This collection of interviews by Dr. Farish A.Noor first appeared in the New Straits Times under the heading of his column Crosscurrents. Written between the years 1998 to 2003, they reflect the concerns of a political scientist from a newly developing country for the plight of the people of the South who were faced with the daunting prospect of trying to carve a place for themselves in a globalised world that was rapidly changing.
In them, the author discusses issues ranging from freedom of religion to the growing culture of authoritarianism in many Southern nation-states; racial and ethnic pluralism to the debate over Secularism and Modernity. Thought-provoking and controversial at times, they were an attempt to open the eyes of Malaysians to the intellectual developments taking place in other parts of the world then.
Dr. Farish Ahmad-Noor is a Political Scientist and historian based at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He has researched and taught at the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin; the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya; the Institute for Islamic Studies, Freie University of Berlin; the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM), Leiden; the Institute for the Study of Islam and Muslim Societies (ISIMM), Paris and has also served as the Chair of Asian Studies, Sciences-Po, Paris.
Over the years he has written extensively about the political development of Muslim societies worldwide, paying close attention to the social, economic and cultural evolution of Muslim countries in particular. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including the New Straits Times, Sin Chew Poh, Malaysiakini.com, Harakah, Ummahonline.net, Jakarta Post, The Nation, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Pakistan Daily Times and Impact International.
He remains an activist as well as an academic and is a member of several Malaysian Non-Governmental Organisations, including JUST, HAKAM, Suaram and Sisters in Islam.