Syria: Learning to cope
Syria is suffering the effects of the civil war. Forty percent of the nation's infrastructure has been destroyed. Four million people have been bombed out of their homes. Everyday life is becoming increasingly difficult in the worst-hit regions. Impressions from Andreas Stahl
50 Years of Women's Right to Vote in Iran
50 years ago, in 1963, Iranian women secured the right to vote. Fahimeh Farsaei looks back at five decades of progress and setbacks for the women's movement there.
Egypt: Graffitis of the Revolution
The January Revolution and the toppling of the Mubarak regime have left conspicuous marks on numerous facades in the cities and towns of Egypt. The provocative messages of graffiti artists and activists are almost exclusively political in nature and focus on issues such as repression, violence and arbitrary police conduct.
Libya's Rich Legacy
A year after Libya's revolution and the death of leader Moammar Gadhafi the country is still struggling in its transition to a democratic and just society. Remembering cultural traditions may help the process. Impressions by Gaia Anderson and Sabine Hartert
The Uprising of Arab Women
The Arab Spring raised hopes that women in the region would get more rights. They're now standing up for themselves. With Islamist parties winning elections, some fear that women's rights will be reduced again. By Andreas Gorzewski
The Conflict in Western Sahara – The Eternal Wait
For almost 50 years, the Sahrawi people have been waiting for a referendum that would give them the opportunity to decide for themselves over their future and their homeland, the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara. When Spain pulled out of the territory in 1976, the odds for Western Saharan independence looked good, until Morocco laid claim to the land and occupied two thirds of the territory, which it still holds today.
In an attempt to escape the Moroccan army, many Sahrawi fled over the border to Algeria, where they established refugee camps outside the city of Tindouf. They have since been waiting nearly forty years to return home. Laura Overmeyer visited the camps.
Muslims in Germany
A new exhibition at the Haus der Geschichte in Bonn offers a portrait of the daily lives of Muslims in Germany. By Marlis Schaum
Libya's legacy - one year after Gadhafi's death
It's been a year since Moammar Gadhafi's death - how are Libyans going about their lives and what remains of his legacy? A photo essay by Gaia Anderson
Libya celebrates its first national Liberation Day, a year after the country deposed of Moammar Gadhafi's rule. By Gaia Anderson
Afghans unite for the game of soccer
Afghan soccer fans celebrate the country's first premier league football final. By Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi
The Visible Face of Islam: Mosques in Germany
There are more than three million Muslims in Germany, and they now find "places of prostration" – the original meaning of the Arabic word for mosque, 'masjid' – in around 200 regular mosques, but also in countless other locations for prayers and gatherings. Many mosques in Germany are not used solely for religious purposes, but also as an arena for intercultural and interfaith encounters, aimed at contributing to the acceptance and integration of religion in Germany.
Photo Essay: The Suffering of the Syrian Population
For months now Syria's largest city, Aleppo, has been a battleground. These pictures, taken in Aleppo by the photojournalist Daniel Etter in July and August this year, tell a tale of violence and suffering - and also hope.
''Breaking the Silence'': Former Soliders Criticizing Practices of the Israeli Military
"Breaking the Silence" is an initiative launched by veteran Israeli soldiers who want to draw attention to the situation in the Palestinian territories. They tell of violence against Palestinians, intimidation, a gradual increase in brutality and more. The "Breaking the Silence" exhibition started its tour of European capitals in Berlin and is open from 13–29 September 2012. All photos from Breaking the Silence.
Iranian painter Homa Arkani: Beautycraze
In spite of strict moral regulations, plastic surgery is allowed in Iran. More than 60,000 Iranian women per year get nose surgery. Such contradictions have informed Tehran-born artist Homa Arkani's work since 1983.
Symbols and Slogans of the Arab Spring
The innumerable symbols and slogans in graffiti, banners and leaflets that served the Arab demonstrators as a means for political protest against their autocratic rulers were at times rich in metaphor, laconic and ironic, and at other times more direct and accusatory.
The Challenges of Ramadan
For one month a year, the daily routines of Muslims are determined not only by prayer rituals, but also by sunrise and sunset. During the hours of daylight, the faithful are required to desist from eating and drinking and instead exercise self-discipline and abstinence. But for many Muslims, Ramadan brings with it a whole host of other challenges.
Conflict in Northern Mali
Since the toppling of President Amadou Toumani Touré in late March, Mali appears trapped in a hopeless political crisis: While a band of soldiers staged a mutiny in the capital Bamako, within a few days rebel Tuaregs and Islamist groups seized control of the north of the country in a bid to declare an independent state. This unlikely alliance has since faltered, threatening to further exacerbate the conflict in this West African nation. Texts: Annett Hellwig
The Lipka Tatars of Eastern Europe
While Muslims in Western Europe still represent a very recent phenomenon, Muslims have been settling in Eastern Europe for several centuries – in Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania, for example. Here, they are an integral part of the population. At the beginning of the 14th century a group of Tatars settled on territory encompassing the former Arch Duchy of Lithuania who were, in a name derived from the old Crimean Tatar word "Lipka" for Lithuania, called "Lipka Tatars". Today, several thousand descendants of this people live in the region. Photos: Ahmed Krausen, texts: Annett Hellwig
Islamic Architecture on Zanzibar
Zanzibar has long been a place of religious tolerance and diversity, and this characteristic is reflected in its architecture. The East African archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania enjoys a reputation as a melting pot of religions. In the maze of narrow alleyways that make up the old quarter of Stone Town on the main island Unguja, mosques stand side by side with Hindu temples and churches among houses made of coral by Muslim Arabs some 300 years ago. Impressions and images by Arian Fariborz.
