Photo Essays

Muslims pass by the Sehitlik Mosque in Berlin (photo: picture alliance/dpa)

The Battle for Interpretational Supremacy

Whether it is about a ban on burkas or minarets, on integration and mainstream culture, or the triumphal procession of raving critics of Islam the likes of Geert Wilders – Europe is obsessed with the discussion on Islam and, in the process, it is occasionally forgotten that the Muslim world is confronted with similar issues. By Christian H. Meier

Michèle Claude and the Ensemble Aromates (photo: Michèle Claude)

The Wonderful World of Muwashshahat

The French percussionist explores the relationship between old Arab and early European music. In the cultural area that is the Mediterranean, where East meets West, she discovered her musical roots and the sounds of the "muwashshahat". Suleman Taufiq met her in Paris

The Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is the first pan-Arab youth orchestra. It was created in 2006.

Music to Combat Hopelessness

The world's only pan-Arab youth orchestra met in Berlin to make music together. But the young musicians also discussed the situation in their home countries – politics, hopes and fears. Peter Zimmermann reports

Dialogue and exchange: German Professor Georg Pegels with German and Iranian students during a cooperation project on earthquake-proof buildings in Iran

Mutual Understanding

More exchange in academia, the arts and sports would contribute to improving Germany's relations with Iran, experts say. Such exchange would strengthen civil society in Iran and boost mutual understanding. By Mareike Forchheim

"I Don't Mix Cultures, I Translate"

In his work, the Belgian-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui combines elements from different cultures, religions and styles. In this interview with Ceyda Nurtsch, he explains how his Moroccan roots influence his perception of aesthetics and speaks about the role of art in the Arab Spring

"It's Not Just about Suppression"

"Wadjda" is the first feature film ever made in Saudi Arabia. One of its German producers tells Bernd Sobolla about the daring women involved, and how his own perception of Saudi Arabia changed in the process

"Iran has done its best to avoid a confrontation in Syria," declared Iran's President Rohani, recently. Should military attacks against Damascus take place, however, he hopes that the strikes will not go on for long and that casualties be kept at a minimum. Tehran would then provide humanitarian aid

Pragmatism instead of Confrontation

Iran has welcomed the Russian imitative for international control of Syria's chemical weapon arsenal. The fact that President Obama is now pushing for a diplomatic solution to the conflict is also good news for the moderate forces in Tehran, who do not wish to support Assad at any price. By Marcus Michaelsen

The Oasis of Sésame Garden

Some 10 million tourists visit the Kingdom of Morocco every year. But very little of the income they generate trickles down to the socially disadvantaged. In Marrakech, a lone restaurateur is making a real difference to the lives of street children. A report Astrid Kaminski

Controlling the Message

The interim government appointed by the Egyptian army is banishing Islamist preachers from mosques. But imams who are loyal to the regime are still allowed to combine religion and politics. By Markus Symank

Pilgrims in Mecca (photo: DW/A. Abubakar)

The call to eco-jihad

Gradually – and unnoticed by most Muslims – Muslim intellectuals and scholars have, since the late 1960s, been developing an Islamic environmental theology. Their aim is to examine green principles such as sustainability, environmental protection, animal welfare, and biodiversity in terms of their compatibility with Islam. By Monika Zbidi

Nahr El-Bared, the first Palestinian refugee camp after 1948 (photo: UNRWA Archive/S. Madver)

The long journey into uncertainty

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) recently opened a photo and video exhibition on the history of Palestinian refugees since 1948 in East Jerusalem. By Joseph Croitoru

Fashion for the modern Muslim woman

Belkis Baharcieva came to Germany as a refugee in 2001. At the age of 30, she began studying fashion design in Trier. Baharcieva recently set up an online fashion shop, selling her own designs to Muslim women who want to wear high-quality, beautiful Islamic clothing. Falah Elias spoke with the designer

Fighting oppression and censorship

Syrian writers in exile have founded a new association. Their aim is to continue their country's rich literary tradition and to use the pen to fight for political and cultural change and freedom of speech in Syria. By Joseph Croitoru

Out with the old, in with the old

On 17 April, Algeria goes to the polls to elect a new president. However, it seems as if the new president will be the old one: Abdelaziz Bouteflika. But even though the outcome seems like a foregone conclusion, political resistance is forming. By Kersten Knipp

Beyond good and evil

Ahmed Saadawi's novel "Frankenstein in Baghdad" has won the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Khaled Hroub presents the book

Pilgrimage to Pakistan

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become increasingly estranged from the US, the world power that has held its protective hand over the kingdom for many years. The royal family has now changed the course of its foreign policy and sees Pakistan as a suitable strategic partner and a counterbalance to the influence of Turkey and Iran in the region. By Mai Yamani

No to sectarianism; yes to equal citizenship!

The author and media commentator Khaled Hroub believes that Christians, Muslims, Jews and followers of other religions can only live peacefully together in the Middle East if people in these countries stop looking at each other in terms of their faith and start treating everyone – without exception – as citizens with equal rights

The end of all hope

Ultimately, the Arab Spring was a failure because the movements fighting for freedom were faced with too many enemies who sought to quash the revolutions and thwart the efforts of the region's peoples to achieve greater democracy. An essay by the Syrian dissident Akram al-Bunni

"Religion is God's, but democracy belongs to everyone!"

The most recent elections in Tunisia have made it clear that, in spite of numerous setbacks over the last three years, the Arab Spring continues to bear fruit. According to Egyptian journalist and professor Khalil al-Anani, the Tunisian experiment once again proves that Tunisia is a long way ahead of the other Arab countries undergoing transformation

Learning from past mistakes

Right from the word go, the Egyptian writer Mansoura Ez-Eldin was part of the protests against the Mubarak regime in Tahrir Square in January 2011. She became a chronicler of the revolution, reporting daily on the unrest in the Egyptian capital. In this essay, she outlines the mistakes made by the former revolutionary movement and explains why Egypt is now undergoing an authoritarian restoration

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