Author Archive

Newt Gingrich Joins Muslim-Baiting Movement


Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Early this week, disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich warned that “a commitment to religious freedom and God-given rights is being replaced by a secular oppression…”  Just hours after those words appeared on Human Events, Gingrich issued a statement forcefully opposing the construction of a community center and mosque in downtown Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero.

Gingrich’s affinity for religious freedom and his belief in God-given rights it would seem, doesn’t extend to Americans who are Muslim.  Such outright bigotry and blatant hypocrisy from Gingrich, an avid historian and former college professor, is even more repulsive when you consider his reasoning.

“There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York,” he writes, “so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.”  Gingrich, who has been railing against the so-called secular socialist machine for trying to take religion out of the public square, and who, like most conservatives, decries the influence of foreign law, wants the U.S. to apply the same standards on Muslims that Saudi Arabia applies to those who are not Muslim.

That’s rich.

As the Washington Monthly‘s Steve Benen, after noting that conservatives continually justify despicable acts of torture on the premise that other nations and non-state actors employ such tactics, points out, “We’re not supposed to lower ourselves to the levels of those we find offensive.”

Gingrich’s clarion call continues: “Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for ‘religious toleration’ are arrogantly dishonest.”  What makes them Islamists, apologists or even dishonest? Gingrich doesn’t say but if you ask him, he’ll likely tell you about the Katusha rockets that Hamas has fired into Sderot or how Iran is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.  Anything and everything to take the subject away from the “religious freedom and God-given rights” to which American Muslims are entitled.

To understand Gingrich’s paranoia that “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization,” one must delve deeply into the polarizing, overzealous and paranoid minds of professional Muslim-baiters and the politicians who depend on their support and cater to their illiberal demands.

Many of them are monomaniacs who have made it their life’s mission to defeat Islam and “expose” all Muslims as radical Islamofascists.  If one asks them for evidence to support their claim that no Muslim can be trusted, they will likely mention a purported plot by Muslim Brotherhood operatives to destroy America from within.  The Council on American Islamic Relations and their intern/spies are routinely placed at the epicenter of the evil conspiracy.

Among these folks, any and all Muslims who “refudiate” such insane theories — who denounce violence and terror, profess their loyalty to the American system, take part in the democratic process and who have assimilated into the American landscape — are cleverly employing taqiyya, which, as any Muslim-baiter would tell you, is religiously sanctioned deception.  The same was said about Jews decades ago and anti-Semites once evoked the specter of “Judeo-Bolshevism” the way that Muslim-baiters and politicians like Gingrich today warn of “Islamofascism.” But none of those awful facts really matter, even to a historian such as Gingrich, because facts have long been accused of being part of the secular-socialist machine.

Gingrich’s stand against the mosque project and his attempt to smear its backers as “Islamists” and apologists earns him his anti-Jihad bona fides, and with that, the support of an increasingly mistrustful and hateful electorate which lives off of tying American Muslims to every heinous act that occurs anywhere that remotely sounds Islamic.  In this world, if the media fails to make the connection, they are clearly part of the soft-jihad.

Here is the key: The connection rarely has to be solid.  In fact, the more specious the connection, the more the Muslim-baiter will be seen by others as a patriot and an enterprising investigative reporter.  For instance, the New York TimesRobert Wright highlights one smear that has been contrived to defame the man leading the effort to bring the project to fruition.  The imam behind the project is not to be trusted because conservatives say that “[his] wife has an uncle who used to be ‘a leader’ of a mosque that now has a Web site that links to the Web site of an allegedly radical organization.”  If you can’t keep up with all of that nonsense, then you’re complacent about the Jihad.

Any and all statements against violence made by Muslims must always be placed in the right conservative context: scare quotes.  Gingrich does this masterfully.  That simple act in effect says that Muslims who preach peace are actually jihadists.

As Gingrich and his buddies believe, either you are with them or you are, through your dhimmitude, a proto-Jihadist.  No, you’re worse since you probably support a second genocide against Jews.  (Prominent Muslim-baiters have argued that Muslims instigated the Nazi holocaust!)  Now that you’ve learned all of these made up facts, you simply do not have an excuse to not fight! Wake up and oppose the “Ground Zero Mosque” the “Islamization of America” and prove to those who hate the freedom in America that those freedoms, as Newt argues, don’t actually apply to all Americans.

