It is a fact that, across the Middle East and North Africa, the so-called "Arab Spring" has highlighted the relevance of the public sphere, an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems and through that discussion influence political action.
Syria - the death toll reaches 93,000, the US administration says it has firm evidence of nerve gas use by the Syrian government and further says it will supply arms to the opposition. Things are moving - but towards what? The debate is focused on the arguments for and against armed intervention. I think that may well be very misleading.
It is a sign of political degradation when a former national leader cannot write a piece in a Sunday newspaper, about an issue with which he is intimately involved, without attracting a huge amount of venom, by people who have either not even read the article in question, and just attack Blair for being Blair.
Qardawi's call for jihad completely ignores the world as it is today: a world of nation-states. In order for there to be any progress in the Syrian conflict, Islamists of all colors and sectarian persuasions must throw out sectarian rhetoric. They must reconcile themselves with the idea that all Syrians are citizens and should not take the sectarian bait.
Muslim women, just as women off all religious affiliations and backgrounds, struggle against various forms of gender discrimination. What is important, is to distinguish between constraints imposed by Islam as a religion and the Patriarchal cultural norms that predate Islam. Legal restrictions on women's autonomy are often an amalgamation of the two.
If it weren't for the God-awful mess in Syria, I suspect we'd be paying a great deal more attention to the God-awful mess in Iraq. We should be, anyway. This month alone, more than 500 people have been killed in almost daily bomb attacks, and last month was reported to be the most violent the country has seen for nearly five years.