End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

The 16th century Miri-i-Arab Madrasah defaced before its extensive renovation. It closed in 1924 and it was used as the city’s children’s library. The Madrasah re-opened in 1946 as part of Stalin’s post-war concessions to the region.

The Miri-i-Arab Madrasah was the only Islamic spiritual educational establishment in the Soviet Union.

The Miri-i-Arab Madrasa was the only Islamic spiritual educational establishment in the Soviet Union

The Austrian writer and soldier Gustav Krist was captured on the Eastern Front in WWI and ended up in Soviet Turkestan. Later on he returned to the area and in his 1937 book 'Alone Through the Forbidden Land' he recounted his visit to Bukhara - the ancient city known as Bukhara the Holy:

…The Russians were reluctant to rob it completely of an impressive epithet and is now entitled Bukhara the Noble. You may here see the Red Star or the portraits of Lenin in queer juxtaposition with the ancient text books of Sharia Law and commentaries on the Quran. The Madrasah Mir Arab is a typical example. The narrow cell of the Imam has shelves along the walls, laden with sacred books in Arabic and Kufic script, above which hangs a poster in Uzbeg which screams: 'Proletarians of all Lands Unite!'

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

Photography © Velislav Radev

Published in Red Square

Atidje's story takes you back to 1973, when her family was caught up in dramatic events that no one could have dreamt would occur in the quiet, mountainous village of Kornitsa, on Bulgaria's Greek border.

The entire Muslim community stood up against the Communist government, demanded their rights, and cut the village off from the rest of the country, camping out for months in the main square. Atidje's husband was the leader of the rebellion. When the crackdown came, she paid her price.

Four decades later she still remembers vividly what happened that night, the deportation with her children, and her missing husband, who was sent to prison. Both of them now live in Turkey.

Published in YOUR STORY

 

A story of national identity and European citizenship, shot in Bulgaria, Belgium and Moldova and sponsored by the Bulgarian Memory Foundation. Reported/produced by Velislav Radev, directed by Janet Barrie.

On Bulgarian National TV , Sunday 23 February 2014. 

Made by barriemedia.net

Един филм за националната самобитност и европейската идентичност, за Гражданската награда на Европейския парламент. Заснет в България, Белгия, Молдова, и спонсориран от Фондация Българска Памет.

Репортер / продуцент Велислав Радев Режисьор Джанет Бари 

Published in Bulgaria

"When I first moved to Sofia, I knew hardly anyone, and spent most of my free days wandering the streets around ulitsa Pirotska, taking photos and drinking coffee in 'Halite'.

One of the first people I got to know was a fellow English photographer, a 50-something divorcee working for a financial institution in Sofia. In emails he referred to the city as 'So Fear' and the name stuck. It became some kind of title to our photography of our Sofia. For a year I lived in a flat with paper-thin double glazing next to a busy junction on Dondukov, so the sound of So Fear for me has always been a trolley bus pulling away from traffic lights, perhaps why I take so many pictures of public transport. "

Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear
Sofia So Fear

Photography © James Crouchman

Published in Photo Gallery Bulgaria

It's 44 years since the violent crackdown on a remarkable protest in two remote Muslim villages of Communist Bulgaria. In the winter of 1973 their entire populations rebelled against the state and spent months camped out in the main square. Uniquely for Communist Eastern Europe, their villages became a no-go area for the authorities. We talked to those who remember and who experienced it first hand.

Навършват се 44 години от насилственото потушаване на забележителната протестна акция на две помашки села в комунистическа България. През зимата на 1973 жителите им възстават срещу властите и прекарват 3 месеца на площада. Уникално за комунистическа Източна Европа по това време, тези села се превръщат в зона, недоостъпна за централната власт. Разговаряхме със свидетели и хора, изпитали на собствен гръб репресиите.

 

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Published in Bulgaria

Dhikr is an ancient Sufi religious practice, widespread in Chechnya. It looks like a religious dance, even though the participants say it’s not. The authors Olga Kravets, Maria Morina, Oksana Yushko say:

"Dhikr is a very emotional event, with lots of energy in the air that even made us non-Muslims willing to join the circle of rushing, jumping and calling the name of God. The multimedia project Dhikr is part of the ongoing work 'Grozny: 9 cities', showing different aspects of life in the Chechen capital in the aftermath of the war. It will consist of stills, multimedia and text. After the dhikr we had a long conversation with the local religious leader Alu, who was leading the whole ceremony, he spoke a lot about how Chechens want peace and that dhikr is one way of praying for it. The religious leader was also saying that when the dhikr takes place nothing bad happens in the world.

As we were driving home a call came from a source in the law enforcement authorities who said there was an explosion on the other side of Grozny, just about the time we were talking about dhikr and peace. Relatives of one of the suicide bombers, a 17-year old boy, who had blown himself up in Grozny as policemen tried to stop him, publicly disavowed him on TV. Dhikr is the way to peace in the heart, but the pot is boiling in the Chechen Republic."

©2010 Olga Kravets, Maria Morina, Oksana Yushko

Published in Red Square

 

Syria-born Aimen Awad on Bosnia's Islamic fighters during the war.

Bosnian public TV, BHT, Sarajevo, 24. 11. 2009

Awad has lived in the Balkans since 1982, first in Croatia, then in Bosnia, and fought in the "El Mujaheed" unit of foreign fighters during the 1995-96 war. In May 2009 he was arrested by the Bosnian police in Zenica. The police said they were hunting foreign-born Muslims who fought in the war and stayed in Bosnia as "illegal aliens". Aimen Awad has complained he would be jailed in Syria for fighting abroad. He is now fighting a legal battle against his extradition. Aimen Awad is married to a Bosnian woman and the family has 4 children.

Thousands of Islamic fighters fought during the war with Bosnian Muslims against Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs. Most of them left the country under US pressure in the late 1990s but some remained after marrying locally.

Published in Balkans