Cross-posted on Huffington Post.

Ergun Caner, Ex-Muslim Evangelical Leader, Exposed As Fake


Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Originally @ Huffington Post

Ergun Caner is one of the most prominent figures in the evangelical movement. He is also one of the most deceptive.

A self-professed Muslim convert to Christianity, Caner plays an important, and arguably dangerous, role in the community. After the 9/11 attacks, when many Americans were searching for answers, Caner stepped up with enthusiasm to present himself as an expert on Islam. He used his own “personal history” (much of it since demonstrated as bogus) to confirm his audience’s deeply-held suspicions about the faith that many of them blamed for the attacks.

Today, as president of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a professor of apologetics, he exhibits tremendous influence in shaping the next generation of evangelical leaders.

A burly man with a charming smile, Caner is an eloquent speaker and an even better storyteller. He blends the Gospel with humor. He’s a big fan of Glenn Beck and NASCAR. He speaks about love. He tweets. And, he is well-liked by his students. In the five years that he’s been at Liberty, the school’s enrollment has nearly tripled.

Caner is a protégé of Paige Patterson, the controversial and successful leader of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who is perhaps best known for forcing the Southern Baptist Convention into the political right. Paterson spoke at the school’s commencement this year.

By the time he came to Liberty University, a Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia founded by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, Caner had already become a prolific writer. He and his brother had written several books aimed at evangelical audiences. Many of the books recounted their paths to Christ. It’s hard not to be moved by the narrative — true or not.

Born in Turkey to a religious father, a muezzin (one who performs the call to prayer), Caner grew up detesting the United States and all it stood for. He learned bits and pieces about his future homeland from watching the Dukes of Hazzard. During his teenage years, his family immigrated to the United States. His father came here to spread the message of Islam and build mosques.

During his senior year in high school, his life changed. Caner found Christ. A friend, “a solitary Christian boy,” refused to take no for an answer and insisted that Caner learn about Christianity. He invited him to his tiny store-front church where Caner talked to the pastor, a man with a sixth grade education who questioned him about his firmly-held convictions. Caner was amazed to discover the true teachings of a faith he had been trained his whole life to hate. He accepted Christianity, as did his two brothers, Emir and Erdem.

When he told his father, he was disowned. It was, he writes, a difficult experience for young Ergun, who didn’t speak to his father for many years. In one of his books, he writes, “For the other 95 percent of the world’s population, conversion to Jesus Christ often means disowning, disinheritance, expulsion, arrest, and even death.” But he was resolute in his newfound faith and was willing to give it all up for eternal salvation. Caner and his younger brother Emir (president of Truett-McConnell College, a small Bible college in Cleveland, Georgia) became shining examples to evangelicals.

If a hardened and hidebound jihadist “trained to do that which was done on 11 September” could come around to accepting Christ, the logic went, it proved beyond doubt that the message of Christ was universal.

The main problem with Caner’s journey from Jihad to Jesus is that much of it is fiction, a complex lie made up to give his conversion more authenticity. He fabricated almost everything. For someone who allegedly fought jihad, Caner’s understanding of the very basic tenets of the faith he is a so-called expert in is rudimentary.

Caner does not know the difference between Islam’s article of faith and the first chapter of the Qur’an. He’s claimed that the lunar month of Ramadan lasts for 40 days. In his book, he writes that he performed all of the rakats (daily prayers). The actual word is salah. It’s not a difference most people would know, but he says he is an expert on Islam. Muslims, he once said, followed something he called the “tobaad.” He’s claimed to have debated Muslim scholars who’ve never heard of him. Court records from his parent’s divorce indicate that he was in Ohio when he was a young child, long before his alleged move from Turkey. On his books, his middle name is Mehmet (Muhammad in Turkish), yet it is listed as Michael on his concealed-weapons permit in Virginia. Before 9/11, he went by E. Michael Caner.

