My mentor at the Reyhane dergah – the Sufi tekke in Berlin, where I remained for two years - was a Turk named Ahmed. He was my age, born in a town near Istanbul, who had moved to Germany in his twenties, first living in Stuttgart, and then coming to Berlin. Ahmed spoke perfect German, despite being surrounded all the ...

Eyüp Sultan mosque (Eyüp Sultan Camii) is perhaps Istanbul’s holiest spot, outstripping even Hagia Sophia in sanctity. The standard bearer of the Prophet Muhammad, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, who  took part in a failed siege of Constantinople in 674 – and after whom the mosque is named -  is buried here. On top of the grave stands a nineteenth century mosque, an historical ...

Erol Ünal, a young German Turk from Esslingen, near Stuttgart, has come out with a scathing anti-Muslim exposé entitled, Der Abtrünnige – 15 Jahre in Moscheegemeinden. Meine Einblicke in eine Welt von Fundamenalisten und Rechtsextreme, über Radikale bis zu Sufis.  First off, let me say although I disagree with Ünal right from the get-go; taking issue with his tenets, precepts and conclusions, ...

We were about to set off by car from Berlin across Germany with Isa Martin, a German convert and whirling dervish at the wheel and  Hamza Altinok, a Sufi teacher and mystic, whose father had founded the first mosque in Berlin in the fifties, riding shot-gun. Both Hamza and Isa were frequent guests at the Ottoman Sufi Center, a Sufi dergah, or ...

One Friday not long ago I met with Ero Behrić and Alen Hebilović – two erstwhile figures in Berlin’s Balkan party scene –  in a Turkish café on Oranien Straße, half an hour before cuma – Friday prayers – at the Bosnian mosque on Adalbert Straße near Kotti. They always had cuma at two o’clock at the Bosnian mosque, which was a convenient thing for ...

GERMANY'S FAVORITE ARABIC Uncle Tom – Hamed Abdel-Samad - has just come out with a new polemic, Aus Liebe zu Deutschland – Ein Wachruf(Out of Love for Germany – A Wakeup Call).  After such books as Islamische Faschismus(Islamic Fascism) and Mohammad: Ein Abrechnung (Mohammad: A Settling of Accounts), this text aims at instilling in the German public a healthy dose of national pride, necessary, in Abdel-Samad’s ...