Ramadan in Muslim Europe

“Look! It’s Dino Merlin,” whispers the man beside me. A well groomed white man in his early 50s wanders into Sarajevo’s Gazi Huzrev Beg Mosque courtyard and half sits, half leans against a large stone block. He is wearing stylish sunglasses and regatta-chic clothes. Nobody bats an eyelid. People are too busy listening to the quranic …

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Travel, in the ‘true’ spirit of Ramadan

Ramadan. A time for reflection. A time for meditation, and for many of us, a time to carefully consider our daily lives; how does our conduct affect others? Are our transactions pure? What is our relationship with God? Are we fulfilling our duties as Khalifa (caretaker) on earth ... ? In a year when sustainable …

The Baltic Islamic trail

Islam in the Baltic has a surprisingly long history. There is evidence of Muslim travellers and geographers appearing in the area as early as the tenth century. However beyond the odd adventure or mapping exercise, the Baltic held little interest for them. The first real Muslim community is established in the 14th century in southern Lithuania, east …

Lithuania’s Forgotten Love Minaret

If you didn't know it was there, you'd never find it. The old dirt path that crosses the railway tracks leads only to a blue tourist sign that says "50m" and points left towards what seem to be just a load of trees. There are no other clues that anything is here.  Passengers stand on the platform at …

The real European Renaissance: A photographic ode to Al-Andalus

On April 27, 711AD Tariq Ibn Ziyad, General for Caliph Al-Walid I, head of the Muslim Umayyad dynasty in Damascus, Syria, landed with his troops on a huge rock that can still be seen from the coast of Morocco today. That rock is now known as Gibraltar, a Latinisation of 'Jebel-al-Tariq' to mean the 'mount of …

5 Islamic Secrets of Europe

"Islam and Europe", don't quite fit, right? One doesn't belong in the other, apparently. "Islam and Muslims should leave Europe!" say the ignorant on both sides. Whatever your views, one thing isn't up for debate. Europe has a massive 'Islamic heritage'. In fact Islam arrived on these shores within a couple of decades of Muhammad's death, meaning …