In one speech, Caner told a crowd that outside the mosque in Kabul there was a sign that read, “Do not teach the women to read and write.” The story may or may not be true, but Caner, to give authority to the tale, told the crowd what was written in the native tongue: “bahasha uwtara muwtara seeteeroh.” That’s neither Dari nor Arabic nor Urdu nor Turkish nor Pashtu. It is an entirely made up language.

To his audience, Caner’s tale of moving from darkness to light reaffirmed their convictions about the superiority of Christianity and the decadence of Islam. But the facts eventually caught up with Caner, thanks to a Muslim student in London who methodically went through his speeches and interviews, chronicling each and every one of his lies. Others quickly piled on, including some within the church.

Ironically, in 2005, Caner came to the defense of Florida-based preacher Jerry Vines who angered the Muslim community with his demonization of the Prophet Muhammad. A piece in the Florida Times-Union quoted Caner, who defended Vines by saying, “No one expected a Baptist preacher to actually research.”

That’s precisely why Caner’s duplicitous persona went unchallenged for so long. No one expected a preacher to so boldly fabricate his entire background. It was all a ruse, intended to play off the evangelical movement’s ignorance and fear of Islam.

For months, Liberty University refused to investigate Caner’s background. Now that local press and even the Associated Press have written about the controversy, the school has set up a committee to investigate the allegations. If they excuse his behavior, they risk tarnishing their credibility. If they punish him, they risk provoking the anger of the evangelical community.

An unrepentant Caner maintains his innocence, saying that he “never intentionally misled anyone.” He blames the campaign to discredit him on Calvinists and their Muslim interlocutors. At the same time, many of his duped followers are refusing to accept reality. They are taking their anger out on those who have exposed the fraud and not on the charlatan himself.



Monday, December 22nd, 2008

This is an extended and edited version of a brief presentation I recently gave at a dinner for the DC Green Muslims, a group of environmentally minded Muslims from around the Washington Metropolitan area. The discussion was geared around the concept of space and my portion of the program dealt with community space. I tried to guide the topic away from the euphoric and existential and focus more on the failures of ‘green’ and to make some criticisms of the green movement’s current community development paradigm, which I see as not taking into account the realities of disparate communities, specifically, the urban poor and communities of color.

At the most basic level, a community space is somewhere that people live and work together. School, mosques, grocery stores and neighborhood are all community spaces in that people come together to create place, and that space is defined by its individual component parts. For example, one can say that a neighborhood is defined by the sum of all the buildings, roads, parks and trees which it contains. Remove any single part of the equation and you have altered that community space to some degree. Of course, altering is not always a negative thing and many communities need to be developed and changed in order to become more sustainable and livable.

2994483828_2a2b3f3945In the era of environmental degradation, ‘green’ discourse seems almost unchallengeable precisely because an alternative model is so badly needed. Certainly, those who are not too fond of the environmental movement come up with their usual complaints, but internal criticism if rare, and where it is found, it has yet to pick up any steam. This is because planting trees, opening cafes, building walkways, using recycled bags to do our shopping, planting community gardens, installing solar panels on traffic lights, all these things are needed in order to develop a community space and make it sustainable.

But what often goes unnoticed and sometimes even ignored is the idea that no matter our intentions, the present green development paradigm has dramatic consequences on the urban poor. In order for the green movement to be successful in developing sustainable community spaces, the community which is most impacted and which defines the space MUST be at the forefront of all projects.

In Islam, our deeds are judged by our intentions. Good rarely comes from a bad intention. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “Surely actions are by intentions and each will get that for which they intend.”

But what if a good intention actually produces a negative consequence for some? Examples of this abound here in DC and in urban centers around the country where the dominant green discourse is said to clean up areas and promote sustainability while actually accelerating the process of gentrification. Communities may be developed but seldom do the current residents of these spaces benefit from such development.

The reason that the urban poor are often left out of the equation is because the development paradigm began not as a movement to make cities more sustainable, but rather, to stop the spread of and reverse the process of urban sprawl. This movement, almost from inception was led by the middle and upper class. Susana Almanza, in her article, Removing the Poor through Land Use and Planning published in Race, Poverty and the Environment, asserts:

People of color, the poor, and the working poor were not at the table and thus, the impacts on these communities did not receive meaningful consideration. Urban planners and developers began developing the urban core as if people of color were not living in them. New zoning codes and policies were adopted to make room for the new urbanisism. Communities of color throughout the United States began to see condos, lofts, McMansions, and live/work buildings pop up in low-income and people of color neighborhoods. A tidal wave of gentrification began to engulf people of color communities.