The Palestinian Nakba of 1948
It's a day of celebration for Israelis but for Palestinians it's the Nakba, the catastrophe. The foundation of Israel on 14 May 1948 meant hundreds of thousands of them fled or were expelled from their homes.
Traces of Jewish Life in Iraq
The history of the Jews in Iraq has been documented since the Babylonian captivity, which began c. 586 C.E. During this period, Jews who had settled in and around Babylon were quickly assimilated into Babylonian society. Iraqi Jews not only flourished at this time, they also represented the oldest and most significant religious-historic Jewish community in the world. The Talmud dates from this period. In the 20th century, many Jews left the country as a result of persecution and pogroms following the Arab-Israeli war (1948).
Women Leading Change in the Arab World
The "Arab Spring" has led to a revision of our picture of the Arab woman: they've been on the streets, playing an active role in the protests, demonstrating their strong commitment to democracy, human rights and rights for women – and that has surprised and impressed many onlookers. But now that the dictators have been overthrown and new political structures are in the process of being created, many fear that women will once more be pushed out of the public space. But their courageous stand in favour of justice has shown: women are by no means the weaker sex. Arab women won't give up, and they plan to carry their revolution into the future.
Pre-Islamic Art from Saudi Arabia
What is ancient Italian glass doing in the southern Arabian desert, how did Roman hair fashion look under date palms, and why were ancient Egyptian art styles found beside West Iranian ceramics at Arabian caravan stations? The exhibition "Roads of Arabia", currently on show in Berlin, Germany, presents spectacular artefacts from prehistory and early history, as well as from ancient Saudi Arabia: This pre-Islamic archaeological heritage, long blanketed by sandstorms and eradicated from the collective memory of the "motherland of Islam", has been the subject of research by Saudi universities, in cooperation with international colleagues. Qantara.de presents some of the most unique exhibits in this slide show.
The Many Faces of the Arab Revolutions
The Arab Spring has many faces: Anger, hope, exhaustion and outright fear have marked the lives of thousands of people between Libya and Syria in recent months. While there is already widespread concern at the prospect of counter-revolutions and frustration at the political stagnation following the ousting of the old guard in some nations, in others people still fear for their survival
Mosques in Germany
These days, mosques in Germany are as diverse as the Muslim communities they represent. There are those that reflect the architectural tradition of classical Ottoman mosque design, but Germany has in the meantime also become home to several modern and innovative mosques such as those in Penzberg or the Cologne district of Ehrenfeld. Every year on October 3, the mosques operate an open-door policy for interested visitors. But in actual fact, it's possible to visit a mosque at any time.
Gadhafi: The End of a Tyrant
He seized power with force and wanted to lead Libya into a golden age of popular government. But his megalomania became his doom. On October 20, 2011, Moammar Gadhafi, for decades one of the most piercing figures in the league of Arab despots, was killed following fighting in Sirte.
The Al Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad
Al Mutanabbi Street is one of the oldest and best known streets in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, viewed as a seismograph of the state of Iraqi culture over the course of the centuries. The history of the street goes back to the time of the Abbasids. It was the site of the first book traders' market in the metropolis that was Baghdad. With its almost inexhaustible supply of books, Al Mutanabbi Street served as a contemporary witness to the political and cultural changes taking place in Mesopotamia. While in the 1950s, most of the books available were Marxist writings, these were later replaced by nationalistic Pan-Arabic works. For more than 30 years, traders were only allowed to sell books that glorified the Ba'ath ideology and later Saddam Hussein. All photos by Munaf al-Saidy
Ramadan in Asia
Ramadan is a holy month for the world's Muslims. It is a month of peace and the time in which the Koran was first sent down from heaven to the Prophet Mohammed. The fasting takes place from sunrise to sunset and means abstinence from eating, drinking and sex. It is a form of worship. Those who fast should gain a better appreciation of the predicament of the poor and the destitute. Ramadan is also a month devoted to intensive prayer and social welfare. Our slide show presents impressions of Ramadan from the varied Islamic cultures all across Asia.
Children in Afghanistan
Journalist Martin Gerner has made several trips to Afghanistan since 2004, reporting for various German radio stations and print publications. The photographs he has taken in the country represent an attempt to capture the everyday life of children in Afghanistan.
Women in Iran
The image of women in Iran has undergone dramatic change in recent years; Today, many Iranian women play a much more active role in their nation's economic and social life than during the Shah era. More than half of all students at Iranian universities are female. And in professional life, many Iranian women are keeping pace with their male counterparts, working as doctors, engineers, teachers and university lecturers. As actors and directors, they are making a significant contribution to the cultural life of their nation. And despite all the restrictions imposed on them by Islamic moral guardians in public life, they are making their presence felt in the sporting world too – something that would have been unthinkable just decades ago.
The Restauration of the Iraqi Marshland
In the years 2003, 2004 and 2006, Ikhlas Abbis traveled through the marshlands of southern Iraq. He took photographs of the process of development taking place in the swamps, which were drained under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and reflooded after his overthrow.
Islam in China
Photojournalist Sean Gallagher traveled through the Islamic region of China in autumn of 2005. His photos show a vibrant Islamic society which nevertheless always feels threatened by China's centralized power structure.