The Call to Prayer
The crisp silence embracing the mountains of Khulo municipality is only broken by the Mullah’s calls to prayer - in between, the 20,000-odd people living among the highest peaks of Georgia’s southern region of Ajara, live a simple, agrestal life.
Khulo has the largest Muslim community among ethnic Georgians - the 2002 census showed that 30 percent of Adjarans, 115,261, considered themselves Muslim, and 64 percent, about 240,000, Orthodox Christians. Georgia, whose population is vastly Orthodox Christian, features another large Muslim community in the east which comprises mostly of Azerbaijanis.
At 2pm, when most Georgian pupils are packing their school folders to go home, their Khulo peers are heading to one of the 30 religious boarding schools in the area - in these schools, they take all the regular subjects, plus two hours of Koran reading classes and elementary Arabic. The regular monthly fee is about 50 GEL ($ 20). Funded by various organizations, including the World Islamic Union (a Turkish organization), the Georgian Muslim Union and the Association of Aid for Georgian Youth, they are attended by over 1,000 children.
This project is an attempt to shed light on Khulo’s youth, particularly boys, living in Khulo’s surrounding villages. The kids’ days are split between regular and religious schools as well as their aspirations for the future.
Editors: Ana Lomtadze and Monica Ellena