Columbia Heights is but one example.

B. Jesse Clarke, editor of Race, Poverty and the Environment admits to me that the current system is doing nothing more then “greenwashing and smart development at the expense of established poor communities.” The solution, according to Clarke, is to put political power in the hands of the poor and communities of color who have historically been disenfranchised.


In short, “it takes political power to win social and economic rights for communities of color and low income people”, a power which often takes a backseat while we figure out the next project that will make us feel good about ourselves. The fundamental issue is that the green movement is perceived as, and in many ways actually is, a movement of the elite, or rather, to be less critical, a movement that is, more often then not, led by those who have the ability and the time to care.

If we are to move beyond just feeling good about ourselves because we recycle, reuse and reduce and towards developing communities, the urban poor, the residents of these neighborhoods MUST be at the forefront and we MUST work towards their political rights and their power. Unfortunately, the poor often don’t have the means or ends to participate, just as they do not have the means to shop at Trader Joe’s or buy organic products.

If the people most impacted by environmental degradation are not considered, then green projects ultimately fail in their goal of sustainability. We must make sure that our good intentions result in good deeds which benefit the poor rather then making their communities unlivable.

photo credit,

The Role of Media and Piracy in Somalia


Friday, December 12th, 2008

Joe Le Sac recently published a comment on the state of anarchy in Somalia and how piracy is being painted in the international press. He writes:

Somalia is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. While international eyes scorn the recent hijackings of over 40 shipping vessels off Somalia’s coast and berate the perceived “lawlessness” of the pirates who hold them for millions of dollars ransom, Somalis themselves seem more concerned about the destruction of human life caused by corporations and blood money from Western governments.

Very little attention is given to the fact that Somalia is, by the UN’s own admission, the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa. Rather, the focus on piracy seems to avoid contextualization. Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post analyzes the sensationalist coverage of piracy across the international media.

The AP reports that the commander of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, is showing reseveration on the recent idea of attacking the pirates by land. Since Somalia has no effective government, there is no international consensus on what to do with the pirates if they are detained. The government they do have seems to near collapse.

The New York Times reported last week that:

Somalia’s transitional government looks as if it is about to flatline. The Ethiopians who have been keeping it alive for two years say they are leaving the country, essentially pulling the plug.

To make matters worse, BBC reports that about 15,000 Somali soldiers and police have deserted. Furthermore:

Mr Kumalo, the South African ambassador, also said most of the Somali government’s security budget – supposedly 70% of its total budget – disappeared through corruption.

Craigslist Fraud


Monday, November 17th, 2008

craigslistThe Internet provides us with many things. It allows us ample opportunity and a myriad of channels though which we can communicate with friends and family, find out about local events, organize meetings, stream our favorite shows, listen to NPR, learn a new language, explore a new place, share gift ideas and purchase almost anything our hearts desire. More importantly, the internet offers us a great degree of anonymity, the attendant consequence of which being the ability to develop alternate personalities and interact with the global community in whatever shape of form we so choose. Unfortunately, in the realm of e-commerce, the lack of structure and the fluidity of the net also makes it easier to cheat, steal, embezzle and destroy lives.

My friend recently received a new iPod Touch as a gift from her brother. Content with the older yet still operational model she already had, and looking ahead to purchasing a new camera in order to develop and expand her new-found affinity for photography, she decided to put her gift on the popular Craigslist site. The following is one variant of the myriad of questionable solicitation she received. To do justice to absurdity, all errors have been kept in tact.

I am very glad to hear back from you. I am a University Senior lecturer residing in brooklyn ,N.Y. I came across this ad on Craigslist and thinking of my Son’s Birthday coming up, I would love to get an awesome present for him, which he really wants, he was currently transferred from Us to West Africa with his team on a research on Human development under world Health Organization.I’ll be paying you through Paypal,it’s secure and protects two parties in a transaction. I will forward my son’s residential address to you for shipping as soon as the payment reaches you. Please kindly get back to me ASAP,so that i can make the payment there.


