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.
Editor in Chief, Founder
Masih SadatEditor in Chief, Founder

Country of focus: Israel

Title: BA student in Hebrew, Middle Eastern Studies

Contact: masih@theturbantimes.com

23, 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.


Jihad TahaEditor

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.


Hanan ChemlaliEditor

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.”


Salma AbdurrazagBlogger

Country of focusLibya

Title: Journalism student

Contact: salma@theturbantimes.com

I am a 22-year-old journalism student, born and raised in the heart of Denmark (Copenhagen) with an Arabic background – Tunisian mother, Libyan father. I’ve spent the past year traveling to develop the being I call myself and create personal life experience. I believe that traveling makes you wiser on so many levels than reading thousands of books. Journies across the planet is a big part of who I am.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a huge interest in journalism, but it grew significantly during the Arab revolution, when I found myself in Libya. At that time, in those moments, I saw the importance of communication and what good journalism really is and how bad it really can go if journalists do not meet the specific requirements of good journalism. Unfortunately, I also believe that there are too many ‘bad’ journalists who disseminate wrong information and stories through various media sources and thereby create more hatred and chaos in the world. Rather than just sit and complain about how bad the media is, I try to do something to change it by communication and by writing the unheard stories – and thus get all voices heard.

Through The Turban Times I get to write and show other sides of the Arab world which the media do not show. My main focus will be on Libya.


Zana TekosinBlogger

Country of focusKurdistan

TitleMA in History with minor in Studies of Religion


Born in a small city outside Copenhagen with both Kurdish and Danish descent. I have a Master’s Degree in History with a minor in Studies of Religion from the University of Southern Denmark. My field of interest is Mesopotamien, Kurdish-, Turkish-, Russian and Armenien history. Furthermore I studied a lot about different religious groups such as Jews, Orthodox Christians, Sufistic Muslims, Zoroastrians but with special focus on the êzîdî religion which I am also a part of.

I’ve always enjoyed seeking knowledge about different cultures, ideas and ways of life. In studying history, religion, psycology and philosophy I find peace of mind trying to open doors to new areas of the human mind. In The Turban Times I will mainly try to explain the situation, culture and diversity of Kurdistan.


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.


Anne Kirstine RønnBlogger

Country of focusLebanon

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


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.


Asmaa ElkhaldiBlogger

Country of focusPalestine

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


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!


Souha Al-MersalBlogger

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


Modaser JalaliBlogger

Country of focusAfghanistan

Title: BA student at Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen


Born in Afghanistan, raised in Denmark. Early in my teenage life, I used my time to try to understand the reasons behind different conflicts all around the world. Today, my curiosity and interest mainly lie with the MENA-region, especially Afghanistan – a country where peace has been non-existing for a long time.

During my visits to Afghanistan (2010, 2011) I came to realise how important is for me to write on the different aspects of the country – everything ranging from politics, history and culture – all essential parts of the country I will focus on to bring nuances to the general view on Afghanistan. Being a part of The Turban Times team allows me to exactly this.


Camilla ToftlundBlogger

Country of focusJordan

Title: MA in Middle Eastern Studies, BA in Arabic


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.


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.


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.


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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