Posts tagged "Religion"
Islamists and Secular Oppositionists in Azerbaijan: Toward Rapprochement?

Islamists and Secular Oppositionists in Azerbaijan: Toward Rapprochement?

Islamists have occupied a marginal role in post-Soviet Azerbaijani politics, not least because of their strained relations both with the Azerbaijani government and the country’s secular opposition parties. But there is an intriguing political process underway in Azerbaijan today. Against the backdrop of widening social and political unrest, Azerbaijan’s Islamists appear to be taking a...
At the Tomb of Imam Asim

At the Tomb of Imam Asim

    Mystics seem to have a penchant for seeking out remote locations. Perhaps out-of-the-way spots are more conducive to contemplation, and they add an element of enigma when chosen as a final resting place. The tomb of Imam Asim, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Province, conforms to type. North of the oasis city of Hotan,...
"An Apparatus of Mediators" - State Religion Policy in Azerbaijan

“An Apparatus of Mediators” – State Religion Policy in Azerbaijan

Throughout Azerbaijan’s two decades of post-Soviet independence, relations between the country’s secular government and independent Islamic organizations have ranged from tenuous to openly hostile. However, following a steep deterioration in relations in recent years the Aliyev regime has taken steps ostensibly to revamp relations with Islamic organizations and improve its image among Azerbaijani believers. In...
The Bukharian Jews: The Story of a Mizrahi Community

The Bukharian Jews: The Story of a Mizrahi Community

Even at first glance, Aron Aronov has a demanding presence you can’t forget. He doesn’t stand very tall and he dresses in plain dark clothing, but there is something about the way he looks at you that is captivating. His gaze drills into your eyes, and he speaks rapidly, his furrowed brows moving in tune...
Young and in Love (with God)

Young and in Love (with God)

The Orthodox Church of Georgia is attracting a post-communist generation in need of a point of reference. Nine years after the Rose Revolution, the young generation reflects the hopes and contradictions of this ancient Christian nation, torn between desire for freedom and preservation of tradition. About thirty kilometers from Tbilisi, nestled in a valley, the...
The Word in the Ruins

The Word in the Ruins

  “Poetry is the queen of language, the sovereign of the word. […] Language has free will in it and it warms the heart with the roundness and perfection of its form.” So says Abai Qunanbaiuli, perhaps the most well-known of the nineteenth century Central Asian men of letters. This epigram is taken from his...
Several Loud Cracks in an Almaty Bazaar

Several Loud Cracks in an Almaty Bazaar

On the lowest level of the largest bazaar in Almaty sits a small, unassuming restaurant. A square window and a lone door are the only things marking the business from the rows of nut vendors and thrift marts flanking the eatery. The interior’s not much more memorable: white-washed walls, a handful of tables, and a...