Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fatih, Istanbul Turkey

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mannequin in the Grand Bazaar

Mannequin in the Grand Bazaar, (Istanbul, Turkey) originally uploaded by Shaalom2Salaam (Safiyyah).
There are those
among us
who are
then played
neglected ...
They look good
on the outside
but inside
cease to live anymore ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Akilam School, Istanbul Turkey

Last year, our group visited the Akilam School in Istanbul, Turkey.

The visit to the school was the highlight of the trip for me.  I remember getting a teary-eyed, tight-squeeze hug from each student when we left, along with "See you in Jennah, Insha Allaah." 

None of us was sure we'd ever see each other again in this dunya.

So, Alhamdulillah, I was thrilled to find out that we would be visiting the school again this year!

My traveling companion, Sister Megan, and I got to teach an English class.  We had so much fun!  It was great being with the sisters again.

I can't tell you the feeling I have in my heart for these sisters.  I have real mad love for them.  I am so proud of them!  I smile everytime I think of them, or see pictures of them.

The visit and opportunity to see them again was truly heaven :)

May Allaah t'ala bless them, guide them, and reward them and their families.  Ameen.

Sisters, Insha Allaah we will see each other again in 2012. 

Spring: I'm Ready for a Change!

 I'll give you a break for a moment (just a moment) from the Istanbul pictures, and share with you some of what I'm thinking and feeling today.

Spring is in the air in the northeast United States.  Everything is starting to bloom and color is everywhere.

I clean off my front porch and went to buy leftover Easter flowers.  After they finish, I can plant them on the side of the house.  Sitting in my porch rocking chair, I am enjoying the flower scent that whiffs by my nose, carried by an unusual warm spring breeze.

The flowers remind me of Istanbul; tulips and other flowers are everywhere!  Last year we were there at the end of February and it was PrimeRose season.  April is tulip season.  The Turks have planted them everywhere in Istanbul, alongside the roads, and in planters ... I'll bet they invested in thousands and thousands of tulip bulbs.  The reward is displays like this:

Yeah, I'm glad it's Spring and am ready for the change that comes with it. 

With everything going on in the world, I'm ready for something different.

Wildfires, tornadoes, floods ...

Libya, Palestine, Syria ...

And Obama and the "Birther" issue.  If his birth certificate exists like many maintain, including people who claim that they saw it, why doesn't this guy (Obama) just show it to us and get it over with already?  Jeez!  What bullshit.

So - I'm psyched and ready for the royal wedding on Friday!!!  For one day, I'd like to experience a fantasy and forget about everything going on until at least Saturday :)  It makes me really feel my age to think back on how I watched the wedding of Prince William's parents :(

Okay, that's it :)  Back to the Istanbul photographs!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Seed Seller at the Yeni Jami Mosque

"Seed Seller at Yeni Jami Mosque"
Istanbul, Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved
The Yeni Jami Mosque sits right next to the Bosphorous.  So of course, there are zillions of pigeons and sea gulls flying around.  This lady sells seeds to the tourists.  Tourists and children love to throw the food to the birds.  

Turkish Hamals

You can see these guys all over Istanbul.  They are called "hamals," or porters.  Their job is to carry heavy loads on their backs.  The first image in the collage shows what the frame looks like without a load; the rest of them show hamals carrying loads.  What is so amazing is that the majority of the hamals I saw are not young men.  And Istanbul is a city of hills.  Incredible!

I apologize for the smallness of this collage.  I can't get the image any bigger due to having a sidebar on this site.

Go to my Flickr to see it a bit better!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Making Wudu

"Making Wudu"
Istanbul, Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Calligraphy Teacher

"Calligraphy Teacher"
Istanbul, Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved
Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Afternoon Salat

"Afternoon Salat"
Istanbul, Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nut Vendor

Caught eating his own product!
"Nut Vendor"
Istanbul, Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fatih, Istanbul Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Shoe Shine Man

Shoe Shine Man
Zeytinburnu, Istanbul, Turkey
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Boats on the Sea of Marmara

Boats on the Sea of Mamara
Istanbul, Turkey
Shortly after Imsak
S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Father and Son Leaving the Mosque

"Father and Son Leaving the Mosque"
by S. E. Jihad Levine
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I just returned from Istanbul, Turkey.  It's the second time I've been there; went last year.

I love Istanbul so much, Masha Allaah.  Both this year and last I've taken nearly 1,000 images each time.  Insha Allaah I will be posting some of them here.  You can also go to my Flickr site and see my complete Istanbul set. 