NB: I will be paying you $520 for item and i will include $ 130 to cover up the cost price for the shipping fee. Get back to me with your paypal email asap.


Most people, and luckily my friend included, can see the obvious scam being perpetrated. However, this is a multibillion-dollar industry precisely because unwitting victims do not take precautions to protect their identity nor their pocketbook. While it is often a good idea to avoid absolutes and do away with broad-brush strokes, most of these Internet scams originate from West Africa, and more specifically, Nigeria (most of the available literature focuses on Nigeria, but I’d like to note that I recently received a solicitation from Bolivia.) The scam above seems obvious because the buyer is willing to pay far more than the price of the item.  The Internet is replete with criminals patiently waiting for any opportunity to steal your information. In fact, there are entire websites dedicated to selling fake/stolen credit card numbers.

However, it should be made clear that financial identity fraud can be fought from both directions. Just as the onus is on consumers/buyers to protect his/her personal information, it is equally as important for retailers/sellers to be vigilant against this sort of fraud. For one, most retailers will not ship internationally. For example, if I was staying in Ghana and wanted to buy a new computer so that I could blog for The Melon, Apple would not complete my transaction. They would refuse to ship to Ghana.

Here’s how criminals get around these restrictions, and notice how the gentleman who wrote my friend uses a variant of this technique to get his paws on this iPod, which he ultimately fails to do. Let’s say now that I am in Lagos, Nigeria and I have possession of a fake credit card. Impressed with the clothing on the newly formed Melon Store, and knowing how much my children want to wear Melon gear, I use the credit card to make purchase orders. Now, as a precaution against fraud, The Melon store will not ship a sweatshirt to Lagos. What to do?

Find an unsuspecting American to send it to me, of course. Here is where it gets even more sinister. If I want to be successful in my criminality, I need to find a lonely yet hopeless romantic, preferably through a chat site. (With the explosion of social networking sites, the opportunities here are endless.) Let’s say that I meet a very nice middle-aged woman named Kathy who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kathy is lonely and more generally, a very trusting person. I meet her online, and with the fake persona that I have created, I write sweet nothings to her on a daily basis. As our relationship develops, I even promise to marry Kathy eventually.

Essentially, I get it to the point where Kathy is willingly yet unknowingly being used as a pawn in my scheme to get Melon gear. After I communicate with her and get her in my snare, I make purchases and have them shipped to Lincoln. Once there, Kathy then uses her own funds to send the clothing to Lagos and of course, given that I have wooed her with promises of marriage, she pays for it out of pocket.

My aberrant behavior aside, I end up with the gear, my children are ecstatically and rightfully happy with their new fashionable Melon gear, Kathy is still lonely but has now spent thousands of dollars she does not have in the hopes of finding love and the poor person whose identity and credit card was stolen pays the ultimate price. It happens daily, even hourly and it is not just the elderly or the rationally comatose that fall victim to this.  We are all either victims or potential victims.

The Link Between AIDS and Poverty


Saturday, October 18th, 2008


In her book, AIDS and the Ecology of Poverty, Eileen Stillwaggon asserts that “Global AIDS policy has failed to stem the epidemic spread of HIV’ because the current policy attempts to stop HIV transmission at the last possible moment, instead of grappling with the underlying causes of the epidemic.” HIV is a global pariah, and while it does not discriminate based on color or creed, some 90% of victims come from the developing world. Its prevalence in subaltern societies is linked to the fact that people who are economically disadvantaged are more susceptible to infectious diseases, such as HIV and other maladies found predominantly in the developing world.

Stuart Gillespie, a senior research fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute, connects the rise of global food crisis to the AIDS epidemic. As politicians and economists continue to discuss the implications of the current economic meltdown, and the looming recession that is expected to worsen in the coming months, what is not often discussed is how the liquidity crisis plaguing Western financial institutions will put further upward pressure on food prices around the world and specifically, in the developing world. Gillespie notes that there is no one singe factor that has caused the current crisis. Several months ago, Professor Dave Balaam from the University of Puget Sound, whose area of interest is in agricultural policy, came on the Melon to discuss the factors that have contributed to the food crisis.

