BISHKEK: These two students of the medicine faculty were practicing parkour in the center of Bishkek. They got into the street sport while in grammar school when they randomly came across a youtube video. I asked the student on the left with the headphones what music he was listening to. He said he was listening to some religious texts. When I asked about the shirts, they said they were proud of being Muslim. ''Many in Europe and other countries associate Islam with terrorism, but that is wrong,'' said Shamil, the young man on the right. Shamil wants to become a veterinarian while his friend wants to become a surgeon.
BISHKEK: "It is rare that someone [among Dungan people] enters university. Almost all of them work in the fields," said this 52 year-old Dungan woman, who was selling fruit along a major road on the outskirts of Bishkek with about 10 other Dungan people. Dungan people are Muslims of Chinese origin living in Kyrgyzstan and other former Soviet republics. Tents cover these Dungan and their fruit from the hot summer sun. They can rest on beds when their are no clients. "Children also help with the fruit and vegetables" during their vacations, she said. "I watered onion plants during my childhood."
MOSCOW: Said was interested in ‘dark subcultures’ – as he calls them – for many years, including Gothic. He said he analyzed all religions, including paganism, satanism and Buddhism. Three years ago, he settled on Islam and gave himself the name ‘Said,’ which means ‘Happiness.’
Moscow-born Said, who still dresses in Gothic style, said that dark subcultures are not a leap from Islam as one might think.
”Dark subcultures make you think about death and that makes you think about your life. You learn to appreciate the people and things around you. Islam also makes you think about death on a daily basis.”
He was making espresso and cappuccino near a Moscow university from the back of a 'coffee car.' These coffee cars started appearing about 1-2 years ago here and are becoming a bit of a trend as people get used to coffee-on-the-go. He said the machines can work in temp as cold as -15c. His company chose this location as 'students like to drink coffee.' The ruble drop has boosted his company's costs by 30%. They haven't yet passed on the costs to coffee drinkers, but his coffee is still cheaper than the Starbucks 100 meters from his car. I asked him about thd big moments in his life in 2014. He said he moved recently to Moscow from Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia to save money to build a home. He also said he was Muslim and began reading for 1st time a prayer book, which has had a very big impact on his life. "Before, I didn't know the purpose of life, where we came from. I am trying to find the answers.