Syrian composer and pianist Malek Jandali
"Music has the magical power to transcend all barriers"
Over the course of the Syrian revolution, Malek Jandali has devoted much of his musical energies to supporting the people of Syria – and especially children – in their struggle for freedom. His latest album is part of his mission to save and express the rich musical heritage of his homeland. Exclusive interview for Qantara.de by Susannah Tarbush
Interview with Lebanese-British satirist Karl Sharro
"Politicising Muslim identity is counter-productive"
Lebanese-British satirist Karl Sharro, with his alter ego Karl reMarks, is a fast-rising star of online comedy. Now he has published his first book, "And Then God Created the Middle East and Said ʹLet There be Breaking Newsʹ". Interview by Susannah Tarbush
Londonʹs Mfest and the anthology "Donʹt Panic, Iʹm Islamic"
The first great anti-Trump book
The Mfest finale –"Donʹt Panic, Iʹm Islamic: Extreme Comedy NOW!" – held in London at the end of April was an hour-long event. Concluding a three-day festival which paid tribute to Muslim culture and ideas, the entertaining and thought-provoking finale gave festivalgoers a chance to laugh and let off steam. By Susannah Tarbush
Ilan Pappe′s latest publications
The dissident Israeli historian and activist Ilan Pappe is known for his challenging and meticulously researched books on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. His two latest books are in keeping with this reputation. By Susannah Tarbush
Book review: Mohsin Hamid′s ″Exit West″
Through the black door
In his epic fourth novel, award-winning Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid presents a love story couched within the modern phenomenon of mass migration. Moving from bleak dystopia at the outset to cautious optimism, it is a welcome foil to the gloom and doom prophecies of modern times. Susannah Tarbush read the book
Album review: Reem Kelani′s ″Live at the Tabernacle″
Since the early 1990s, the Palestinian-British singer, musicologist and broadcaster Reem Kelani has carved a unique niche for herself on the Arab and international music scenes. Her new album ″Reem Kelani: Live at the Tabernacle″ provides renewed confirmation of her rare talent. By Susannah Tarbush
Non-fiction: ″War, Exile and the Music of Afghanistan″ by John Baily
Without music, no humanity
Few musical cultures have been as affected by political upheavals and violence as that of Afghanistan. This is reflected in the title of the book ″War, Exile and the Music of Afghanistan: The Ethnographer′s Tale″ by John Baily, Emeritus Professor of Ethnomusicology at Goldsmiths, University of London
Cameron's counter-extremism strategy
Cause for concern or necessary evil?
Counter-terrorism and security legislation already in place, the British government recently published details of its controversial counter-extremism strategy. Vague enough to allow a wide range of interpretations, it was met with alarm by a number of interest groups. With the Paris attacks fresh in everyone’s minds, however, Cameron’s drive against Islamist ideology could well find increasing support among public and politicians alike. By Susannah Tarbush
Book review: Khaled Diab's "Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land"
Prioritising the people
At a time when Palestinian–Israeli relations are at a particularly low ebb, it might seem over-optimistic to argue that the divisions between the people on the two sides are less than they seem, and that a "people's peace process" could lead to a just solution. Yet this is what the Egyptian-Belgian journalist, author and blogger Khaled Diab does in his book "Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land". By Susannah Tarbush
Book review: "The Kindness of Enemies" by Leila Aboulela
Crises of identity and loyalty from Scotland to the Caucasus
In her engrossing fourth novel, "The Kindness of Enemies", the Sudanese-British writer Leila Aboulela tackles themes of identity, jihad and Sufism. She does so through two parallel narratives, one set in contemporary Scotland and Sudan, the other in nineteenth-century Imperial Russia and the Caucasus. By Susannah Tarbush
Challenging violence with creativity
The recent launch of "Syria Speaks: Arts and Culture from the Frontline" at events in The Hague and Amsterdam was in a sense a homecoming for a remarkable book whose roots lie in an exhibition of works by Syrian artists and cartoonists held at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery in Amsterdam in 2012. By Susannah Tarbush
Minister's letter to British Muslim leaders
A deficit of trust
In mid-January, the British Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sent a letter to 1,000 Muslim leaders in Britain, asking them to "explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity". The reaction was swift, with many Muslims expressing anger or dismay at what they saw as the insinuation that Islam is not part of Britain. By Susannah Tarbush