Ed Husain

The Arab Street

Husain examines politics, society, and radicalism in the greater Middle East.

Secretary Clinton in Saudi Arabia: Questions for the King

by Ed Husain Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks in Riyadh in February 2012 (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks in Riyadh in February 2012 (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads for Saudi Arabia this week, some may ask whether she will wear a head scarf in the conservative kingdom. Well, President Obama bowed to the Saudi king in 2009 (in an unexpected, unwarranted moved that was widely rebuked) so his top diplomat wearing a hijab would not be out of the ordinary. Former first lady Laura Bush donned a head scarf in Saudi, as did former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in Tajikistan. But that’s not the real challenge—what matters most is that Secretary Clinton’s agenda in Saudi Arabia should include the following questions: Read more »

The Week Ahead: Iraq Summit, Friends of Syria, Egypt’s Constitution

by Ed Husain Monday, March 26, 2012
Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari talks to a group of local and Western journalists during a tour of the Republican Palace in Baghdad ahead of this week's Arab League summit (Mohammed Ameen/Courtesy Reuters).. Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari talks to a group of local and Western journalists during a tour of the Republican Palace in Baghdad ahead of this week's Arab League summit (Mohammed Ameen/Courtesy Reuters).

Events of note this week in the Middle East:

Iraq. Baghdad will host the Arab League summit, the first major diplomatic event to be held in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew. Security challenges surrounding the summit are real, with attacks just last week in four Iraqi cities killing twenty-seven and injuring 161, but extensive preparations have been made—from cement barriers and checkpoints to the redeployment of thousands of guards—to ensure the events proceed without incident. Central to the summit’s agenda will be the crisis in Syria. Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen will likely also be discussed. Syria, suspended from the Arab League, will not be present at the talks. Read more »

France: Jews and Muslims Must Show Unity Against Jihadis

by Ed Husain Thursday, March 22, 2012
A mourner stands over the fresh graves of victims of Monday's shooting in Toulouse, France, after their joint funeral in Jerusalem (Nir Elias/Courtesy Reuters). A mourner stands over the fresh graves of victims of Monday's shooting in Toulouse, France, after their joint funeral in Jerusalem (Nir Elias/Courtesy Reuters).

“God forbid that the recent killer of Jewish children and a rabbi in France be a Muslim or of Arab descent,” I tweeted a day before the French authorities named Mohamed Merah as the prime suspect in last week’s terrorist atrocity. People on Twitter responded to me saying: “He also killed Muslims.” And yes, he did—but it does not take away from the severity of the killer’s anti-Semitism that led to him target Ozar Hatorah school and kill Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and the blessed children he was trying to protect. Read more »

Questions We Dare Not Ask About Iran

by Ed Husain Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei departs after casting his ballot in the parliamentary election in Tehran (Caren Firouz/Courtesy Reuters). Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei departs after casting his ballot in the parliamentary election in Tehran (Caren Firouz/Courtesy Reuters).

This is conventional thinking among American foreign policy elites on Iran’s regime:

– It is an anti-Semitic regime.

– It wishes to destroy Israel.

– “Regime change” in Iran will result in the halting of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Read more »

Forgotten History: U.S. Founding Fathers and Muslim Thought

by Ed Husain Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Hamza Yusuf, left, a cofounder of Zaytuna College, chats with another employee at the college in Berkeley, California in 2010 (Reuters Staff/Courtesy Reuters). Hamza Yusuf, left, a cofounder of Zaytuna College, chats with another employee at the college in Berkeley, California in 2010 (Reuters Staff/Courtesy Reuters).

I was recently a speaker at a Georgetown University event called “Religious Freedom: Why Now?”—my main interest in attending, however, was not to speak but rather to hear the latest thoughts of two American public intellectuals. I was not disappointed. Read more »