WorldViews: Dispatch: Turkey’s mysterious case of the bearded men

By Anthony Faiola, August 19, 2014

ANTAKYA — It is a journalist's greatest challenge in the field: How to tell rumor from fact.

Consider the Case of the Four Long Beards.

A colleague and I were in the shade of a market stall in this city a 30-minute drive from the Syrian border, chatting with a merchant about the talk of the town — fear. In broad parts of Syria and Iraq, the fanatical Sunnis of the Islamic State militant group were raining down a horrific vengeance. Zealots from North Africa, Syria and Europe — the kind secular Antakyans like to call "the men with long beards" — were traversing Turkey en route to their jihads. The Antakya home of a prominent and progressive Alawite scholar had been attacked. Three weeks earlier, a car packed with explosives was seized not far from here.

Read full article >>