5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

British Muslims seek legal protections, Biden unveils his climate agenda, and why Saudi Arabia is getting away with murder.

Muslims attend a vigil at the East London Mosque for the victims of the New Zealand mosque attacks on March 15 in London, England.
Muslims attend a vigil at the East London Mosque for the victims of the New Zealand mosque attacks on March 15 in London, England. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Britain offers special legal protections for Sikh and Jewish communities, but not for Muslims. Concerted efforts to correct this omission have been thwarted by British courts. And the U.K. Equality and Human Rights Commission has declined to investigate Islamophobia, as it did with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. This leaves Muslim Britons particularly vulnerable—and in need of government action, Mohammad Zaheer writes.

In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate plan is looking far more viable than former President Barack Obama’s. It doesn’t hurt that the economic arguments for clean energy have grown far more robust in the interim, FP’s Michael Hirsh writes.

And—aside from the partially virtual format—things looked far too normal at Davos in the Desert last week, FP’s Steven A. Cook writes. When the operative man is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that’s never a good thing.  

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.


A volunteer prays alone in a prayer hall with signs on the carpet enforcing social distancing at Madina Masjid in Sheffield on July 24, 2020.

A volunteer prays alone in a prayer hall with signs on the carpet enforcing social distancing at Madina Masjid in Sheffield on July 24, 2020. Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

1. Defining Islamophobia Is the First Step Toward Addressing It

Anti-Muslim animus is on the rise in Britain—effectively normalized in public discourse—but it’s not being met with any sort of political urgency. That’s in part because the government has long resisted creating a public definition of Islamophobia, Mohammad Zaheer writes. 


U.S. President Joe Biden greets Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry

U.S. President Joe Biden greets Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at the White House on Jan. 27.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

2. Why Biden Has a Better Shot at Saving the Climate Than Obama Did

Biden will be the U.S. president to tackle climate change not simply because he has public opinion and Congress on his side, but also because he has connected clean energy to a populist plea for good union jobs, FP’s Michael Hirsh writes. 


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in a virtual session in the capital Riyadh, on Jan. 28, 2021.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in a virtual session in the capital Riyadh, on Jan. 28, 2021. FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

3. How Saudi Arabia Gets Away With Murder

The world has failed to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, not to mention the country’s ongoing abuses in Yemen. That shouldn’t be a surprise; corporations would never decline the rich investment opportunities Riyadh offers, FP’s Steven A. Cook writes.


People walk by a sign for both a coronavirus testing clinic and a COVID-19 vaccination location

People walk by a sign for both a coronavirus testing clinic and a COVID-19 vaccination location outside of a Brooklyn hospital in New York on Jan. 27.Spence Platt/Getty Images

4. Blocking Undocumented Immigrants From Vaccination Is Self-Sabotage

Undocumented people in the United States were disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic long before talk of vaccines. The country now has a moral and public health obligation to get them inoculated, Eillen Martinez and Zackary Berger write. 


A supporter of President Donald Trump walks with a confederate flag during a protest on Dec. 12, 2020 in Washington.

A supporter of President Donald Trump walks with a confederate flag during a protest on Dec. 12, 2020 in Washington. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

5. How to Counter White Supremacist Extremists Online

The same social media companies that have failed to remove far-right content from their platforms have had no trouble doing so for Muslim extremists. The Biden administration has a small window of opportunity to rectify the discrepancy, Bharath Ganesh writes. 

Allison Meakem is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @allisonmeakem

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