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According to the World Food Programme, the majority of ‘high-risk countries’, meaning those countries that are in most need of the food aid, are in Sub-Saharan Africa, which, not coincidentally, is also the region with some of the highest HIV rates in the world. The link between poverty and HIV seems pretty clear.

Here are Gilliespie’s main conclusions:

  • Sudden increases in food insecurity often lead to distress migration as people search for work and food. Mobility is a marker of enhanced risk of HIV exposure, both for the person moving, and for other adults who may remain at home.
  • Food insecurity at the household level is likely to translate over time into higher rates of adult malnutrition with possible detrimental effects on immune status.
  • Where food insecurity translates into increased rates of maternal malnutrition, we can expect to see a rise in babies born with low birth weight, who in turn may be at higher risk of vertical (mother to child) HIV transmission.

Certainly, HIV and food insecurity are closely related to one another, and while poverty makes the effects of HIV more pronounced and HIV destroys a countries workforce, which worsens poverty levels. What is clear is that there is a vicious cycle between the two. But while billions are going into the developing world in order to treat and curtail the spread of HIV, very little is going towards one of the main risk factors: poverty.  Once credit markets are restored, which most economics do not see happening in the near future, the focus should turn to poverty.  It is only through fighting poverty that the billions spent on AIDS research each year will happen a tenable impact on global health in the world.

Russia Today on Sarah Palin


Friday, September 5th, 2008

A look at Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience from the Russian perspective. Russia Today is the first 24/7 English-language news channel to present the “Russian point of view on events happening in Russia and around the globe”.

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has wasted no time in casting a cloud over Russia. In her keynote speech to the party convention in Minnesota, the Alaskan Governor accused Moscow of using energy as a weapon in its disagreements with the West.

Chad at Buzz Flash has more on Palin and her foreign policy experience vis-a-vis Russia.

Gavage in Mauritania


Sunday, August 17th, 2008


The nation of Mauritania faces a myriad of social, political and economic problems, which has greatly impacted it’s ability to develop. While most Mauritanians live and work in urban centers, a sizable number still depend on agriculture and animal husbandry, specifically in rural areas where the government has had little influence in affecting policy. One area where this is most apparent has been with gavage, or the practicing of force feeding. In his book Mauritania, Alfred G. Gerteiny wrote this of gavage:

Women are subjected to gavage-that is, forced feeding, in order to gain weight. Fathers send daughters 10 or 11 years of age to live with herdtending dependent aznagui who see to it that the girls gain weight … often by being tied to the ground, and, to expand their stomachs, given nothing but water for three days. Then they are crammed with milk, usually camel’s milk.

Though decades have passed since Gerteiny wrote of the practice, gavage still occurs. In Mauritania, women who are overweight, or in some cases, obese, are considered beautiful and alternatively, women who weigh what we here would consider a healthy weight are shunned. In recent years, the government and NGO’s have forcefully led a campaign to discourage the practice. The forceful feeding of adolescent girls creates a plethora of health complications as the young girls mature into women. In the larger cities, the practice has visibly been cut, both by a changing of the times and by the discouragement of the practice. However, things are different in the desert, where people continue traditional practices.


Turkish journalists attacked in Georgia


Friday, August 15th, 2008

Watch the amazing video.

Bolivia and Libya Establish Diplomatic Relations


Thursday, August 14th, 2008

La Razon reports that Bolivia and Libya have agreed to establish diplomatic relations. The agreement, signed in the Bolivian capital of La Paz by Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca and his Libyan counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohamed Matri, strengthens the position of Bolivian President Evo Morales and his fledgling MAS government, which faces a political impasse as several Departments (states) seek regional autonomy.

A close relationship between the two states would dramatically help the impoverished Andean nation, which has large natural gas reserves and is attempting to draw foreign investment not specifically from multinational-corporations but from oil and gas exporting countries.


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Walid Zafar
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Walid Zafar is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and currently lives in Washington D.C. In addition to writing for The Melon, Walid also runs his own blog, Subalternate Reality which focuses primarily on issues that disproportionately impact the poor. Born in Kabul, but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Walid’s main interests include Latin America, contemporary Islamic issues, global indigenous movements, food and agricultural policy, development economics, infectious diseases, money laundering and natural resources.