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About Sami Zubaida
Sami Zubaida is Emeritus Professor of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck, University of London and a Fellow of Birkbeck College. He is also Research Associate of the London Middle East Institute and Professorial Research Associate of the Food Studies Centre, both at SOAS. He has held visiting positions in Cairo, Istanbul, Beirut, Aix-en-Provence, Paris, Berkeley CA and NYU, and has written and lectured widely on religion, culture, law and politics in the Middle East, with particular attention to Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.. He is the author of Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2011)
His earlier books include Islam, the People and the State: Political Ideas and Movements in the Middle East (IB Tauris, 1993); A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2001); and Law and Power in the Islamic World (IB Tauris, 2005)
Articles by Sami Zubaida
No to TTIP
The furore in Britain over the Archbishop of Canterbury's cautious references to the sharia and law in his lecture in London on 7 February 2008 has been extensively discussed by a number of openDemocracy writers and from a variety of perspectives: among them Tina Beattie, Fred Halliday, Theo Hobson, Tariq Modood and Roger Scruton, as well as Simon Barrow in OurKingdom.
Tariq Modood is clearly correct in pointing out that common citizenship and nationhood do not depend on cultural uniformity or ideological consensus - which are, in any case, impossible to create in a complex society.
The argument made by Meghnad Desai for the confinement of religion to the private sphere does not take account of the dynamics of modern Islamic belief, says Sami Zubaida.
Iraq had a vibrant civil society and rich layers of secular political argument in the pre-Saddam era. These key ingredients must be reclaimed if democracy is to take root in the middle east, says Sami Zubaida.
The deadline for agreement on the Iraqi constitution is slipping. Sami Zubaida examines the issues that may prevent a workable agreement.
Many commentators regard the London terror attacks as Tony Blairs payback for Britains role in Iraq. Sami Zubaida assesses the evidence.
Will Iraqis unite in revolt against US forces? Beneath the boiling surface of Iraqi anger lies a more complex and fractious reality which points to a different outcome.
Will Iraqs new state define its people as secular citizens, religious believers or members of a tribe? Sami Zubaida sees the Iraqi Governing Councils arguments over personal status issues including marriage, family, and womens rights as the latest, vital chapter of a struggle for democracy and the rule of law across the Middle East.
As a sovereign nation Iraq is a recent creation. It was formed by the British in 1919 out of provinces of the Ottoman Empire. While its borders may be arbitrary and contested, it does not follow that Iraq does not have the heart of a real nation, shared by the different groups who live within them. Iraq is much more than the sum of conflicting ethnic and religious groups. It is a country where people have developed a sense of being Iraqi.
My purpose here is to explore how this has evolved.