It’s like if workers come to do a job in your house, fix your furnace or dishwasher or something and they see a diamond lying there, in the open, something you’ve misplaced or forgotten about but could definitely use, and they just take it. Then they come back over and over again, to do more jobs, and they take more and more and then have the nerve to set up a display case in their own home, showing off the loot they ‘discovered’.

That’s’ what the Britis and Germans and who knows who else has done. The Germans even have a museum in Berlin named the Pergamon after all the loot they stole from Pergamon!

It’s been a whirlwind! Can’t believe we’re on the fifth day of the journey all ready.

The Blue Mosque is a wonder! Went there on Saturday and prayed in a corner with my parents. They had tears in their eyes. I just kept remembering that image of Malcolm X praying beneath its incredible domes.

The Topkapi palace was beautiful. Sprawling complex with three main exhibit halls. One for the Sultan’s clothing, one for the jewelry and one for Islamic relics.

I was surprised to find a huge lineup outside the Islamic relics. Mostly non Muslims too! And how keenly they read the notices explaining Islam.

Many of the tourists here are from countries all over the world.

But I did see a lot of Muslims. Especially from Malaysia.

Some of the relics I couldn’t help wonder how the heck they could know they were what they claimed to be. Like Prophet David’s sword (peace be upon him) and a lot of stuff like ‘beard hair from the Prophet’ (peace be upon him).

I think gawking over anyone’s beard hair, let alone the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) is actually sacreligious. I mean is that really what he would want us to be focusing on?

His message is what endures!

And yet other relics were definitely real. There was an incident where a famous poet, one of the seven poets of the Mu’allaqat, Labid, composed a poem about the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Prophet (peace be upon him) rose and put his own mantle on Labid’s shoulders in appreciation. That was in the museum and I was really looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately though they had it hidden away in a gilded case.

Yesterday was Troy and Pergamon, I had no idea that Turkey was that historical! And linked so intimately to Roman history.

Of course it was Asia Minor and part of the Byzantine empire, but still, the quality of the ruins here is spectacular.

More later insha Allah