Day 22: Hospitality in Kohistan

Day 22: Hospitality in Kohistan

Kohistan means “Land of Mountains” and is an area in northern Pakistan along the Indus River and its side valleys. About 600,000 Kohistanis live there, divided into different tribal groups. They became Muslim in the 17th century and were incorporated into Pakistan in...

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Day 21: The Swahili of Zanzibar

Day 21: The Swahili of Zanzibar

The Swahili people of the Zanzibar Archipelago carry on a long-established tradition of hospitality. Everywhere you go, whether it be through the streets of Stone Town or passing through a village, you will always hear a word to welcome you—‘Karibu!’ Because of their...

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Day 20: Uighur Muslims of China

Day 20: Uighur Muslims of China

Our friend and student, Mahmud, invited us to his family home for the Korban festival (also known as Eid al-Adha), which remembers Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. We began by drinking fragrant tea at a table laden with fruit, pastries, and naan bread. Our...

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Day 19: The Somali of Somalia

Day 19: The Somali of Somalia

The Somali people sometimes have a reserved and suspicious approach towards strangers. News from the Horn of Africa is often related to political unrest, conflicts, drought and hunger. For many, the struggle for survival is a reality, so the question about peace is...

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Day 18: The Saho in Eritrea and Ethiopia

Day 18: The Saho in Eritrea and Ethiopia

We are traveling on the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The conflict between these two countries began two decades ago and a state of war lasted for years. But peace has come recently. We reach a small village where we are received by a local believer. He offers us...

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Day 17: Mourning in Morocco

Day 17: Mourning in Morocco

The reputation for hospitality in Moroccan culture can be an overwhelming pressure for families. At difficult times, such as when a family member dies, it can be especially heavy. When I lived in Morocco, my neighbor’s mother died. I knocked on her door and handed her...

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Lailat Al-Qadr – Night of Power

Lailat Al-Qadr – Night of Power

Lailat Al-Qadr (the Night of Power, Night of Destiny, or Night of Decree) is the holiest night of Ramadan. It is the night when Mohammed is thought to have begun receiving the Quran. The exact night is disputed, so Muslims hold special observances for the last ten...

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Day 16: The Kaka’i of Iran and Iraq

Day 16: The Kaka’i of Iran and Iraq

The Kaka’i call themselves ahl al haqq, which means “people of truth”. They are a Kurdish people group, living mainly in Iraq and Iran, with over 5 million members who speak Kurdish, Arabic and Farsi. Kaka’i men are identified by their large mustaches, which they wear...

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Day 15: Muslims in Chicago, USA

Day 15: Muslims in Chicago, USA

More than a half-million Muslims from around the world live in the Chicago area, in the US. DuPage County, in the western suburbs, has one of the highest Muslim populations in the country, with a population that is about 6 percent Muslim (that’s about 60,000 people)....

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Day 14: Bengali Muslims

Day 14: Bengali Muslims

At a Bengali Muslim wedding, the hospitality can be aggressive! I remember attending a village wedding and being so full that I could not manage to eat any more rice and meat curry. The host came around with more food and a smile, and I began to place my left hand...

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Day 13: The Patoulis* of Central Asia

Day 13: The Patoulis* of Central Asia

 The Patoulis are strong, independent mountain-dwellers, easily walking for a day to spend time with friends. Until recently, their rough mountainous region had no vehicular access, but working hard (with lots of dynamite!) the people are making a level way through...

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Day 12: The Masalit of Sudan

Day 12: The Masalit of Sudan

After hours of driving, we arrived at sunset in a dusty border town, nestled between Sudan and Chad. Smiles and smoke filled the streets, and the call of the mosque went out across thatched rooftops. With joyful anticipation we arrived at two huts encircled by a low...

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