I love street photography.  Photojournalism was my focus in art school.  The people of Turkey never fail to satisfy my love of photographing people.

Here are two images to start with, both taken while at mosques.

Thie first one appears kind of dark at first, but I love how my camera caught the man in the foreground and the bookcase in the background in shadow.  The mosque (either Fatih Mosque or Sulymanye, can't remember) was quite dark except for the light coming through the window behind the Muslim brother reading from the Qur'an.  The second image, of course, was taken outside.  Return ofen for more images, Insha Allaah!

Copyright 2011, S. E. Jihad Levine
All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2011, S. E. Jihad Levine
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 07, 2011

(Outside Mural at Masjid Al-Aqsa
Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA)
Copyright 2011, S. E. Jihad Levine
All Rights Reserved

The Holy Land Belongs to Everyone

I took this photograph in January of 2009, at a demonstration to protest the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. 

I've always loved these words, shalom and salam ... peace.

As ethnic groups, Arabs and Jews are practically the same people, cousins of sorts. 

And never has there been so much fighting and so much violence as there has been over the centuries from these two groups of people.  A real family feud.

If you are a first-time visitor to this site, I want you to know that I converted from Judaism to Islaam.  I changed my religion, but I did not change my ethnicity.  I still consider myself to be an ethnic Jew.  Some people insist that there is no such thing as an ethnic Jew.  I disagree. 

Even before I was a Muslim, I always had a deep love for the land known these days as Israel.  It's the same sort of love that every Muslim has for Mecca and Medina.  Even though some of us have never been to Mecca and Medina, we dream of going there one day, of making Hajj.  We make intention to go there, and wait for Allaah t'ala to extend an invitation to us.  Mecca and Medina are deep in the DNA of every Muslim.  There is no doubt in my mind that just about every pious Muslim in the world, if they had to, would fight to the death to defend Mecca and Medina.

It is the same feeling for Jews with Jerusalem and the Holy Land.  Jerusalem is in the DNA of every Jew, whether they are a Zionist or not.  In Jewish prayer books, we consistenly read, "next year in Jerusalem."  There is a longing to return.  And return some have.  Likewise, if they had to, every Zionist in the world would fight to the death to defend "Israel."  It's also important to be reminded that Judaism and Zionism aren't exactly the same thing.

But there is a problem.  Since the beginning, since the state of Israel was created by the Zionists, they have declared that it is a Jewish state.  For the Jewish people.

Because of my Palestinian activism, some people think that I hate Jews and that I hate "Israel."  Nothing can be further from the truth.

It is BECAUSE I love Jews and the Holy Land, and BECAUSE I love the Palestinians that I involve myself in a jihad for truth. 

I am against violence.  My jihad is a jihad of speaking out.  It is one of trying to get to truth.

Since meeting a wonderful group of Jews in a group called "Jihadi Jews," I learned that there are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes - on both sides.

Some people think that there is nothing worse than a person who "used to be," an "ex" or a "former."  An ex-smoker, a former drug addict, whatever ... And in my case, a former Zionist.

I think it is exactly because I used to follow the Jewish faith and was a Zionist that my perspective is unique.  My whole heart is rooted in that land.  Jewish, Muslim, Palestine, Israel, Palestians, Israeli ... I am so in.

And I also acknowledge the rights of the Christians to that land.

I believe that the Holy Land belongs to all of the people of the world.  I believe that whoever wants to live there should be able to do so in peace. 

I would love to see the Holy Land governed as an international zone. 

I'm so sad for all of the violence.  So many Israeli and Palestinian children are dying. 

I want it to stop. 

For my people.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Let the Games Begin!

My neighbor wanted to get the mulch early this year.  In my area, we don't actually plant until Mother's Day.  I was thinking I had a lot of time yet, but with all this work, May will be just around the corner!

With God on Our Side ... Thinking of the Occupation of Palestine and Other Global Conflict

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And the land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

The Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns on their hands
And God on their side.

The First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.


Friday, April 01, 2011

2011 Palestine Film Festivals - AAPER

The Palestine Film Festival is an event to showcase films which help educate Americans across the United States about the situation in Palestine and the need for an equitable U.S. policy toward Palestine that advances freedom and equality for the Palestinian people.
Read more about it and see the film schedules here:
2011 Palestine Film Festivals - AAPER