Who are we?

The Turban Times is a blog-based web magazine founded in 2015 on the idea of promoting a more balanced and nuanced view of the wider MENA region and its peoples. Focusing on the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia – from Turkey to Yemen, Afghanistan to Morocco – we publish everything from news, history, media, literature, analyses, and personal stories, in an attempt to bring to light stories and perspectives from the region – with an emphasis on its peoples – that don’t generally reach the mainstream.

Our bloggers

All of our bloggers either originate from their country of focus or/and work with it on daily basis through their education, work, etc. Most speak their country languages, travel to the area regularly and therefore have an unique insight to the respective country’s society and culture(s). Even though each blogger has their own focus, they will all write about the MENA-region in general. Read more about each blogger here.

Want to contribute?

If you like our blog and want to contribute with your own piece – whether it's an interview, op-ed, analysis or just an idea you want to discuss with us – don't hesitate contacting us at info@theturbantimes.com.
Founding Editor-in-Chief
Masih SadatFounding Editor-in-Chief

Country of focus: Israel

Title: BA student in Hebrew, Middle Eastern Studies

Contact: masih@theturbantimes.com


24, Afghan by blood, Danish by birth. Currently taking my bachelor’s degree in Hebrew (Israel studies) at the University of Copenhagen.

I have a deep passion for both journalism and the Middle East (mainly Israel-Palestine) and my dream is to work within both fields. Since 2013 I’ve been travelling back and forth to Israel and the Palestinian Territories – in 2016 I lived in Israel, where I worked for an Israeli media organization, and have done several journalist related projects in the Palestinian Territories throughout.

My main focus at The Turban Times will be on Israel and the Palestinians, mainly on topics within Israeli society, culture, identity, politics, and history. I am deeply interested in the people of Israel – its diversity and identities – with a focus on the Mizrahim and the Arab minority. My writings will be based mainly on my Hebrew language skills and the knowledge I’ve gained from my regular travels to the area and my studies.

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Editor, Reporter
Hanan ChemlaliEditor, Reporter

Focus: Morocco

Title: BSc in Int. Development Studies and Cultural Encounters and current MA student of Journalism

Contact: hanan@theturbantimes.com


Born and raised in Copenhagen – Moroccan descent. My field of interest is communication, power structures and human rights. I’ve always had a natural interest and curiosity on topics of taboo. I don’t believe in a pure definition of normality or universality of how human behavior is supposed to be. When you mix cultural, social, religious and economic diversity in a pot, you are bound to get something boiling. The MENA region is full of uncovered stories, but I will mainly work with Maghreb focusing on Morocco.”

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Editor, Reporter
Florian ElabdiEditor, Reporter

Countries of focus: Yemen, Iraq, and Syria

Title: BSc in Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies and MA in Journalism

Contactflorian@theturbantimes.com


I am of Danish and Moroccan origin. I have a BA in Middle Eastern Studies and a MA in Journalism. Currently I work as a freelancer. My reporting from the Middle East have been featured in numerous Danish publications and a few international media outlets as well.

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Blogger
Muhammad ShehadaBlogger

Country of focusPalestine

Title: BA Student in Computer Engineering

Contact: muhammad@theturbantimes.com


Born in Egypt, raised in diaspora, Palestinian by blood, Egyptian by birth. With progressive endeavors towards democratic reforms and deradicalization, religious tolerance and coexistence, social equity and feminism, I aspire to construct an intellectual debate that corrects the misconceptions about the middle east, and offers a clear picture of the Palestinian daily life, which will be my main focus.

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Blogger
Anne Kirstine RønnBlogger

Country of focusLebanon

Title: Bachelor in Political Science. MA student of International Studies

Contactanne@theturbantimes.com


I am bachelor in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen, currently studying my masters in International Studies in Aarhus, Denmark. During the spring of 2016 I spent four months in Beirut working as a freelance journalist, and I cannot wait to go back.

