل فن

ما مثل صنعاء اليمن … كلا ولا أهلها
صنعاء حوت كل فن … يا سعد من حلها
تطفي جميع الشجن … ثلاثَ في سفحها
الماء وخضرة رباها الفايقه والوسامه … وكل معنى حسن
كم يضحك الزهر فيها من دموع الغمامه … فيا سقاها وطن

يا ليت شعري متى الأيام تسمح برجعه … إلى مدينة أزال
ونستعيد ما مضى يا سيد أفديك جمعه … وطيب بساط المطال
لأن من بعدكم ما كف لي قط دمعه … والشوق بي لا يزال
وكلما غردت ورقاء بأعلى البشامه … طلقت طيب الوسن

أهيم في عشقتك … والدمع جاري غزير
والروح في قبضتك … وانا بحبك أسير
والقلب من فرقتك … يكاد نحوك يطير
فارحم أسير الهوى من قد تزايد غرامه … إن لم تكن له فمن
لأنني لا أطيق الهجر ذا والعدامه … ولا أحتمل ذا الشجن

تظن يا منيتي ان قد نسيت أو تناسيت … او خنت عهدي القديم
شاحلف براسك بأني فيك من حين وليت … أبكي و ساعه واهيم
ولا حلى لي سواك و لا بغيرك تسليت … يمين والله عظيم
يا ناس ما حيلة المشتاق في ريم رامه … ما حيلة ابن الحسن

يا ربنا يا مجيب … عجل لنا بالرواح
لوصل ذاك الحبيب … بالأنس والإنشراح
والدهر ذاك الكئيب … قد تقضًى وراح
سهل لنا منك باللطف الخفي والكرامه … وعافنا واعف عن
صلي وسلم على طه شفيع القيامه .. والأل ما المزن شن

There is a very good Youtube video of interviews with a hundred British imams about the problems with ISIS and how it is doing damage to Islam, especially in Britain. It is well worth seeing. The video was posted on July 11, 2014.

In October, 2013, the main Yazidi religious festival at Lalish Temple in Iraqi Kurdistan was cancelled, due to security reasons. A film was made about this by EPOS and the trailer is available on Youtube.


Old photo of Eastern Kurds, 1898

by Serhun Al, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 12, 2014

[Note: for the Arabic version of this article, click here.]

As the Islamic State consolidates its presence in Iraq the question of an independent Kurdish state has again become the subject of heated debate. Despite a rapidly changing situation, with U.S. airstrikes supporting peshmerga attempts to push the Islamic State back, realities regarding the prospects of Kurdish independence remain largely unchanged. Potential challenges include security hurdles, disagreement among Kurdish stakeholders, and the lack of broad international support.

As aspirations among the Kurdish population for an independent, secure, and economically flourishing state within Iraq mount, rifts within Kurdish parties stand in the way of even an agreement on whether independence is viable. Rival Kurdish groups, each fearful of losing the status quo, have proven extremely divided on the question of statehood. The quest for independence is more likely to incite these rivalries than soothe them. Massoud Barzani, the president of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), has been pushing for independence, while his main rival party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), remains unconvinced. Despite its support for independence, the Gorran (Change) movement is concerned about the potential dominance of the Barzani family and the absence of democratic and accountable institutions on which a viable state could be built. (more…)

There is an extraordinary cartoon video on Vimeo that gives the historical background to the current battle in Gaza. Check it out here. And God bless Andy Williams.

The Egyptian intellectual Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 67, made a major contribution to the study of the Qur’an and other important aspects of Islam, for which he was branded an apostate in Egypt. For a summary of his life with links to videos and major works, check out the page on him in the series of “A Profile from the Archives” on al-Jadaliyya. For a film on his thinking, Youtube has the Lebanese film في إنتظار أبو زيد .

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