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How an Albanian man traces his Bektashi roots

By: Al Jazeera World

One man’s journey to discover his Bektashi roots reveals a religious order suppressed for centuries.

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

Bektashi’s fortune rose and fell in parallel with the Ottoman Empire and Bektashi’s were exiled to the Balkans, Albania and Egypt.

History repeated itself in the 1920s when the new Turkish republic banned all Sufi orders, including Bektashi Sufism. Then, in 1967, Albania’s leader Enver Hoxha banned all religions, including Bektashism. Yet somehow the order 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 that includes purges, expulsions, ransacked monasteries and child slavery.