What keeps me interested in Lebanon is the interplay between traditional lifestyles and new emerging cultures. It is the often tense relationship between the different sects and religions in the country. And then of course it is the food, music and language. I have a dream of being fluent in Arabic and learning how to make the perfect falafel, and I have an ambition of doing research about politics in the Middle East.

Although my posts are often related to the political sphere, I also like writing about the everyday life of the Lebanese.

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Blogger
Asmaa ElkhaldiBlogger

Country of focus: Gaza, Palestine

Title: BA student of Architecture at the Islamic University of Gaza

Contactasmaa@theturbantimes.com


20, Palestinian living in Gaza, studying Architecture at the Islamic University of Gaza. I’m a freelance photographer who documents the daily life of Gaza. I work on personal photographic projects, that address the subjects I believe in. I’m also a writer who focuses particularly on the positive, inspiring side of the place I live in. Like why to live the pain again when reporting, and writing it? I came to the world for a message, TO INSPIRE, and make it a real better place.

You’ll expect to see the unusual side of Gaza, the challenging and inspiring side through my writings!

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Blogger
Rune FriisBlogger

FocusPolitics, culture and business dynamics

TitleBA student at Arabic Negotiations

Contact: rune@theturbantimes.com


Rune Friis is both a cultural and business oriented blogger. Doing business with the MENA region on a daily basis and business trips to the region as often as possible gives him a great possibility to hear different opinions and angles from around the region. With an educational background in Arabic Negotiation and Business he has a great knowledge of politics, culture and business dynamics in the MENA. Rune lived in Fes, Morocco for one year, and even though his mindset is not Moroccan yet, he is still craving the traditional, Moroccan Couscous on Fridays.

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Journalist
Souha Al-MersalJournalist

Country of focus: Jordan

Title: MA in Journalism and BA in Business Communication from Aarhus University and Copenhagen Business School.

Contact: souha@theturbantimes.com


27, born in Syria and raised in Copenhagen. Palestinian by blood. Currently working in the humanitarian field with media and communication. Moved to Jordan one year ago, to explore my passion for the ongoing refugee crisis in neighboring countries. I have travelled across the MENA-region ever since and have covered several areas, everything between; Syrian refugees in Lebanon, women’s rights and corruption cases in Tunisia. I am very interested in people and go wherever the hearts leads me. Blogger at: www.souhaalmersal.com

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Blogger
Jihad TahaBlogger

Focus: Lebanon

Title: Master’s Degree in Development and International Relations

Contact: jihad@theturbantimes.com


My name is Jihad Taha. I was born in Denmark and have lived in Lebanon for 8 years in the period 2002-2010. I have experienced the assassination of Hariri in 2005, the July war in 2006, internal political tensions in 2007 with the Arab University shootings and following repercussions. I am currently back in Denmark pursuing a master’s degree in development and international relations. My focus is primarily on refugees, Lebanese (and middle eastern) politics and Hezbollah. When not following the news and watching Lebanese political talkshows, you can find me eating a good shawarma at the local shawarma house.

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Blogger
Camilla ToftlundBlogger

Country of focusJordan

Title: MA in Middle Eastern Studies, BA in Arabic

Contactcamilla@theturbantimes.com


27, based in Amman since 2013.

My passion for the Middle East started when I as a geeky 10-year old spent most of my time reading and watching documentaries about ancient Egypt. After my first visit to Egypt in 2003 I was drawn to the region, its peoples and the Arabic language. I ended up enrolling myself in University of Copenhagen back in 2010 and throughout the last couple of years I have primarily been doing research on Palestinians in Jordan and the notion of Palestinian identity. I have also been exploring minorities such as Iraqi Jews in Israel and the Circassians of Jordan and Turkey through my studies.

My main interests are people and the notion of identity, language, religion and culture. I’m curious of nature and I pursue to base my experience and knowledge on more than books and articles which is why you can usually find me out and about exploring new areas or looking to engage in conversation with people.

I speak the Arabic Levantine dialect fluently and I master a good selection of the local dishes including the Jordanian national dish mansaf.

