Andalusia’s ambivalence: between convivencia and Islamophobia
The seven centuries of Islamic rule over the southern Spanish province of Andalusia are often romanticized for its convivencia: the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Christians and Jews. Today, the region exploits this history for tourism, but is not devoid of Islamophobia.
I wrote this article for the Center for Intercultural Dialogue.
Identity and nationality in the Gulf
Few countries in the world have more foreigners than locals living within their borders. It is the case in the Arab Gulf states, where the majority of the population consists of immigrants: up to more than 85% in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. For the locals, this poses unique challenges to their concepts of identity and nationality.
Islamic State: media and identity
The so-called Islamic State might have been defeated, but ideas do not die so easily. In this essay I deconstruct its ideology and self-identification and show that it is different from the way ‘the West’ has categorized it.
A Sunday in Delhi: the difficult case for inter-religious dialogue
Leaves falling from the trees, umbrellas appearing in the streets, and girls covering up their faces with scarfs: in New Delhi these are signs that the summer sun is arriving.
In India’s hottest season, mornings have to be put to good use. Many a Sunday I would get up at six o’clock to visit the weekly Old Delhi book market, returning before the heat would become unbearable and in time for my weekly Bible group.
On India, poverty and religion
Different religions deal with poverty differently, and in India you find a lot of both. At one point or another, the visitor of the subcontinent will inevitably be faced with more misery than one can bear and the challenging question how to approach it. What answers do religions provide?
Amid the chaos of the city that she was calling her home for a little while now, there were only two sights calm and peaceful: the surface of the river and the setting of the sun. On the bridge, people were gathering to welcome the evening coolness closing in. She walked by them over the…
The stories of Eskibahçe
This is an extra chapter for the book Birds without wings by Louis de Bernières. It provides a new perspective on the novel. “Lately, I have been having dreams about the former times of Eskibahçe. I have never had the habit to remind myself of those days, but it suddenly seems to be imposed to…