Launched in 2016 by Nafisa Bakkar, a 27th years-old entrepreneur based in London, U.K., Amaliah is an online media-platform aiming to serve as an amplifier for Muslim women’s voices. Rich of contributions from over 300 women living all around the World, Amaliah allows for different feminine experiences within Muslim communities to be made pubic and widely accessible. Amaliah is committed to inclusion trying to take a broad-range of perspectives into consideration when addressing issues.

Over the years, Amaliah and its founder received a lot of attention from main-stream media: they were featured in Forbes, The Telegraph, CNN, and The Guardian -to name only a few- increasing the platform’s visibility and leading to a digital footprint of over 3.2 million every month.

The platform categorizes its multimedia content (text, video & audio) in seven main categories:

  • Identity relays stories of personal journeys to becoming a woman
  • Relationships is interested in romantic relationships, family relationships, and the relationship individuals have with themselves
  • Soul focuses on the spiritual side of things (tips, advice, and experiences helping to nourish and boost one’s faith or comfort one’s heart
  • Fashion shares fashion and inspiration from bloggers
  • Beauty & Makeup brings beauty and make-up advice
  • Lifestyle aims at inspiring, guiding and motivating with content inspired by one’s personal interests and daily activities
  • World focuses on current affairs, news stories across the globe and trending topics.

The Amaliah Podcast won the 2019 ‘Grassroots Production of the Year Award’ from the Audio Production Award, and was nominated for the 2020 British Podcast Awards in the ‘Best Sex & Relationships Podcast’ category. The Podcast discusses Muslim life, culture and politics in the U.K.

If some of you have ideas that they would like to share, Amaliah welcomes new contributions and contributors. So don’t hesitate to contact them at!

Last, in March 2020, Amaliah introduced a membership option giving access to a variety of exclusive events and content. You can check out the Support page to learn more!

The Arabist

Launched in Cairo (Egypt) in 2003 by Issandr El Amrani, a Moroccan-American writer and analyst, The Arabist is an independent blog covering “the domestic politics of Arab countries”. If the primary focus lies on Egypt, the blog also aims at exploring “broader issues in the Arab world, US policy in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and cultural developments throughout the region”. The blog is maintained in collaboration with Ursula Lindsey, a journalist interested in “culture, education and politics in the Arab world”, and welcomes contributions from multiple contributors, journalists and/or academics specializing in the region. After a very prolific decade, The Arabist is now less frequently updated, but remains nevertheless a valuable and reliable source of information for scholars interested in contemporary Arab politics.

Screenshot of ‘The Arabist’ main page, June 30, 2020.

The main page is used for posting links relevant to the themes of the blog, and is updated every couple of months. The Podcast & Projects tab in the top-left menu leads to additional resources: podcasts, press articles in translation, a guide to Egyptian political, economic and social issues, and an Egyptian magazine’s archive.

Bulaq: The Arab World in Books is a podcast started in November 2017. Co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey and Marcia Lynx Qualey, book critic, editor, ghostwriter, and literary consultant and editor-in-chief of ArabLit, Bulaq looks at the Middle East and North Africa “through the lens of literature and at literature through the lens of current events”.

From 2009 to 2014, The Arabist Podcast focusing on Egyptian politics during the revolution and its aftermath was co-hosted by Issandr El Amrani and Ursula Lindsey.

The 80+ episodes of both podcasts can be listened to and/or downloaded from their respective pages.

The Sabry Guide was developed in 2012 by Bassem Sabry, an Egyptian political analyst who passed away prematurely in 2014, to provide an overview of the political, economic and social challenges facing post-Mubarak Egypt, with a a focus on the everyday problems encountered by the Egyptian population. Re-arranged for clarity, this guide will be of interest to scholars working on contemporary Egypt.

From 2011 to 2018, in partnership with the firm Industry Arabic, ‘The Arabist’ regularly published materials selected from the Arabic press In (English) Translation.

Last but not least, The Cairo magazine archive makes available the 30 issues of this “magazine for News, Business and Culture” published between March and November 2005.


Jadaliyya is an independent electronic magazine published by the Arab Studies Institute, a not-for-profit organization based in Beirut that produces knowledge on the Arab World .

English Interface

Far from the main-stream media and common perspectives, Jadaliyya offers original insight and critical analysis rooted in local knowledge, scholarship, and advocacy. Jadaliyya is supported by a dedicated team of volunteer contributors among whom a number of well-known academics, journalists, and intellectuals like Sinan Antoon and Bassam Haddad. With a bilingual interface (EnglishArabic), and articles in Arabic, French, English, and Turkish, Jadaliyya aims to reach out to a broad audience located in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

Arabic interface

Jadaliyya contents can be browsed from the main page by country (Egypt, Palestine, Arabian Peninsula, Syria, Turkey, Maghreb) or by category (Refugees and Migrants, Cities, Culture, Law and Conflict, Political Economy, Pedagogy, Reviews, NEWTON, Reports, Media).

Articles can also be searched using the search window next to the categories (top menu), or discovered via the Jad Navigation page featuring “Recent stories”, “Jadaliyya recommends”, and “Arab Uprisings selections”.

“Pages” menu

The Pages menu at the top left corner of pages offers a wealth of information about the journal and its contributors. For questions or further information, you may visit the Contact Us page.

Egyptian Caricatures Archive / أرشيف الكاريكاتير المصري

In May 2018, the French Centre for Economic, Legal, and Social Study and Documentation (CEDEJ) based in Cairo, Egypt, launched in association with Bibliotheca Alexandrina a new portal to host its rich collection of Egyptian caricatures.

