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

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