Masters student Bader Al-Mutawa reports on his experiences on the course ‘Islam in World Politics’ (IR461) and the recent dinner the students attended.
During my undergraduate years in Kuwait, I studied about Islam through classic courses, such as the History of the Islamic World and Ottoman History. However, the LSE course, Islam in World Politics (IR461) was different in its nature. It was not as classical as the undergraduate courses that I took, but it allowed me to see Islam differently. Through discussions and readings, we were like a bird that has migrated from an extreme end such as the Middle East to another extreme such as Russia in addition to Central Asia, Africa, and so on. Along the way, the bird was able to pick out the different ways and patterns of Islam’s involvement and importance in world politics from the 19th century until now.
During the dinner evening on Wednesday, March 20th, Professor John Sidel and the International Relations department kindly invited us to a class dinner at a restaurant called Al-Maskoof, which offers Iraqi cuisine, located on the Kendal St of Edgware Rd. Al-Maskoof’s food is halal, which basically means that the food is prepared according to Muslim law. The halal touch made the dinner very relevant to the course’s theme, making the dinner an Islamic one.
Going to Edgware Rd was like travelling to a country within a country. In this case, it was like we all travelled to a Middle Eastern country within London, tying the location to the course material. This area of Edgware Rd started to attract Middle Easterners in the late 19th century. The arrival of the Egyptians in the 1950s prolonged the trend even more including a significant expansion in the 1970s. Other significant events included the Lebanese civil war and the overthrowing of the Iranian Shah. Today, we see a mixture of hookah lounges and the sort, gaining the area the nickname “Arab town” by Londoners and sometimes foreigners.
The dinner was a very beautiful way to talk about life in a casual way. We talked about our plans after graduation and what could happen in the future among many other things. It was a great way to help us to get to know each other at a casual dinner, ending the course in an eternally unforgettable fashion.