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Sufi Dialogue Posts

Istanbul Day 3-4

The WISE conference is finally over after 3.5 days of a whirlwind of workshops and presentations all facilitated by me as the MC! I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to serve this network of amazing women who moved all of us by their courage, their intellect and wisdom and their spiritual beauty! 

Day 2 Istanbul

Day 2 Istanbul

Today I met with the Program Committee of WISE at breakfast and we finalized the program for the Conference.  I decided to take a taxi back to Eminomu, the European side, to have some alone time at the mosques and the bazaars and just to watch people, which is so much fun.  The taxi dropped me right in front of the Yeni Cami, New Mosque, next to the Galata Bridge.  As always, the pigeons were there in droves and I saw a blind man feeding them.

Istanbul Arrival October 12 2011

Day 1 Istanbul

As I landed in Istabul airport, I heard my name being announced on the speakers to come to Information Desk- that was really nice and reassured me.  I was walked over to a hotel shuttle and did not realize then that I would get a grand tour of the city too! As the airport is west of the European side of Istanbul, we headed east on the highway next to the Marmara Sea. I was impressed with the number of parks along the shore, including open-air gym equipment. I saw men and women biking, walking, even ellipticals in the open air watching the seascape beyond. What a neat way to work out I thought!  As we approached the City Center, Eminomu, where all the famous sights are, the van driver negotiated the hilly, curvy and narrow alleys skillfully, while we passengers worried he may hit a bike, person or even a wall or window-that’s how close it felt. As we climbed up the alleys that lead to Sultan Ahmed Mosque, my favourite one, we saw one boutique hotel after another, and suddenly he parked in front of Obelisk Hotel, where Sonia, Sheema and I stayed last year! I remember how we could hear the azan of the Blue Mosque at namaz time.

Eid ul Fitr at Jerrahi Mosque Chestnut Ridge NY

Yesterday was a beautiful day, sunny and crisp, as we drove to do our Eid prayers at Jerrahi Mosque.  All the regulars were there, plus many one-time visitors, who we only see on Eid. As always, Jerrahi is a microcosm of the world’s cultures, beauty and differences which are to be celebrated. South Asians, Arabs, Americans, Turks, Brazilians, Argentinians (of German origin), etc. etc. This is what makes Jerrahi different than other mosques, and it is this transnational, spiritual quality that attracts all of us there again and again.  And of course, our learned shaikh, Baba Tohsin – architect, artist, real estate investor, imam, scholar, Francophone perhaps, and a preserver of the best that Ottoman culture of Turkey had to offer.

What is Sufism?

Given that this space is called the sufidialogue, I thought it is important to share this perspective on Sufism, published in Huffington Post.

Main to dekhunga

This song touched my heart as it visualizes a different Pakistan than today sung so simply and beautifully by the Strings.