Blink ( @Blink
) has his #Nowruz
#Woman from the #Sufi order called #Rufai prays during a #Nowruz ceremony taking place at a tekke (monastery for Sufis) on March 22, 2017. Every year on Nowruz, the #Persian new year, members of the Rufai order practice a centuries-old ceremony in the #Ottoman town of #Prizren in southern #Kosovo. This Sufi order, founded in the 12th century, is considered a mystical form of Islam. During the ceremony, men pray and sing while the women pray and observe from upstairs. Towards the end of the ceremony, a selection of men and boys are pierced with a metal needle called a "Zarf" in their cheek and lip as part of the ritual to reach God. During the 1998-1999 war, there were reports that Serbian forces were harshly targeting Sufi places of worship and its in visitors in Kosovo. During the post-war reconstruction period, many Sunni mosques and schools were established with the help of Arab charities - Kosovo's local form of Islam, including this Sufi order, was neglected and did not receive aid and has struggled to survive on its own since the end of the war.
Officially, 90 percent of the population in Kosovo is #Muslim. Under the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Kosovo from the early 15th century until 1912, most ethnic #Albanians converted from Christianity to Islam.
This week, @valerieplesch is sharing excerpts of her work on Kosovo, a newly formed nation that declared independence from #Serbia in February 2008. For the past three years, she has been documenting how the landlocked #nation is dealing with its #wartime past in order to move forward. From the construction of its new army to #burial ceremonies for those victims found in mass #graves, to #Islam in Kosovo and the country's unwavering love for #America, these images paint an all-encompassing picture of a diverse culture looking westward to the future.