New Internationalist

Cover for October 2009 - Issue 426

October 2009's Issue

Thirty years after the Iranian Revolution, political Islam is at a crossroads. But is the Islamic Republic really Islamic? Writer and broadcaster Ziauddin Sardar explains why he thinks it most definitely is not.

Who is funding Islamic extremism? Nafeez Ahmed gives the lowdown on support for ‘our terrorists’ – and it goes beyond the usual suspects.

Next month’s issue also offers dispatches from minority voices in the Muslim world. A gay Iraqi activist traces the changes – from discos to fatwas – in post-‘liberation’ Baghdad. A feisty Saudi Arabian feminist speaks her mind – and stays put in her own country. A Jewish Iranian embraces both her faith and her homeland.

Be prepared to be surprised.

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Featured in issue 426

Cut to the core

Gold miners in the Brazilian Amazon are destroying the Yanomami community’s home. But, says Davi Kopenawa, his people are ready to fight for their land. Rowenna Davis met him.

Our kids, their kids

Children of safai karmacharis (people engaged in sanitation work) in Gujarat are being forced by teachers to clean toilets and mop floors in school. Mari Marcel Thekaekara listens to their stories.

One in one million

Campaigner for women’s rights in her native Iran, Leila Alikarami talks about the One Million Signatures campaign, how the equality laws can and should be changed, and the impact of the election result on her fellow countrywomen.

  • 22 Oct 2009
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From Calais to Dover: the widening gulf

Sophie Roumat reports on last month’s destruction of the ‘Jungle’ - the Calais camp which housed Afghan asylum seekers.

Running out of patience

Exactly 34 years after a ruling by the ICJ recognized the Saharawi’s right to self-determination, British MPs gathered to call for the release of seven human rights defenders in Morocco. Stefan Simanowitz was there.

In every kiss a revolution

Uruguay, self-proclaimed ‘Latin capital of respect and tolerance’ marches for diversity. Solen Lees reports.

'I don't have a problem - the problem is theirs'

In Bolivia, public and community art is being used to convey the priorities and aspirations of disabled people.

ISLAM - people and politics

The facts and figures of Islam

  • 1 Oct 2009
  • 2

Natural Selection

Szperling’s short, punchy novel paints a vivid pen-portrait of the savage and amoral nature of this stratum of Argentinean society.

Best of the NI web

Favourites from the New Internationalist blog

  • 1 Oct 2009
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Islam in power

Hadani Ditmars calls for a return to Islam’s spirit of democracy and pluralism.

Fish Tank

A film that gets inside the mind and feelings of a young person deeply at odds with the world. Written and directed by Andrea Arnold.

Last frontier

Local communities fight mineral exploration and eviction in the Andes

  • 1 Oct 2009
  • 0

Regime thumbs its nose at the world

The largest forced relocation since 1996-98

  • 1 Oct 2009
  • 0

The road to recovery

A decade after independence, Timor-Leste’s people are still struggling to get justice

  • 1 Oct 2009
  • 0

Named and shamed

Countries across the globe that are flouting international law and violating refugees’ rights.

  • 1 Oct 2009
  • 0


The reality of indigenous life in the Amazon. Directed and co-written by Marco Bechis

Vulture culture

Time to close down the investment companies that feed off the living

  • 1 Oct 2009
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Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal, celebrity rapper and ex-child soldier, talks to Rowenna Davis about why he is championing African education.

Greening the law

The streets have traditionally been the home of environmental activism. But could campaigners be just as at home in the courtroom? Olly Zanetti considers the evidence.

More information on Islam

Books and websites for further reading on Islam.

  • 1 Oct 2009
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Big Bad World 426

Money talks in Polyp’s cartoon.

Our terrorists

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed on the spooky complicity between Western intelligence agencies and Islamist extremism.

Permission denied

Maria Golia recalls why part of her Egyptian education involved learning how to break the rules.


Facts, figures and a brief history of life in Guinea.

Al-'ilm Nur (Knowledge is Light)

Syed Tajammul Hussain’s artful approach to Qur’anic verses.

Toxic planet

Our profligate use of deadly chemicals is coming back to haunt us, writes Zoe Cormier.

A century of voluntary hunger

Anthony Dias ponders the purpose of the hunger strike.

Motlhalefi Mahlabe

Motlhalefi Mahlabe photographs slums in a South African township.

Our terrorists

Islamic fundamentalist militants are the enemies of Israel and Western governments, right? Think again. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed reports in this extended version of the article which appeared in the October 2009 issue.

Thursday Night Widows

Nominally a thriller, Thursday Night Widows is less concerned with the ‘whodunnit’ aspects of plotting than with a psychological dissection of a social class obsessed with bickering and petty jealousies as the pillars of their world dissolve.


Where did the controversial idea of the ‘Islamic state’ come from? Ziauddin Sardar traces its origins.


An album with a range of references stretching from a lazy Delta blues to the yearnings of Urdu devotionals. By Najma Akhtar and Gary Lucas.

From the edge

A gay Iraqi, a Jewish Iranian and a Saudi feminist tell their stories

  • 1 Oct 2009
  • 0

Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast

Guitars blast, synthesizers go mad and a group of gospel harmonizers strain for the heavens as sitar strings twang. By Cornershop

Cover of the May Issue: West Papua of New Internationalist

On Newsstands

May Issue: West Papua

Freedom in sight?

West Papua stands on a knife-edge between freedom and disaster. In this issue, we hear the voices of people living under Indonesian occupation and fighting to be free. We learn about the unifying power of Melanesian music, expose the extractive companies that are profiting from Papuan repression, and hear Indigenous leaders lay out their visions of the new country they want to build.


Online now

Populism rises again

In the post-truth world of 2016, the day of the demagogue arrived. President Duterte played Dirty Harry in the Philippines. A pussy-grabbing, fact-denying, tax-shirking billionaire got elected US president. Smirking Brexiteers lied through their teeth and had their way. Authoritarian populists have stoked anger and division, and exposed faultlines in democracy. In this edition we ask, what is the appeal of the appalling? And is a progressive populism the answer?

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