Cover image: Die Woche - Bilder vom Tage, 11 January 1916

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Description

This cover image from Die Woche published on 11 January 1916 shows a sketch of Sheikh Salih al-Sharif al-Tunisi. He was a religious North African scholar who worked as a propagandist, advocating Ottoman and German strategies to revolutionise the Islamicate world. The illustrator of the cover, Emil Orlik (1870-1932), was famous for his drawings and photography. He drew portraits of notable contemporaries such as Gustav Mahler and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Context

Salih al-Sharif al-Tunisi (1869-1920) was a religious scholar from Ez-Zitouna University in Tunis. When he was expelled by the French authorities in 1906, he moved to Damascus and Istanbul, where he became acquainted with Enver Pasha. In 1914, he was sent to Berlin to work with the Information Service for the East (Nachrichtenstelle für den Orient, NfO). The production of the Arabic propaganda newspaper for Muslim prisoners of war in German camps was supposedly at his suggestion (see the entry 'Hindostan / El Dschihad' in this sourcebook). In addition, he wrote Arabic propaganda leaflets for Muslim soldiers. He was a fierce critic of French colonialism and called repeatedly for North African Muslims to rise up against the occupation.
In Germany, he travelled frequently to give lectures and speeches to the public in order to strengthen the German homefront and the conviction that an alliance with the Ottoman Empire was fruitful for them.
In 1916, he took part at the Stockholm Peace Conference, where he spoke out to end colonialism and called for self-determination of 'oppressed Muslim nations'.
In 1918, he relocated to Switzerland. He died here two years later.