Most recent article by: Claudia Mende

Sign and logo of the Hakawati bookshop in Amman (photo: Claudia Mende)

The Hakawati bookshop for children and young people in Amman

Huge appetite for exciting stories

Since opening ten years ago, the Hakawati bookshop in Amman has become an institution in the Jordanian capital. Nowhere else in the city offers such a wealth of books for children and young people. Claudia Mende took a look around this fascinating shopMore

Paolo Dall'Oglio (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Abduction in Syria of Paolo Dall'Oglio

A voice of peace in a wilderness of violence

The Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall'Oglio was abducted eight months ago in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. There has been no trace of him since. A popular figure in Syria, the priest has been a consistent champion of dialogue between Christians and Muslims. He was one of the few members of the Church to align himself with the opposition right at the start of the uprising against Assad in March 2011. By Claudia MendeMore

Dr Naika Foroutan (photo: picture-alliance/ZB)

Interview with Naika Foroutan on Germany's Islam Conference

Encouraging developments

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has announced that the German Islam Conference will no longer concern itself with security issues. For sociologist Naika Foroutan of Berlin's Humboldt University, this is a positive sign. At last, the conference will be able to concentrate on ensuring religious equality for Muslims in Germany. Claudia Mende spoke to herMore

A newsreader prepares to read the news on a DITIB television programme in the German city of Duisburg (photo: DW/U. Hummel)

Interview with Kerem Öktem

Farewell to the "Islamic Vatican"?

Diyanet, Turkey's state-run Directorate General for Religious Affairs, is often referred to as a kind of Islamic "mini-Vatican". The Ankara-based authority seeks to shape the religious lives of Turkish Muslims living in Western Europe. In Germany, the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), a federation of almost 900 mosque communities, is closely allied with Diyanet. Claudia Mende asked German scholar Kerem Öktem of St Anthony's College Oxford to what extent Ankara influences debates about religious matters in GermanyMore

Syrian refugees in Jordan: Inam and her daughter Najah (photo: Claudia Mende)

Refugee Crisis in Jordan

At the Breaking Point

Jordan has accepted around 600,000 Syrian refugees to date, and more are on the way. Although Jordan is continuing to show a considerable willingness to help, the fact that there is no foreseeable end to the Syrian civil war has led to growing frustration among Jordanians due to rising rents and increasing competition on the labour market. By Claudia MendeMore

Muslim men praying in Berlin's Sehitlik Mosque (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Debate on European Islam

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A Mined Terrain

The concept of European Islam has proved to be a constant source of controversy. For some it embodies the deliverance of Islam from everything that is perceived as backward looking and pre-modern. Others fear that a European Islam is a watered-down religion, a kind of government-controlled "state Islam", prepared to fully accommodate to the wishes of the authorities. By Claudia MendeMore

The minaret of the Yavus Sultan Selim Mosque in Mannheim and the spire of the Liebfrauen Church (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

The Dialogue Lexicon

Christianity and Islam on Equal Terms

The Eugen Biser Foundation in Munich and the Islamic-Theological Faculty at the University of Ankara have published a joint lexicon of basic terms from Christianity and Islam. The reference text in German and Turkish provides, for the first time, a parallel presentation of two monotheistic religions in one work. By Claudia MendeMore

Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt's Transitional Government

A Setback for Human Rights

When Mohammed Morsi was ousted from office in early July, Egypt's transitional government promised that new, free elections would swiftly follow. Since then, it has excluded the Muslim Brotherhood from the political process and is systematically restricting civil rights under the pretext of combating terrorism. By Claudia MendeMore

Impressions from the past Zahnräder conference (photo: Seren Basogul)

Young Muslims in Germany

Taking a Stand for Society

The first network made up of engaged, young, well-educated Muslims has been active in Germany now for more than three years. The network, called “Zahnräder” (Gear Wheels), has brought together Muslims from various disciplines and interests, regardless of ethnic background or internal Islamic differences. By Claudia MendeMore

Demonstrators hold pictures of the victims of the NSU terror in front of the courthouse (photo: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

NSU Trial in Munich

A Thoroughgoing Investigation and Justice

A trial under strict security precautions has begun that will deal with the crime wave committed by the neo-Nazi terrorist group "National Socialist Underground". The families of the victims are hoping that the accused, Beate Zschäpe, will finally break her silence and take a stand on the charges. Details by Claudia MendeMore

Muslim women attending an event at the University of Münster (Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa)

Muslim Women and Integration

Oppressed in the Name of Islam?

The majority of Germans regard Islam as misogynist. No other issue in the public debate on integration has evoked such bitter controversy among Germans. Nonetheless, the image of the "oppressed woman" does not correspond to the real life situation of most Muslim women. By Claudia MendeMore

A finger pointing at verses of the Koran (photo: Ulrike Hummel/DW)

Mouhanad Khorchide's Reformist Theology

De-politicizing the Koran

Mouhanad Khorchide aims to reconcile Islam with the modern world. His aim is to liberate the Koran from all outward trappings and return to the religion's spiritual core Claudia Mende introduces the man and his workMore

Photo symbolising an Islamic religion class in a German school (photo: dpa)

Islamic Religion Classes in German schools

Who Decides?

After years of discussion and debate, the first German states are now introducing Islamic religion classes in public schools. However, because there are many different branches of Islam and no central authority to offer guidance, the question as to who should be allowed to decide on teachers and lesson content is leading to serious conflict. By Claudia MendeMore

Ali Abdel Mohsen (photo: Claudia Mende)

The Egyptian Artist Ali Abdel Mohsen

The Natural Pessimist

Ali Abdel Mohsen is one of the young, original, and generally irreverent artists who appeared as if out of nowhere in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution and who have completely altered the Cairo art scene. A portrait by Claudia MendeMore

Supporters of Mohammed Morsi at a pro-Morsi rally (photo: Reuters)

Egypt – a Nation Divided

Trapped between the Religious and Secular Fronts

While Egypt's elites see themselves in a culture struggle between a liberal and a more strongly Islamic direction, the poor are growing increasingly disappointed in a revolution that has brought them no improvements whatsoever to date. Claudia Mende reports from CairoMore

Salwa Bakr (photo: Claudia Mende)

Profile of the Egyptian Writer Salwa Bakr

The Voice of the Marginalized

Salwa Bakr is an unassuming literary star. Not a natural self-promoter, the Egyptian writer is nevertheless one of her nation's best known authors at international level. She has written 18 books, many of which have gained international recognition and been translated into nine languages. By Claudia MendeMore

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