Goodbye My Chechnya
For young girls in Chechnya the most innocent act could be seen as a violation of the rules.
A Chechen girl caught smoking is cause for arrest; while rumors of a couple having sex before marriage can result in an honor killing.
The few girls who dare to rebel become targets in the eyes of Chechen authorities.
After nearly two decades of war and 70 years of Soviet rule, during which religious participation was banned, modern-day Chechnya is going through an Islamic revival.
The Chechen government is building mosques in every village, prayer rooms in public schools, and enforcing a stricter Islamic dress code for both men and women.
I traveled to Chechnya over the course of two years and watched as the republic transformed with Chechen authorities enforcing a compulsory Islamic dress code for women and condoning violent attacks on women deemed immodestly dressed.
This is an exploration of the lives of young Muslim girls who witnessed the horrors of two wars and are now coming of age in a republic that is rapidly redefining itself as a Muslim state.