In memory of the horrendous attack at the mosques in New Zealand, a defence of migrants, refugees, and a plea for moderation to confront the extremism that threatens further attacks.  


Can literature widden the scope of our understanding of the nations of the Middle East away from Orientalism and ISIS to include the struggle of a middle class that continues to fight for reform in the region?   


A translated excerpt from a memoir describing Iraq during the Gulf War and the misery and uncertainty plaguing those living in war zones.  


The lifting of the driving ban marks a new era for women in Saudi Arabia, but why do US Liberals seem muted in their advocacy for similar progressive social policies around the Muslim world?  


A personal reassessment of the exodus of Jewish Iraqis to Israel through published histories, biographies, and novels.   


Who—in this shamelessly visual age—would bother to read an analysis of the Muslim world’s modern history when ISIS is swamping social media with ghastly short videos whose impact on viewers is often irrevocable? What can my apologetic writings change if the Pandora’s Box of fear has been opened and is indiscriminately spreading poison?


The next time you read an inspiring book, listen to an enchanting melody or even pass by a well-structured piece in some boutique window, do not be surprised if it turns out to be the work of another “architect on hold" struggling to reconcile theory and practice in the contemporary world. 


Putting up with the hectic world of social media is not the sole challenge contemporary authors are facing. We are expected to master performance art and entertain an audience not only through our written work, but also by means of public talks and appearances. 

Ali Shakir's picture
Ali Shakir

Iraqi-born, New Zealand-based architect and author, his articles and essays—in Arabic and English—appeared in several newspapers and literary journals in the Arab world, England, the United States and New Zealand.


Cafe Fayrouz: A Novel Except for One Chapter
ASP INC. | 2015
A Muslim on the Bridge: On Being an Iraqi-Arab Muslim in the Twenty-First Century
Signal 8 Press | 2013
Saddam and I, and the Stockholm Syndrome
Dar Elthaqafa Elgedeeda | 2018