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Happy Slaughters from Turkey: An Insider’s View of a National Islamic Tradition

Happy Slaughters from Turkey: An Insider’s View of a National Islamic Tradition

By Teo Sagisman…..
This week the Turks are celebrating an age-old tradition, known as Eid al Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) in Arabic. Called Kurban Bayrami in Turkish, this tradition is both religiously and culturally important to many Turks. Kurban Bayrami is a long extended holiday, equivalent to the importance and length of the Christmas celebrations in the western world. The 4,0000 year-old story behind the Feast of the Sacrifice is common to all Abrahamic religions – Jews, Christians, and Muslims, but in the modern world, only adherents to Islam commemorate it in a literal way. As the story is told in the Hebrew Bible, Christian Bible, and the Quran, God tested Abraham’s faith by telling him to sacrifice his beloved son.

House of the Virgin Mary: The Discovery at Ephesus

House of the Virgin Mary: The Discovery at Ephesus

By Heather Abraham….
Unlike the Marian shrines of Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe and Knock, which are held to be the locations of apparitions of Mary, Our Lady of Ephesus is a shrine connected to Mary’s physical historical presence. Pilgrims who journey to Nightingale Mountain to visit the shrine believe it to be the site of her last earthly residence, the place of her death, and, for some, the location from which she was bodily assumed into heaven.

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1915-2011

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1915-2011

Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University….
At the ripe age of “eighteen and three quarters” (his words), Paddy Fermor decided to take a long walk, in lieu of attending university. He determined to travel by foot from the Hook of Holland all the way to Istanbul (a city he always imagined Greek-ly, and referred to stubbornly as “Constantinople” or “Byzantium,” its first name as a Greek colony). The trip took some years, and it gave both flavor and form to the rest of his extraordinarily long and extraordinarily creative life. But he did not begin to publish his reflections on the journey until fully forty years later, and that generational lapse between a youthful excursion and a mature reminiscence is a central feature in what makes his writing so singular, and the genre he created so difficult to define.

Memories of A Moderate Muslim Woman

Memories of A Moderate Muslim Woman

By Teo Sagisman
I lost both my parents at what I consider a young age. My religious background is that of a secular Turkish Muslim but I now consider myself a spiritual seeker more than religious. I lost my father when I was only five years of age. My paternal grandfather, originally from Eastern Turkey, had migrated to Istanbul in the early 1900’s. His last name, Sagisman, I later discover belonged to a list of Jewish converts to Islam (Dönmeh) who followed Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676) a 17th-century Jewish Kabbalist who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah but was eventually forced by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV to convert to Islam. After Sabbatai’s conversion, a number of Jews followed him into Islam and became the Dönmeh.

Close Mindedness on Religion

Close Mindedness on Religion

By Michael Hodson, Go, See, Write….
At the end of 2008, I quit my law practice in Northwest Arkansas and took off on a round-the-world journey with two rules: no reservations and no airplanes. Sixteen months later, I finally made it back home, succeeding on the no-planes portion of the challenge and almost making it without any reservations. Since getting back, I’ve continued with my overland adventures and have been writing about them at Go, See, Write. One day last summer after getting back from my journey, I was having lunch in town and a friend of mine came in and took a seat next to us and asked the almost-automatic first question I get these days: “Where was your favorite place?”

"Allah's Tailors" gaining profile in Turkey

“Allah’s Tailors” gaining profile in Turkey

By Alexandra Hudson, Reuters Faith World
Mustafa Karaduman, founder of Islamic fashion house Tekbir in 1982 and nicknamed “Allah’s Tailor” in the Turkish media, sees the changes in society and is hopeful of further growth. “Our work was quite amateur in the first decade. Then in 1992 we organized the very first headscarf fashion show, which brought us global attention. Now Islamic style clothes are on the agenda everywhere around the world,” he said.

Titillating Islamic Fashions

Titillating Islamic Fashions

By Heather Abraham…..
Since my first holiday to Turkey in 1996, and subsequent visits, I have noticed a continuous and substantial increase in the wearing of conservative Islamic attire (hijab). Since the advent of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Turkey has struggled to discourage public displays of this culturally influenced religious mode of expression; even going so far as to institute laws prohibiting the wearing of religious dress in government buildings. Today, the public wearing of religious garb has become a contentious issue on the Turkish political battlefield and has resulted in a significant cultural divide.

The Politics of Religion: From the Feast of the Assumption to the Ground Zero Mosque

The Politics of Religion: From the Feast of the Assumption to the Ground Zero Mosque

While most Muslim Turks labored to complete their first week of Ramadan during a record breaking heat wave, two branches of Christianity celebrated the August 15th Feast of the Assumption at prominent Christian pilgrimage sites. In Western Turkey, Capuchin Catholic Priests celebrated the Feast of the Assumption at the Our Lady of Ephesus Shrine (Meryem Ana) and in the Black Sea region, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of some 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, presided over the Assumption Mass at Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, Turkey.

Battle of the Burqa

Battle of the Burqa

By Heather Abraham Recent news reports and articles concerning France’s attempt to ban the wearing of certain modes of Islamic “veiling” in public is more than just the latest example of Western anti- Islamic sentiment.  As John Sullivan wrote in his Religion Nerd article entitled The Muslims are Coming, this  anti-Muslim sentiment has fallen in with the […]

Jews and Turks: Centuries of Goodwill

Jews and Turks: Centuries of Goodwill

Although our culture is well versed on the horrifying events of World War II, the story of the Turkish Jews is one that has unfortunately slipped into obscurity. In this time of religious discord, I believe it is important to remember that it has not always been so and that, contrary to popular media portrayals, religious differences do not, for the vast majority, signify hatred, distrust, or the negation of humanity.