How an Albanian man traces his Bektashi roots

From: Al Jazeera World

One man’s journey to discover his Bektashi roots reveals a religious order that suffered centuries of oppression.

Bektashism is a Sufi mystic Islamic order that was founded in present-day Turkey in the 13th century.

Bektashi fortunes rose and fell in parallel with the Ottoman Empire and Bektashis were exiled to the Balkans, Albania and Egypt.

History repeated itself in the 1920s when the new Turkish republic outlawed all Sufi orders, including Bektashi Sufism. Then, in 1967, Albania’s leader Enver Hoxha banned all religions, including Bektashism. Yet, somehow, the order has survived and now claims some seven million followers worldwide.

On a personal journey exploring his Bektashi roots, an Albanian man discovers that his faith has a shocking history which includes purges, expulsions, sacked monasteries and child slavery.

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