Most recent article by: Lewis Gropp

Young women at the University of Benghazi, Libya (photo: DW)

Interview with Nader Hashemi

On the Compatibility of Islam and Democracy

In this interview with Lewis Gropp, Nader Hashemi, a leading scholar on Islam and secularism, says that the two are far from being incompatible – and that the West has to accept its share of responsibility for the revival of anti-democratic forces in the Islamic worldMore

Ravid Kahalani and his band Yemen Blues (photo: © Zohar Ron/Yemen Blues)

Ravid Kahalani's Yemen Blues

''Your Language Is My Language''

Ravid Kahalani is Israeli, but his family originally hails from Yemen. He and his group, Yemen Blues, explore the richness of Jewish and Arab-Muslim music, transcending national, ethnic and religious boundaries in the process. Lewis Gropp reportsMore

Cover of the Koran (source: Wikipedia/Creative Commons)

Mathias Rohe on Islamic Theology in Germany

Triggering Global Debates

In Germany, Islamic theology is being introduced as a university course – a much debated issue in academic terms, but also politically. In this interview, Mathias Rohe, Germany's most renowned academic expert on Sharia law, talks about what this means for the development of Islam in Germany and, potentially, on a global levelMore

Abbas Khider (photo: Jacob Steden)

The German Iraqi Writer Abbas Khider

Writing More Beautifully than God

Abbas Khider came to Germany as a refugee with no knowledge of the country's language. Now the man from Baghdad is listed by Germany's leading literary critics as one of the best writers of the moment. Lewis Gropp met the writer in CologneMore

La mezquita de Córdoba (photo: Steven J. Dunlop)

Ibn Rushd and Maimonides in ''Out of Córdoba''


The Muslim-Jewish Heritage of Islamic Spain

Lewis Gropp reviews a documentary that shines the spotlight on two 12th century philosophers – one Muslim, one Jewish – whose messages of positive coexistence resonate very strongly even today, refuting the "Clash of Civilizations" theoryMore

Clipping from the book cover of ‘The People Reloaded’ (source: publisher)

Interview with Nader Hashemi

''The War of Ideas in Iran Is Over''

The ideological support for the Iranian regime is waning – liberal and democratic ideas have triumphed within civil society, says political scientist Nader Hashemi in this interview with Lewis GroppMore

Salman Rushdie (photo: AP)

Salman Rushdie and "The Satanic Verses"

The Complicated Craft of Enlightenment

It has been twenty years since Ayatollah Khomeini issued the fatwa on Salman Rushdie. The Anglo-Indian author of The Satanic Verses still takes a critical stance on religion, yet he is also a vocal protester against discrimination of Muslims. By Lewis GroppMore

A 13th-century book illustration produced in Baghdad by al-Wasiti showing a group of pilgrims on a Hajj (source: Wikipedia)

The Great Arab Traveller Ibn Battuta

Contemporary Witness or Impostor?

The Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta is regarded as the Arabian Marco Polo. But now German oriental scholar Ralf Elger claims to have discovered that Ibn Battuta faked most of his travel accounts. The professor's theory dulls the polished image of one of the most revered figures in Arab cultural history. By Lewis GroppMore


Mesut Özil and Germany

A Football Hero in a National Identity Farce

As playmaker at Real Madrid, and key attack asset on the German national squad, Mesut Özil has matured into a true soccer superstar. And now the unassuming player finds himself at the centre of Germany's ongoing national identity debate. By Lewis GroppMore

Hamid Dabashi (photo: private copyright)

Interview with Hamid Dabashi

"Islam Is an Abstraction"

The US-Iranian intellectual Hamid Dabashi is among the most highly respected scholars of Islam in the US. In this interview with Lewis Gropp, he explains how Islam in Europe will change as a result of the influence of European culture and European MuslimsMore

Leopold Weiss alias Muhammad Asad (source: publisher)

Muhammad Asad

A Jewish Lawrence of Arabia

Born to a rabbi family in Habsburg Austria-Hungary, Muhammad Asad became an important twentieth-century Islamic thinker. Asad was a great traveller, a journalist, linguist, translator, social critic, reformist, diplomat, political scientist, and theologian. Today he is a landmark for a tolerant and contemporary interpretation of the faith. A portrait by Lewis GroppMore

Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras

Jerusalem, City of Two Peaces

Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras, both world renowned specialists in early music, have produced an album that explores musical traditions from Jerusalem's various epochs: the Jewish, the Christian, the Arab and the Ottoman eras. Lewis Gropp introduces the intercultural musical projectMore

A church and a mosque (photo: Marvin Halfen/DW)

Catholic-Islamic Dialogue: Interview with Christian Troll

For Freedom of Faith

The beginning of November saw the first Catholic-Muslim Forum held in the Vatican – which came about on a Muslim initiative. One of the participants was the Jesuit and professor of Islam Studies, Christian Troll. In an interview with Lewis Gropp, he talks about freedom of religion in Europe and Islamic countries, and the challenges of the Enlightenment for beliefMore

Salman Rushdie (photo: Lewis Gropp)

Interview with Salman Rushdie

Kashmir, Paradise Lost

"Shalimar the Clown", Salman Rushdie's most recent novel, is a furious tale about a lost paradise. In this interview with Lewis Gropp, Salman Rushdie talks about how the Indian army and militant jihadists destroyed Kashmir's traditional culture of toleranceMore

Reem Kelani (photo: Saeed Taji Farouky / Sharq Magazine)

Reem Kelani – "Sprinting Gazelle"

"I Defend My Right to Defend My Right"

Following her widely acclaimed featured performance on Gilad Atzmon's "Exile", the British-Palestinian singer Reem Kelani has released her own debut album, establishing herself as important artist in the Palestinian musical tradition. By Lewis GroppMore

Cover of "The Enchantress of Florence" (Random House)

Salman Rushdie and "The Enchantress of Florence"

A Master without a Masterpiece?

The critics have reacted positively but not enthusiastically to his most recent novel. Nevertheless, with or without "The Enchantress of Florence", Bombay-born writer Salman Rushdie is the perfect embodiment of the erudite, witty intellectual, writes Lewis GroppMore