Political cartoons from the Arab Spring by Sudanese Cartoonist Khalid Albaih

Born in Romania, raised in Sudan and Qatar where he is still based, Sudanese artist Khalid Albaih has been leaving his mark on Sudanese, Arab and global politics. His series of online political cartoons, known as Khartoon!, gained international attention during the Arab Spring, where they were turned into stencils and sprayed onto walls in Beirut and Cairo. His name is quickly becoming synonymous with political art in the Middle East and beyond; he has been featured in international media outlets, including the BBC and the New York Times, and exhibited in Doha, Cairo, London, New York, and now here in Montréal.

For a full interview of Khalid Albaih, you can go here.

Khalid Albaih is in Montreal this week (Nov.2-8) for a series of events, at McGill Institute of Islamic Studies and in other places. Come on, come all!


A selection of new online resources

At least two incredible online resources were launched this week: the Arabic Collections Online and the Qatar Digital Library.

Arabic Collections Online (ACO) is an open access digital library of public domain Arabic language content. Funded by New York University Abu Dhabi, this mass digitization project aims to expose up to 15,000 volumes from NYU and partner institutions over a period of five years. NYU and the partner institutions are contributing all types of material—literature, business, science, and more—from their Arabic language collections. ACO will provide digital access to printed books drawn from rich Arabic collections of prominent libraries.

Arabic Collections Online- WelcomeThe Qatar Digital Library (QDL) has been developed as part of a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on Partnerships between the Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Library and The British Library. A wide range of content from the British Library’s collections (more specifically their colonial archives related to the Gulf Region) have been digitized since 2012, reaching a total of 500,000 images that will be available to browse and search by the end of 2014.

It is making a vast archive featuring the cultural and  historical heritage of the Gulf and wider region freely available online for the first time. It includes archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more, complete with contextualised explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic.

Qatar Digital Library Check them out!

Film screening – Sufi Soul: The Mystic Music of Islam

On Wednesday, October 15th at 5:30 pm, in the Octagon Room, the Islamic Studies Library will screen Sufi Soul : the mystic music of Islam. The film will be folloed by a post-screening discussion with Dr. Pasha M. Khan, Chair
in Urdu Language and Culture, and professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies.

Come on, come all!

Sufi Soul imageSynopsis: With a dogmatic and fundamentalist view of Muslims increasingly predominant in the Western media, there has never been a more important time to show an alternative view of Islam. Sufism is the mystical dimension of Islam that preaches peace, tolerance and pluralism. And it encourages music, which is seen as a way of getting closer to God. Sufi music is literally some of the most ecstatic in the
world. This documentary by Simon Broughton looks at Sufism and its music in different
part of the Islamic world – Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco. It follows
the development of Sufism, reveals the views and beliefs of devotees, examines
the growing threat from fundamentalist Islam and includes fantastic performances
from some of the greatest Sufi musicians.


Cambridge Archive Editions Online

Hi friends!

We currently have a 30 day trial of Cambridge Archives Edition Online. The trial runs from 1-31 October 2014. The CAE offers a plethora of primary sources in translation. From their website: “The collections of key documents are always made on specific and well-defined areas of research and each collection has the added value of arrangement into specific topics and document by document identification/description. The series of political reports focus on completeness and organisation of material previously unknown or scattered. Each collection is researched and edited by a professional researcher and sometimes also in cooperation with an academic specialist and presented in facsimile.”

Further information is here.

Access this incredible resource here.

Please let us know what you think!


Oxford Dictionaries: Arabic

Hi friends!
We currently have a 30-day trial with this new online resource. From their website:

Oxford Dictionaries | Arabic is a new groundbreaking resource for those with an interest in the Arabic language. Structured by Oxford’s renowned language research and compiled by an international team of expert advisors, the dictionary is based on language as it’s used today. Oxford Dictionaries | Arabic contains the latest vocabulary in technology, business, media, and the arts in both languages to ensure you have the most up-to-date words at your fingertips.

Key Features Include:

  • Over 330,000 words, phrases, and translations
  • 70,000 real life example sentences
  • Vowels in all Arabic text
  • Fully searchable in Modern Standard Arabic and English
  • Regular word and content updates to ensure this resource is the most up to date bi-directional Arabic and English dictionary available
  • Incorporates extra content including tables of Arabic verbs, numbers, and dates
  • Modern and user-friendly design is optimized for use on a phone or tablet

Click here to explore: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/arabic/

Please let us know what you think.

New exhibit: The Persianate Literary Heritage

The Persianate Literary Heritage: Hidden Treasures from McGill’s Collections celebrates McGill University’s rich collection of manuscripts, miniatures and lithographs in Persian (Farsi). From the Middle Ages onward, the use of New Persian, or Persian written in Arabic script, became widespread in the central and eastern lands of Islam, not only in Iran and Central Asia, but also in Anatolia and India. And, while Persian epic and mystical poetry remain particularly revered constituents of the Persianate literary heritage, Persian was also the language of choice for countless bureaucrats, historians, philosophers,  theologians and scientists throughout the centuries.

Laquer Case image

The Persian Literary Heritage exhibit highlights some of the most beautiful and unique pieces of literature, art, thought and history in McGill’s Persian collections. Indeed, the collection as a whole consists of 334 volumes and 81 fragments of primarily orphaned leaves. Many of these are illustrated and illuminated, testifying to the diversity,
elegance and scope of Persianate artistry. The collection ranges from the mid-14th century to the early 20th century, and geographically from Iran to Turan (Central Asia) to India. In addition, there is a representative collection of lacquer bookbindings and qalamadans (pen boxes). McGill’s Persian collection has a history that pre-dates the founding of the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) and the Islamic studies Library (ISL) in 1952. By the 1930s, the collection already included several hundred manuscripts, orphaned leaves and lithographs. The acquisition of Persian materials was the work of the University Librarian, Gerhard R. Lomer, and the private Montreal collector F. Cleveland Morgan who actively patronized the New York dealer Hassan Khan Monif. Furthermore, the distinguished Russian scholar of Ismailism, Wladimir Ivanow, was instrumental in developing the Blacker-Wood Persian Collection. Working for Casey A. Wood, the ophthalmologist, bibliophile and McGill Library benefactor, Ivanow brought together an exquisite collection of manuscripts on all aspects of Islam, including the natural and supernatural worlds; several of these manuscripts are included in this exhibition.

Curators: Sean Swanick (Islamic Studies Liaison Librarian) and Heather Empey (McGill School of Information Studies, graduate, MLIS’14)

Free Access through August to the Universal Database of Russian Islamic Studies

Eastview has just provided the community with access to the database.

Some of the contents include:

“Over one million people identify themselves as Muslim in the Russian Federation, making Islam the second largest religion in Russia behind Russian Orthodoxy. With archives dating back to 2004, this unique collection delivers access to this influential community’s most important publications on:

  • Islamic organizations in Russia and abroad
  • Political and economic developments in the Muslim regions of Russia
  • Current state of Islamic education in Russia, and more…”

Take a look at the database yourself. Click here to login. At the prompts, enter:

 Username: ISLtrial

Password: ISLtrial

This free trial is valid until August 31, 2014.

Let us know your experience!