Tom Verde

Freelance Writer

Pawcatuck, CT

Tom Verde

Freelance Journalist, specializing in Religion/Culture/History
M.A. Islamic Studies & Christian-Muslim Relations


Feasts: Middle Eastern Food to Savor & Share

The “breaking of bread and sharing of meals have long played a part in uniting cultures, communities, and families” throughout the Middle East, writes Ghayour, a noted British-Iranian chef who hosts a popular supper club at various sites in London. With family meals and ritual gatherings as focal points, her colorful new cookbook offers menu suggestions and more than 90 recipes, arranged according to occasion, time of day or diet preference.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain

(Reviewed together with To Live Like a Moor: Christian Perceptions of Muslim Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Spain by Olivia Remie Constable. Robin Vose, ed. 2018, University of Pennsylvania Press, 978-0-812-24948-4, $55 hb.) Brian Catlos offers a fresh treatment of the multicultural tapestry of al-Andalus (medieval Islamic Spain).
AramcoWorld Link to Story

The Prized Pepper That Comes From a Single New Mexican Town

Gastro Obscura Link to Story

Women Behind the Lens: The Middle East's First Female Photographers

When the “Here and Elsewhere” exhibition opened in 2014 at the New Museum, ARTnews magazine called it the first comprehensive survey of Middle Eastern and North African contemporary art and photography to show in New York. More impressive, the magazine said, was that of the show’s 45 artists, nearly half were women.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Cairo’s House of Knowledge

On March 24, 1005, a man reputed for madness came to his senses long enough to establish one of the most progressive and influential academic institutions of the Middle Ages. “On this Saturday ... the so-called House of Knowledge in Cairo was inaugurated,” wrote the chronicler al-Musabbihi, a friend of the new institution’s founder, Caliph al-Hakim, who had assumed his title nine years before.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Welcoming veterans to belated college careers with yoga and a dose of Taoism

Religion News Service Link to Story

The Taste of Egypt: Home Cooking from the Middle East

While this colorful volume includes many of the usual Egyptian ingredients—fava beans (fuul) and lamb, bulgur and eggplant—it is a far-from-conventional cookbook. To begin with, the author explains that she is “an Australian born to Egyptian parents” who learned many traditional recipes from her mother or relatives in Cairo while taping a Middle Eastern reality-TV cooking show.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Scents and Flavors: A Syrian Cookbook

Aside from a few examples from antiquity, it wasn’t until medieval times—between the 10th and 13th centuries—that cookbooks appeared, courtesy of Arab scribes. The texts addressed the public’s desire to know, as one early Baghdadi author put it, what “kings and caliphs and lords and leaders” ate.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition: The Raqṣ Sharqī Revolution, 1890–1930

She argues that raqṣ sharqī was in fact a rebellion against foreign occupation, “a product of Egyptians actively defining and asserting their cultural and national identity.”. Drawing on Arabic primary sources including accounts by “Egyptians who created the dance themselves,” the book takes readers into the Arab-owned, colonial-era entertainment halls where raqṣ sharqī was presented.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

East/West: A Culinary Journey through Malta, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, and Andalusia

Noting the latitudinal boundaries of the countries in this handsome cookbook’s subtitle, students of history will quickly get the gist. This “East” to “West” culinary journey is “deeply rooted” in the author’s Phoenician heritage, a legacy of trade and travel dating to antiquity. Yet the equally adventurous modern cook will appreciate the creative range of recipes offered here, rooted in tradition, yet updated for the contemporary, albeit sophisticated, kitchen.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

For ICE detainees, access to clergy is infrequent or absent altogether, rights groups say

In May, Roberto Rauda, an undocumented immigrant, went to a New London, Conn., courthouse to pay a fine for carrying an open container of beer. Instead he was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in a routine sweep and ended up in the Bristol County House of Corrections in North Dartmouth, Mass.
Religion News Service Link to Story

The Long Journey of the Aleppo Pepper

Early in the seven-year-old Syrian civil war, American imports of Syria’s signature dried, ground Aleppo chiles dropped drastically. The spice-trading city of the same name, where the fresh pepper was traditionally grown and processed, has been devastated in the fighting, which has destroyed lives and livelihoods.
The New York Times Link to Story


Tom Verde

Specialties: Islam, Middle Eastern history, interfaith relations and dialogue, early Christian history, and comparative religion. Have written and published extensively on religion, culture, the environment, and travel in major national and international publications (New York Times, Boston Globe, AramcoWorld, Biblical Archeology, National Geographic Adventure, Travel & Leisure, Wildlife Conservation, et. al.) as well as broadcast networks including NPR, Public Radio International and the BBC. Worked with the British Council, the Social Science Research Council, and the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University to develop a secondary school curriculum entitled "Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean." Recent awards: 2018, Religion News Association Award for Excellence in Religion News Analysis; 2017 Clarion Award, National Federation of Press Women, and Connecticut Press Club Communications Contest; Finalist, Religion Newswriters Magazine Writing Award, 2015; Folio Award for "Best Single Article" 2013; Clarion Award for "Best Magazine Article" 2011; also past winner of New York Festivals, National Headliner, and National Federation of Community Broadcasters awards.



  • Editing
  • Writing
  • Curriculum Development
  • Lecturing