Through my articles for The Turban Times I will show the cultural and social diversity of Jordan. You can assume that most of my articles are written while sipping a cup of cardamom infused coffee or puffing on an Argileh.

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Political Cartoonist
Sabiha MahmoudPolitical Cartoonist

Focus: Political cartoons, international politics

Title: Photojournalist, conceptual artist and political cartoonist

Contact: sabiha@theturbantimes.com


Sabiha Awanzai Mahmoud. British born, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As a photojournalist, conceptual artist and political cartoonist, I currently train indigenous communities across the globe to take control of documenting their own narrative through photography, performance arts and arts in general. Having travelled across the globe I realised how important this is. Through my drawings I highlight the ridiculous and the truth using irony and sarcasm. The powerful tool of a cartoon is more than just a humorous diversion, I hope it to be a means of political expression and giving a voice to those silenced.

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Blogger
Suzan YavuzBlogger

Country of focus: Turkey

Title: Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Encounters, Master’s student in Middle East Studies

Contact: suzan@theturbantimes.com


I am currently completing my masters degree in Middle East Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. I am born and raised in Copenhagen with both Danish and Turkish ancestry. I have a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Encounters from Roskilde University in Denmark. In 2012 I began studying Social Anthropology at Bogazici University in Istanbul; it was during that year and in 2013 with the Gezi Park protests that I became more interested in the region, its peoples and culture(s).

In 2016 I moved to Cairo to do an internship as part of my master studies at an Egyptian NGO. What fascinated me most about Egypt was the opportunity to experience history at first hand, living in one of the world’s most vibrant yet timeless cities, experiencing amazing hospitality from one of the oldest civilizations on earth and everything in between.

Now based in Istanbul where I am also doing research for my master’s thesis and enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city, I will do my best to cover different neglected narratives of the city as well as write articles related to culture and society in Turkey.

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Blogger
Sara KhalilBlogger

Country of focus: Libya

Title: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Psychology from Copenhagen Business School

Contact: sara@theturbantimes.com


23, born and raised in Copenhagen. Libyan by blood. Based in Tripoli since 2016.

In 2011 I experienced 6 months of the Libyan revolution and witnessed what people are capable of when they unite for one purpose. My interest in Libya and its development has been increasing ever since.

Since 2016 I’ve been based in Tripoli, Libya, working in Human Resources where I’ve had an influence on people’s development and well-being within my field. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) a lot about the different aspects of living in an unstable environment, and how to maintain a normal life despite the circumstances. Here, I witness the day-to-day challenges of people, how they overcome them, and the high level of stamina they develop in the process.

With all that is going on in Libya, the political wars, power cuts, liquidity and currency crisis; I will through my blog express the experiences of a regular Libyan citizen. You will read about the level of endurance Libyans have learned to master, and how they manage to remain sane and happy in a world of chaos.

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Blogger
Tone Delin IndrelidBlogger

Country of focusOman

TitleAnthropologist

Contacttone@theturbantimes.com


Tone Delin Indrelid describes herself as an introverted anthropologist, trying to experience the world with curiosity, respect and an open mind.

She was born and raised in Norway, but has lived overseas for the past 15 years. Her longstanding love-affair with Oman started with her master’s dissertation, based on fieldwork in Muscat.

She has since lived in Syria and on Malaysian Borneo with her family, and is now back in Oman where she raises her three global nomads, explores the country and writes.

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Blogger
Inbal Sophia DrueBlogger

Country of focus: Israel

Title: Artivist (activist through art)

Contact: inbal@theturbantimes.com


Israeli by blood and Scottish at heart. I’m a writer and multidisciplinary artist, living between the 2nd and 3rd dimension and using one method of expression at the time. I write in two languages, speak three and question everything – whether verbally or visually. I practice photography, installation art and have recently been exploring sound. Currently based in Jaffa, but this too shall change.

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Contact us

For questions and other inquiries, please contact us by mail:

Copenhagen, Denmark

info@theturbantimes.com

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