Invited by the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo to unfold a striking exhibition, Abbas gathers his work on the three monotheistic religions for the first time in its catalogue, with written extracts from his travel diaries.
From 1978 to 1980, Abbas covered the Iranian Revolution. Later, from Xinjiang to Morocco, from London to Timbuktu, he photographed the daily lives of Muslims, the rituals of their faith, and witnessed the emergence of some more radical voices. Driven by a desire to understand the internal tensions at work within Muslim societies, he exposed the conflict between a rising political ideology looking for inspiration in a mythical past and the universal desire for modernity and democracy.
From 1995 to 2000, Abbas photographed Christian communities throughout the world with the same critical eye. On both journeys, he also recorded the lives of Jewish communities.
Heralding the dawn of the “Third Millennium,” the year 2000 seemed to impose itself as the universal calendar, and therefore a symbol of Western civilization. That year, Jews celebrated the year 5760 and Muslims the year 1420. Abraham—“the first Jew”—is also claimed as a common ancestor by Christians and Muslims.
Abbas has dedicated his work to the political and social coverage of the developing South. Since 1970, his work includes wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, South Africa, and others. He is currently working on the clash of religions, defined as culture rather than faith, replacing political ideologies in the strategic struggles of the near future. Abbas has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1981.