President Erdogan visits Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on the 97th anniversary of the declaration of the Republic. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)

On September 4th, European Council President Charles Michel said the EU was working on a new policy to Turkey which would focus more on a “sticks and carrots”. In other words, the use of incentives and punitive measures to discipline Turkish policy makers to be more pliant as far as European interests are concerned.

This approach by EU leaders to Turkey is nothing new, with many pundits and government officials repeatedly referring to it. Nigar Goksel, Turkey Director for the International Crisis Group, lamented the fact that President Erdogan was apparently bullying “Brussels with sticks”, as she wondered if it…


Poster celebrating the first anniversary of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (Somali: Xisbiga Hantiwadaagga Kacaanka Soomaaliyeed — XHKS) in 1977.

Despite Somalia’s two decade experiment with Socialism, The Communist Manifesto was never translated into Somali. But Abdiaziz Mahdi, a Hargeisa-based writer and translator decided to embark on the project, which will be published later this year.

“Look at Berlin,” said Somali poet Abdullahi Qarshe gleefully, “All of you look! A wall is splitting it, look and be entertained!” Qarshe’s joy came from recalling the city hosting a conference in 1884 which inaugurated the Scramble for Africa and divided the continent between Europe’s empires. Now that Berlin similarly faced artificial division and occupation, Qarshe’s connects the two events bringing the interesting irony of fate into sharp focus.

He wasn’t aware of the fact that the division which separated Berlin into East and West however, would go on to create a new cleavage in global politics, with two…


Ethiopia celebrates the Victory of Adwa every year on March 1 [File: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency]

The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much — Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

It was a cold winter afternoon on November 15th 1884 when representatives from 13 European nations descended upon Berlin on the invitation of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to decide the future of the African continent. …


A cartoon showing two Muslim figures leaning over Europe excitedly watching the Russian bear capitulate to a Japanese soldier. By L. Brunet, 1905. Colored. (Photo by: PHAS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Since the rise of the Japanese, the Caucasians dare not look down upon other Asiatic peoples. Thus the power of Japan not only enables the Japanese to enjoy the privileges of a first class nation, but enhances the international position of other Asiatic peoples — Sun Yat-sen

On the morning of February 6th 1904, Japan broke off relations with Russia. The Japanese Combined Fleet guided by Admiral Togo Heihachiro then set sail for the Korean Peninsula. The fleet was split in two with a small force under the command of Rear Admiral Uryu Sotokichi remaining to support the infantry as…


Hagia Sophia standing before a crescent moon. It remains one of the most historical, iconic and most visited sites in Istanbul. (Getty Images)

It was a clear day in Istanbul, the sun blazing down at temperatures close to thirty degrees, as crowds of people marched from Galata Bridge to the Sultan Ahmet area. These sites usually aren’t totally unfamiliar to anyone who has been in Istanbul during busy summer weekends, but this time it wasn’t tourists. Men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds from across Turkey and beyond, gathered moving like a quick stream, rhythmically chanting Ya Allah, Bismillah, Allahu-Ekbar (O God, In the Name of God, God is greater) carrying and waving Turkish and Ottoman flags and symbols of the…


William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, scholar, writer, editor, and civil rights pioneer (Courtesy: Hutchins Center for African & African American Research/Harvard University).

In 1914, W.E.B Du Bois’s daughter Yolande was about to travel to England as a teenager. He decided to enroll her in one of England’s most prestigious schools, where she would become a member of a pantheon of famous and influential alums which include singer Lily Allen, actor Daniel Day-Lewis, poet and painter Frieda Hughes, director George Sanders & British diplomat Frank Roberts among many others.

A prominent academic himself, and the first African-American to graduate with a PhD from Harvard University, Du Bois would have a huge impact revolutionizing race relations in America and globally, through his writing and…


Muhammad Iqbal had a penchant for delivering thoughtful messages through dialogues between inanimate objects and animals with his characteristically lively and evocative language. This allowed him to bring his messages into sharp focus and indulge his powerful imagination whilst remaining refreshingly entertaining. In his poem, Secrets of the Self, (Asrari-i-khudi in Persian), he has one such dialogue in the form of a candid conversation between a slighted and abject lump of coal, full of complaint about its plight; and a diamond, conscious of its magnificence and value in a manner that borders on conceit, if not for its subtle self-awareness…


Author’s note: I wrote this essay as I was trying to make sense of what actually happened to the Caliphate as an institution after 1924. During the research it became clear how much competition there was to assume the office after the Ataturk declared Turkey a republic and abolished it. This is what I came up with — an exploration of the sequence of events that led to it being disbanded, the international Muslim response to it and the competition to assume the vacated office before its eventual demise.

The mountain of Tur is there in Sinai, but there is…


Fifty years ago today in Somalia, Mohammed Siad Barre’s military coup ended Somalia’s brief democratic period, which paved the way for civil war when the regime eventually collapsed. His contested legacy divides Somalis to this day.

Armed men and women march for over four hours to celebrate the anniversary of the military coup during the Ogaden War in Mogadishu, Somalia (Photo by Jean-Claude FRANCOLON / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

We in Somalia cannot boast of having done much in terms of ameliorating the quality of life of the people, but at least the people do not have a master, and those in power have been democratically elected by the same people even if it has been demonstrated that it is not efficient, but this is only because of inexperience and because of the lack of means — Aden Abdulle Osman, Somalia’s founding president, diary, February 28, 1963

On the morning of October 21 1969 in the young Somali Republic, Radio Mogadishu was playing unusual militaristic, deviating from its usual…


Marines landed in Africa to suppress the slave trade. Here they protect Captain M C Perry in parley with hostile tribesmen in 1843. (AP)

In 1835, a young Muslim slave participated in a revolt in the Brazilian city of Bahia. Their group was led by Ahuna, an elderly religious leader who organised the rebellion hoping to free them from bondage. The young man, a devout follower of Ahuna, didn’t survive the rebellion, but his body was found with a folio around his neck. It contained an inscription and prayer from the Quran which said,

“Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You.”

Almost a century and a half later, Margarita Rosa’s…

Faisal Ali

Journalist. Writer. Producer. Politics. Culture. History. East Africa. Muslims. Art. Wields a dangerous Muslamic ray gun at all times | Istanbul | @fromadic92

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