Islam

Crusaders still exist in Malta

Crusaders still exist on the islands of Malta, where reporter Elisabeth Eaves of the New York Times spoke with one for a feature article.

Byzantine monastery to become mosque

The 5th century Byzantium Monastery of Stoudios in Istanbul, Turkey is scheduled to become a mosque after renovation concludes in 2014. The site will be renamed İmrahor İlyas Bey Mosque.

Medieval rogues

Rogues, vagabonds, and wandering poets... characters from D&D or perhaps a videogame? In the medieval underworld of the Islamic Middle East, these shady characters made up the Banu Sasan, "a hidden counterpoint to the surface glories of Islam’s golden age." Mike Dash has the feature article for Smithsonian's Past Imperfect blog.

Morgan Library offers online exhibit of Islamic art

In the fall of 2011, the Morgan Library and Museum hosted Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan, an exhibit of religious and secular works. An "online exhibition" was created in conjunction with the exhibit and is available to view on the library's website.

Exhibit showcases West's debt to Islamic doctors

In a new exhibit, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London will showcase the work of early Islamic physicians. The mirror of health: discovering medicine in the golden age of Islam will be on display at the college's museum from 1 May to 25 October 2013.

History Today offers best of 2012 free

In an attempt to lure in potential subscribers, History Today magazine has released a selection of its most popular stories from 2012 on its blog.

“Roads of Arabia" premieres in Washington, D.C.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. is currently playing host to Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an "unprecedented assembly" of artifacts which tell the story of of the trade routes across the Arabian Peninsula.

Tomb of 15th century Sufi saint attacked by fanatics

A group of hardline Muslim Salafists, armed with bulldozers, recently attacked the shrine of 15th-Century scholar Abdel Salam al-Asmar in Zlitan, Libya. The Salafists believe that such shrines are idolatrous.

Medieval documents from five Jerusalem libraries to be available online

The Arabic Manuscripts Digital Library of Jerusalem reports that it will make thousands of Arabic language documents, dating to the early Islamic era, available to access on the internet.

Controversy continues over role of Hagia Sophia

Devout Muslims in Istanbul are calling for the re-opening of the historic 6th century Hagia Sofia as a mosque. The move would break a Turkish law prohibiting worship in the monument.

15th-century mosque attacked at Timbuktu

A group of Islamist militants bearing pickaxes has attacked and damaged the Sidi Yahya mosque in Timbuktu, a World Heritage site, breaking down a door that "locals believed had to stay shut until the end of the world."

Horseback archery encouraged at British mosque

One of the last things one might expect to find at a mosque would be archery practice, but for members of Woking, England's Shah Jahan Mosque, archery is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Istanbul's Hagia Sophia might return to place of worship

The 6th century Byzantine marvel, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, may be returning to its orgins as a place of worship by once again becoming a mosque. The former church is now a museum.

Metropolitan Museum of Art reopens Islamic galleries

For eight years, the vast collections of Islamic art at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has been unavailable to the public, but now visitors can enjoy the collection as never before. Holland Cotter of the New York Times has a review.

"Crisis in the Byzantine Empire" may have brought about the First Crusade

Everyone knows that the First Crusade began with a call from Pope Urban II to free Jerusalem from the Muslims. That is, everyone but British historian Peter Frankopan, whose new book, The First Crusade: the Call from the East, offers a different explanation.

14th century Ottoman conqueror found at Perperikon

Discoveries continue to be unearthed at the Perperikon archaeological site in Bulgaria. The latest is the tomb of a 14th century Ottoman conqueror.

Yavneh-Yam believed to be stronghold of Islamic power

The harbor at Yavneh-Yam in Israel has been an important port since the Roman era, but now researchers think it was also "one of the final strongholds of Early Islamic power in the region."

Norman involvement in 11th century Spain

In his 2007 dissertation for the University of Nottingham, Norman and Anglo-Norman Participation in the Iberian Reconquista c.1018 – c.1248, Lucas Villegas-Aristizabal considers the contribution of the Normans, especially Crusaders, in the Christianizing of the Iberian Peninsula.

Papers sought for "The Crusades and Visual Culture"

Elizabeth Lapina of Durham University in Great Britain reports that she is seeking papers and proposals for the upcoming publication, The Crusades and Visual Culture. The submission deadline is December 1, 2011.

Discoveries at Ribãt da Arrifana offer insight into 12th century Islam

For ten years, archaeologists have been excavating the Islamic convent/fortress near Aljezur, Portugal. recent discoveries include "a mosque, 21 burials and a funerary head stone with an Arabic inscription," all of which have added to the impressive site.

Walters Art Museum features digitized Islamic manuscripts

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland has begun a project to digitize its collection of Islamic manuscripts. A gallery of images, including covers and bindings, is available on the museum's website.

The magnificent Aya Sofya

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest places of worship in history is the Aya Sofya, also known as Hagia Sophia or “Church of the Holy Wisdom.” Located in İstanbul, the church is visited by over two million tourists a year. Terry Richardson of Today's Zaman offers a history. (photo)

Islamic necropolis discovered in Portugal

A medieval Islamic necropolis, containing over 200 human remains, has been discovered in the southern Portuguese city of Beja during renovation of a high school.

Huge copy of the Koran to be digitized

A 500-year-old, handwritten copy of the Koran, owned by the University of Manchester's John Rylands Library, has been scheduled to be digitized and available online. The manuscript is the size of a large-screen television, and it is too fragile to be displayed. (photos)

Preserving historic manuscripts passion of Minnesota monks

Central Minnesota is the home of Hill Museum at St. John's Abbey, an unlikely site for the world's largest collection of historic religious manuscripts. Ray Suarez of PBS Newshour interviews Father Columba Stewart, director of the museum. (video)

Papyrus manuscripts offer glimpse of "ordinary life at the dawn of Islam"

Scholars have debated the existence of the Prophet Muhammad, but Petra Sijpesteijn, professor of Arabic language and culture at Leiden University, believes proof exists on Egyptian papyrus manuscripts.

Medieval religious building reflects modern conflict

In the 8th century, the caliphs of Cordoba, Spain constructed the magnificent great mosque. After their conquest, 13th century Christians rechristened the building a cathedral. Now the two cultures have begun to clash again over tourist signs.

"Convivencia" explored in Second Life

In 2007, Rita J. King and Joshua Fouts collaborated to create Al-Andalus, a virtual Alhambra, on Second Life, in order to explore the concept of Convivencia, the "Spanish term for the harmonious 'living together' of Muslims, Christians and Jews in the southern Iberian Peninsula during the Islamic caliphat." (photos)

"Light of the Sufis" at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts

Now through August 8, 2010, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts will host Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam, an exhibit that "focuses on some of the most important Sufi ideas and practices that found expression through the arts of the Islamic world."

Corpus Coranicum hopes to shed light on the history of the Qur'an

A team of scholars at Germany’s Berlin-Brandenberg Academy of Sciences is about to complete the first phase of the Corpus Coranicum, a 20 year project to create "a central repository of imagery, information, and analysis about the Muslim holy book."