Author: Tanveer Ahmed

Taming the Lizard Brain

There is money to be made from stopping us from using our devices, but it might involve better regulation of our most primitive selves. Apple’s controls to help us limit our phone usage is the clearest evidence yet that self-regulation of technology companies must include not just data privacy, but protections of our humanity. Apple has included features on its new phones that turn off notifications overnight, during driving and expand parental protections. Google is implementing similar such controls. In the wake of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data scandals, the so-called tech-lash is the ultimate wake up call. It’s never been more essential that the industry considers implications beyond the user experience in the race to further monetise our attention. “If you don’t self-police, if you don’t preserve the trust of your user community, then you will get regulated. The downside with regulation is that government can’t keep up with the pace of technology,” says John Hennessy, the Chairman of Alphabet. That erosion of trust stems from growing mental health effects linked to technology …

What Makes a ‘Self-Hating’ Muslim?

I’ve recently returned from a study tour to Israel. As a Muslim visiting Israel I was put through considerable security, but was otherwise treated well. Since my return, I have been surprised by the level of negative reaction I received from other Muslims, including some close friends and relatives. It’s as if visiting Israel equates with ardent support for Zionism and the wholesale rejection of the Palestinian people, neither of which I adhere to. However, I have returned with a more complex understanding of the issues at stake. Wajahat Ali is an American attorney and writer, known for his contributions about the Muslim experience in The New York Times and The Atlantic. He writes eloquently about this strong faith. He also visited Israel recently. He interacted with Jewish settlers on the West Bank via a  program run by a group called the Shalom Hartman Institute and its Muslim Leadership Initiative. Based in Washington, the center has the laudable goal to help engage Muslim leaders and Jewish thinkers. Given Ali’s high profile, he made for an ideal …

Muslim Blackmail

I am not a practising Muslim, but care about the future of the faith. My ancestral roots are from Bangladesh, whose development is severely hamstrung by Islamist violence, including the summary executions of multiple secular bloggers in recent years. Like our Prime Minister, I believe Australia is one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world, driven by our migration policy of primarily skilled migrants and a smaller, but well funded refugee resettlement program. I have come to appreciate the extraordinary achievements of the West, from the sacred notion of the individual, the separation of church and State and the process of free and open debate without fear of violent reprisal. I do not believe this appreciation exists amongst most Muslims. While I grew up, I often heard from others that our failures in the Islamic world were due to Western colonization and exploitation. I believed it. As a young adult, I was warned about the licentiousness of mainstream society and how only piousness could protect me from collapsing morally. As I became more …