750th anniversary of Rumi's death – Part 4
Islam's enormous variety
Based in Switzerland, retired electrical engineer Peter Huseyin Cunz has been a Mevlevi sheikh for 24 years. Marian Brehmer spoke to him about Rumi's teachings in a European context
The refugee's struggle for identity
Homeless with three homes
In "Heimatlos mit drei Heimaten" – literally, 'homeless with three homes' – the historian and political scientist Aref Hajjaj illustrates his personal experiences from a life led between Palestine, Switzerland and Germany. Volker Kaminski read the book
Iraq's beacon shines no more
The Kurds are fleeing Kurdistan. The wave of refugees on the Belarusian-Polish border and the drowned Kurds in the English Channel are only the tip of the iceberg. Birgit Svensson visited Erbil and Dohuk to find that the exodus from Kurdistan has already been going on for several years
"Naga (Part II)" by Flèche Love
The triumph of love and life over pain
"Naga (Part II)", on L-abe records, is the latest release from Swiss-Algerian performance artist Flèche Love (Amina Cadelli). Richard Marcus listened to the album and was struck by its emotional and intellectual honesty
The legacy of Lebanon's Lokman Slim
"His work lives on in all of us"
German filmmaker Monika Borgmann, widow of slain Lebanese activist Lokman Slim, is continuing the work they began together in Lebanon. By Lea Bartels
Burka bans in Europe
Why the burka is so important for right-wing populists
On 7 March, Switzerland became the latest European country to vote in favour of a so-called "burka" ban. It was yet another feather in the cap of the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party (SVP) on an issue that remains a perennial favourite with the Right across Europe. Essay by Daniel Bax
Muslims in Europe: Integrated or not?
The Muslim population in Western Europe has been growing since the 1960s. In most countries, Muslims now make up more than five percent of the total population. Despite social tensions, integration is making clear progress. By Aasim Saleem
Usama Al Shahmani's "Im Fallen lernt die Feder fliegen"
Falling, the feather learns to fly
In his second novel, "Im Fallen lernt die Feder fliegen", Iraqi author Usama Al Shahmani describes the stirring story of two young siblings seeking refuge, and their attempts to overcome the double trauma of war and exile. Volker Kaminski read the book
Interview with Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar
"Opposition to the religious patriarchal system is female"
As an artist, she translates experiences into images – for her political engagement, she was brought to trial. The Iranian contemporary artist Parastou Forouhar talks about idyllic places and war, suicide and opulence, and how women in Iran are fighting for equality. Interview by Siri Goegelmann
Reflecting cultural diversity in publishing
German kidsʹ books need more dark-skinned protagonists
Children’s books shape the way we see the world as we grow up. In recent years calls have been growing for European publishers to reflect the increasing diversity. By Sonja Matheson
Iraqi author Usama Al Shahmani
ʺIn foreign lands, the trees speak Arabicʺ
Usama Al Shahmani fled Iraq in 2002 and has since become a wanderer between worlds. He taught himself German and now works as a translator and cultural mediator in Switzerland. In his novel, he describes how hiking helped him process the loss of his homeland. By Volker Kaminski
Writer, nomad and feminist
Rather than perpetuate the romanticised image of the Orient commonplace in 19th century literature, writer and nomad Isabelle Eberhardt traversed and explored the Maghreb with a critical eye. She not only condemned French colonialism, but also the established gender roles of her era. By Melanie Christina Mohr