Chechnya religion: Growing Islamic identity in region


SERZHEN-YURT, Chechnya - Seda Makhagieva, 15, had to fight to wear the hijab, a scarf that some Muslims say must be worn by women and older girls."My family didn't allow me to wear it at first," the petite Chechen girl said as she wrapped a pastel-colored scarf around her head and neck, concealing every strand of her long, brown hair. "They said I was too young. My mom beat my sister and me every day, but I didn't care: I am a Muslim and it is my duty to wear it." Half of the girls in Seda's ninth-grade class in the Chechen village of Serzhen-Yurt near the Chechen capital, Grozny, now wear the hijab, a sharp break from local tradition. In past generations, married women in Chechnya covered their hair with a small, triangle-shaped scarf as a sign of respect and modesty.

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