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Amarnath Amarasingam
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Amarnath Amarasingam is a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, and also teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. He is the author of Pain, Pride, and Politics: Sri Lankan Tamil Activism in Canada (under contract with The University of Georgia Press). His research interests are in diaspora politics, post-war reconstruction, surveillance, social movements, radicalization and terrorism, media studies, and the sociology of religion. Add him as a friend on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

He is the editor of The Stewart/Colbert Effect: Essays on the Real Impacts of Fake News and Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal. He is also the author of several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, has presented papers at over forty national and international conferences, and has contributed op-ed pieces to Al-Jazeera English, The Daily Beast, The Toronto Star, The Huffington Post and Groundviews. He can be reached at

Entries by Amarnath Amarasingam

An Open Letter to Tarek Fatah: Can You Sit This One Out?

(4) Comments | Posted December 3, 2014 | 11:57 AM

Dear Tarek,

Early yesterday, a friend sent me a message linked to a Facebook post you had put up. Unsurprisingly, he attached an "lol" to it. I'm accustomed to your posts, usually calling this or that individual an Islamist or attaching the Muslim Brotherhood label to some harmless and well-meaning...

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Can Comedy Fight Religious Bigotry?

(2) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 11:04 AM

I did not expect The Muslims Are Coming! to bring tears to my eyes. It was supposed to be a (film about) comedy after all, a film about the absurdity of Islamophobia in the United States, and about the role of comedy in combating stereotypes and generalizations about...

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The Prophet Is Dead: Juche and the Future of North Korea

(9) Comments | Posted December 19, 2011 | 5:50 PM

As the North Korean government announces the death of Kim Jong-il, the future of the "hermit kingdom," along with its 25 million people, remains largely uncertain. It is no secret that life under the Dear Leader was no picnic. Just this month, over 40 human rights organizations, marking...

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Black July: Remembering the 1983 Riots in Sri Lanka

(6) Comments | Posted July 23, 2011 | 10:56 AM

"Shoot! I am telling you, shoot! Shoot and run!" Seelan bellowed. Seelan was demanding that his childhood friend Aruna kill him and escape. Aruna saw tears in Seelan's eyes as Aruna pointed the gun and fired. Seelan collapsed dead.

A sudden death in the small village of...

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Post-War Sri Lanka: Rethinking Reconciliation

(6) Comments | Posted June 20, 2011 | 10:52 AM

As my doctoral dissertation deals with Sri Lankan Tamil activism in Canada, I was asked by a few people why I had not yet weighed in on the recent Channel 4 documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, which in conjunction with the United Nations Report released in...

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Is President Obama a Sellout?

(19) Comments | Posted May 30, 2011 | 9:00 AM

The fear of the sellout is rampant among many ethnic and racial groups in the United States and Canada. When members of these communities enter positions of privilege, they indeed become objects of pride and admiration, but these feelings are often accompanied by a nervous uncertainty as to whether they...

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With Reason on Their Side: Is Secularism a Movement?

(107) Comments | Posted May 19, 2011 | 10:04 AM

With news last week that Pitzer College, a small liberal arts college in California, is instituting the first ever major in "secular studies," it is clear that sociologists need to catch up with what is rapidly becoming a "movement" of sorts. It goes without saying that the study...

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Nationalism, Cricket and the Religio-Politics of Sport

(11) Comments | Posted April 5, 2011 | 9:08 PM

In 1968, Avery Brundage, President of the International Olympic Committee, declared that sports, "like music and the other fine arts, transcends politics." The statement came out of a sentiment of hope rather than fact, and was, of course, incredibly naive. If Claude von Clausewitz is correct that war is merely...

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Peter King's Radicalization Hearings Deaf to Reality

(11) Comments | Posted March 12, 2011 | 2:41 AM

This article is co-authored with Rory Dickson (doctoral candidate, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)

With faint echoes of Senator Joseph McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities of the early 1950s, Republican congressman Peter King begins hearings on radicalization among American Muslims this week. To be sure, there is a...

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The Problem with Karma: Notes from the Conflict in Sri Lanka

(262) Comments | Posted March 4, 2011 | 8:02 PM

Over the past month, there has been some speculation among members of the global Tamil community on whether Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Texas to obtain cancer treatment in secret. The story in itself is not particularly interesting, but it does have relevance for the post-conflict situation in Sri...

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How Should Religion Behave in Public?

(1256) Comments | Posted November 28, 2010 | 7:38 PM

The positive enthusiasm garnered by the writings of the New Atheists evidences a growing sentiment in North America about organized religion and the role it should play in the public square, especially when it comes to setting public policy and legislation. The enthusiasm is a reaction to what many feel...

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What Jihadists Talk About Online

(147) Comments | Posted October 22, 2010 | 7:27 AM

As terrorism expert Marc Sageman wrote in his book Leaderless Jihad, "The growth of the internet has dramatically transformed the structure and dynamic of the evolving threat of global Islamist terrorism by changing the nature of terrorists' interactions. The nature of this influence is still misunderstood both by...

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Are American College Professors Religious?

(565) Comments | Posted October 6, 2010 | 8:59 PM

Many sociologists of religion, as well as the general public, seem to take for granted the causal relationship between higher education and the decline of religion. The more educated someone becomes, the theory goes, the less religious they are likely to be. As European and American universities broke free from...

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Holocaust Denier David Irving Back in the Fray

(4) Comments | Posted October 5, 2010 | 3:20 AM

Israel's oldest newspaper Haaretz recently reported that David Irving is leading a group of supporters who have each paid around £2000 (about $3160) to take part in an eight-day tour of wartime sites in Poland. Their itinerary includes visits to the "Wolf's Lair," Hitler's Eastern Front headquarters, and...

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What Is Global Dimming?

(7) Comments | Posted October 1, 2010 | 12:35 PM

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
- Benjamin Franklin

There has recently been a lot of talk and a lot written about global warming. Increasingly, skeptics are coming to realize that global warming is not a political issue. I used to often hear the question...

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Jon Stewart's 'Million Moderate March'

(61) Comments | Posted September 21, 2010 | 11:08 AM

In his much publicized appearance on Crossfire on October 15, 2004, Jon Stewart accused Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala of "hurting America." When Carlson responded that Stewart himself rarely asks tough questions during his interviews, Stewart argued that The Daily Show cannot be held to the same standard...

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The Westboro Baptist Church's Search for the Jewish 'Elect'

(129) Comments | Posted September 15, 2010 | 8:30 PM

If Americans are sick of seeing Westboro Baptist Church members at the funerals of dead soldiers, they can rest a little easier. While they are not entirely retiring picket signs reading "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," church members have recently printed a few different ones: "The Jews Killed Jesus" and...

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