Karajala Kickboxing Club is a training facility in Karajala, a small village near Tbilisi. The club is located in the house of trainer and owner Isvahan Aliyev, a professional kickboxer. Aliyev, and all of the members but one, are ethnic Azerbaijanis born in Georgia. Saying that the facility lacks equipment would be an understatement — it has only one bench press and one punchbag — but despite this, Aliyev says that some of the children from the club are Georgian kickboxing champions. [Read more…]
Armenian identity is so tightly interwoven with religion that it can often be heard that the only true Armenian is a follower of the Armenian Church. Contempt, discrimination, and outright hatred towards religious minorities have led to a worryingly widespread perception of them as outsiders — a threat to Armenian statehood. [Read more…]
Despite Georgia’s attempts to better integrate and include ethnic minorities, young ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the country are becoming more politically invested in the affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan than in their Georgian homeland.
Around 1,000 Christian Baptists live in majority Muslim Kabardino-Balkaria. One member of the community, Chechen man Ruslan Osmanov, told OC Media about how his new-found religion helped him to find his place and to break with a life of crime and addiction.
Lezgins are one of five major ethnic groups living within Azerbaijan. The population of Lezgins makes up approximately 2% of the whole population of Azerbaijan. Their religion is Islam, and their language is Lezgi. Historically, Lezgins have inhabited the beautiful Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. Part of the ethnic group is living in Dagestan, Russian Federation and another is beyond the border with Russia in the north-eastern part of Azerbaijan; Qusar, Quba and Khachmaz. However, the western part of Azerbaijan in Zaqatala and Balakan regions are also populated with many ethnic minorities including Lezgins. The UNHCR states that Lezgins make up 40% of the population of the Qusar and Khachmaz regions and that Greater Baku is 1.8% Lezgin. [Read more…]
Child marriages are commonplace in Georgia’s Azerbaijani communities. Despite tough new laws prohibiting the practice, young girls continue to have their right to education denied to them and their futures decided between their families and potential suitors. [Read more…]
Zaur Gumashvili, chairman of the board of Pankisi’s Council of Elders, discussed with OC Media the fading role of Elders in the valley, the rise of the Salafi movement, the subsequent cultural decline, and an action plan how to stop it.
After a video emerged of a ritual where worshipers had knives stuck into their heads, Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov publicly condemned Chechen followers of Iraqi Sheikh Mohammad al Kasnazani.
Muslims in Batumi are in desperate need of more space to practice their religion. However, suspicion, opposition, and Turkophobia from local politicians and Christian Orthodox activists is leaving them out in the cold. [Read more…]
Salafi imam of Pankisi, Bekkhan Pareulidze, sat down with OC Media for an exclusive interview, in which he discussed the region’s religious divisions, the outflow of young Kists to Syria, and the role civil society has to play in the valley. [Read more…]