Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey Into Muslim Europe (Bradt Travel Guides (Travel Literature))

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Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey Into Muslim Europe (Bradt Travel Guides (Travel Literature))

Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey Into Muslim Europe (Bradt Travel Guides (Travel Literature))

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Had the author not tried to weave this thread of identity through the book, or at least dove deeper into it, it would have been a much stronger work. I hoped for a different perspective - the author was travelling as a family (with a wife, and 2 girls) and yet, all interviews with locals were exclusively with men. He added on how Europeans have been actively trying to erase the glorious history of Muslims in this region, despite the Ottomans having brought civilization to this corner of the world (and hence to the Western Europe too). The final anecdote that stood out for me was the ‘accidental’ tour guide Haris, who more than compensated for the initial disappointment of his having been a last-minute replacement; proof that everyone has a story to tell, and there are always hidden depths to be discovered.

And paints a more subtle and differentiated picture of the different strands of Islam which I for one wasn’t aware of. He cites a Victorian archaeologist here, but later quite rightly notes that the Victorian English were prone to superiority complexes over pretty much anyone). Tharik is committed to raising awareness of Islam in Europe and its living legacy, and Minarets in the Mountains is part of several other projects that he is involved with. They want Plato, they want Aristotle, they want Hippocrates but they're not so keen on Sultan Suleiman or Mehmed Sokollu Pasha,” Tharik says. Along the way, he met several people who helped him along his journey, which forms his impressions of the countries and his fondness for them.And, truthfully, there were some interesting places visited with vivid descriptions and the occasional photograph.

It's never really a good sign when someone writing a memoir -- who is not a literary author exposing the foibles of humanity through their own self -- makes you think, "oh lord, if I were his teenage daughter on this trip with him, I too would be sooo embarrassed! Southern Thailand is home to the country's largest concentration of Muslims and Tharik was able to add a considerable body of content about this little-known indigenously Thai Muslim culture. Shortlisted in the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2022: Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. Encountering blonde-haired, blue-eyed Muslims, visiting mystical Islamic lodges clinging to the side of mountains, and praying in mosques older than the Sistine Chapel, he paints a picture of a hidden Muslim Europe, a vibrant place with a breath-taking history, spellbinding culture and unique identity.Liam Neeson is Islamophobic for negative criminal portrayals of Albania in film, but ten pages later Hussain walks away from an Albanian Airbnb over a nebulous suspicious feeling about the hosts. And yet he constantly reminds us of the long periods of tolerance and symbiosis, often forgotten in the din of war. However, while the perception of Muslims may not change as quickly as he would like, it definitely had an immediate and lasting impact on him and his family.

Pide was an unknown food in Sarajevo until after the war and is very much there for tourists like him. For more details, please consult the latest information provided by Royal Mail's International Incident Bulletin. This raises a question – not considered – as to whether Hussain’s tour is the equivalent of arriving in an Irish town, popping into its church, praising its Christian architecture and history, and drawing all your conclusions on the local area from that. If you want to know what cities in the Balkans have remaining/active mosques, this book is perfect for you. If you enjoy travelling and history, this is a book you don’t want to miss, it could get you start planning for your next trip without realising.

In 2016, Londoner Tharik Hussain set off for the western Balkans along with his wife and two young daughters. Alongside all the history you are reminded he travels with his family as there are accounts of ice creams eaten, lots of food descriptions and his young daughters setting their own agenda. We’re made to feel like we don't belong here but to discover that we have this heritage that goes back 14 centuries, it feels almost criminal that this stuff is not being discussed,” Tharik told TRT World.

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