Egyptian Caricatures Archive/أرشيف الكاريكاتير المصري makes available 12,000 humorous drawings published in Egyptian newspapers between 1970 and 2010. This invaluable collection of primary source materials now available in Open Access to researchers and the general public.

The caricatures have been catalogued by the CEDEJ Library allowing for the database to be searched by different fields:

  • title of caricature
  • date of publication
  • title of newspaper where it was published
  • topic (drop-down menu)
  • author
  • keyword.

Images are provided in JPEG, and can easily be downloaded and saved.


At the time of our visit the interface was only accessible in Arabic, but according to the official announcement made by CEDEJ, the implemention of the English and French interfaces is scheduled for Octobre 2018.

Dr. Pasha M. Khan: The new Chair of Urdu Language and Culture

Hi friends!

A (much) belated congratulations to the new Chair of Urdu Language and Culture, Dr. Pasha M. Khan. Dr. Khan began in the Institute of Islamic Studies last year and has quickly risen ranks!

If you haven’t, be sure to take a read through Dr. Khan’s impressive PhD dissertation entitled “The Broken Spell: The Romance Genre in Late Mughal India.” Or his essay on “The Lament for Delhi ( Fughan-i Dihli).

Congratulations, Dr. Khan.

Robert Wisnovsky & Institute of Islamic Studies News

Hi friends!

Recently, Dr. Robert Wisnovsky of the IIS of McGill was promoted to full professor and has also been appointed to a James McGill professorship. This is of course wonderful news and a much deserved recognition for his individual achievements, but it also is an important milestone for the Institute for which we can all be proud.

In related news, Dr. Wisnovsky was recently interviewed by the Montreal newspaper, Le Devoir: Humanités 2.0 – Le zéro et l’infini McGill numérise la science et la philosophie islamiques.

In addition, Dr. Wisnovsky has an article in the forthcoming Cambridge University Press publication entitled Interpreting Avicenna Critical Essays.

Many congratulations, Dr. Wisnovsky!






Gezi Park Uprisings in Turkey

Hi friends!

The recent uprisings in Gezi Park have peeked people’s interest in Turkey and the various uprisings across the Middle East, particularly those of the 2011 Arab Spring. Our colleague, John Eilts at Stanford University wrote an informative post on sources on and about Gezi. And our friend Rifat Bali of Libra Books has listed the following websites and resources:

However, most interesting (to me!) is today’s al-Jazeera photo essay “In Pictures: The Taksim Square Book Club” which depicts numerous people reading in the park. And a couple of weeks ago the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet,  had an article on “Publishing houses to unite in Gezi Park to distribute major resistance material: Books.”

For those curious to read more about reading habits and the evolution of reading in Ottoman Turkey and the early Republic take a look at:

Şahbaz, Namık Kemal. 2009. Türkiye’de ilkokuma ve yazma öğretiminin tarihsel gelişimi. Ankara: MEB.

Fortna, Benjamin C. 2011. Learning to read in the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish republic. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Digitization of Turkish Manuscripts in the Balkans

Hi friends!

A short news piece released yesterday has announced a joint effort between the Yunus Emre Institute and several Balkan libraries in order to digitize various Turkish manuscript collections.

For those of you inclined to read about the Turkish manuscript holdings of the Vatican Library, take a look Rossi, Ettore. 1953. Elenco dei manoscritti turchi della Biblioteca vaticana: vaticani, barberiniani, borgiani, rossiani, chigiani. Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana (Ref. Z6605 T8 R6 ).

For more information on the Vatican’s manuscript collections take a look at St Louis University’s Vatican Film Library subject guide.

Timbuktu: Ancient Manuscripts in Danger of Extinction

May 20, 2013 marks the launch of global fund-raiser, T160K: Timbuktu Libraries in Exile.

A far cry from the fabled ends of the earth, Timbuktu, a small, northern enclave in the West African nation of Mali, is at the heart of a modern-day quest: to save the city’s many ancient libraries from destruction. Action must be taken immediately to preserve these ancient writings. Last year, after more than seven centuries in generational homes of dedicated safe-keepers, this collection of over 300,000 medieval manuscripts was suddenly caught in the middle of an ideological, territorial war. At great urgency and peril, a team of local stakeholders led by Abdel Kader Haidra and Dr. Stephanie Diakité conspired to rescue their beloved treasure.

This group of brave librarians, couriers and local Mali citizens risked everything to smuggle over 1,000 trunks of manuscripts by donkey cart, bicycle, on backs, and in boats, out of the city to new hideaways in other parts of the country. Not one document, not one person was lost during the evacuation.

Now that they are safely re-located away from the Sahara, the libraries have new enemies: humidity and tight quarters. This fatal combination could lead to devastation by mold and mildew. Most of these documents are made of rag paper and unstable inks, too fragile, even, to endure scanning digitization. The most immediate need is to re-package them in archival materials, index and re-secure them in their temporary sanctuaries. When it is again safe, they will be returned to their original guardians in Timbuktu.
Though the libraries are now secure from certain destruction by combatants in the war in Mali, a massive undertaking is required to prevent these exiled manuscripts from self-destructing. $7 million is needed to procure archival and storage materials and the labor necessary to preserve this priceless cultural heritage.

According to Dr. Diakité, “We saw the power of these libraries when people from all walks of life, whole villages, and speakers of every language in the region gave their time and effort, even under considerable risk, to help us evacuate them to the South. We believe that securing these manuscripts is a positive step towards a process of enduring peace and a reduced toll of human misery for this entire region.”
The rainy season is upon us. Every day counts.

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