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Prizren's Dervish Fakirs: The Newroz ...
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
08 Jul 2015

Ancient Shiite rituals were brought into the Balkans in the 15th century during the Ottoman invasion and dominion and have been kept intact up till our day, representing a parallel and very deep-rooted Islam amongst the people. In the town of Prizren in Kosovo there is the tariqa Rufai. To celebrate the Newroz, or Nevruz, the beginning of the new year which coincides with the arrival of spring, all the dervishes in the area meet up here to celebrate a propitiatory ritual. The ritual lasts five hours and is extremely exacting. The followers must go through a great test of physical and mental exertion. The dervishes pray, dance and sing and try to attain a state of trance. At the culmination of the ritual the feats of Fakirism take place. Whilst some of the dervishes play and sing, the shaikh takes long skewers and begins to pierce the mouths of the dervishes who willingly undergo this test, beginning with the children. The older dervishes, the braver and more expert, are pierced with a real sword. A blade is placed on their throat and the shaikh climbs on top of it. The ritual ends when the dervishes remove the skewers. Just a few drops of blood appear on their cheeks.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Sudanese Sufis Attempt to "Reach God"...
Khartoum
By Mohammed Abuamrain
23 Mar 2015

Khartoum, Sudan
March 23, 2015

Al-Samaniya is one of the most prevalent Sufi orders in Sudan. Followers of this Tariqa, young and old alike, attempt to reach God by reiterating "There is no God but Allah" while bowing repetitively.

Video shows Samaniya members performing a ceremonial prayer at a mosque in Khartoum. It also includes an interview with a clerical member of the order, Sheikh Jaafar Mohammed, who explains the devotional practices and beliefs of the Samaniya order.

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The Visit 01
Tunis, Tunisia
By Zaid Abbour
20 Jan 2015

More than 100 Sufi worshipers and performers of Al-Rashidiya traditional music band gave an ecstatic show titled The Visit at the Tunisian capital’s municipal theater. The spiritual performance, which included traditional Sufi music and dancing, revolved around praising God, Prophet Mohammad and Sufi saints. The performance was directed by Sami Lajmi and featured artists Mohammad Dahlab, Haidar Amir and Munir al-Troudi al-Naat, as well as Sheikhs Mukhtar Bayyoud and Mahdi Abbas.

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The Visit 02
Tunis, Tunisia
By Zaid Abbour
20 Jan 2015

More than 100 Sufi worshipers and performers of Al-Rashidiya traditional music band gave an ecstatic show titled The Visit at the Tunisian capital’s municipal theater. The spiritual performance, which included traditional Sufi music and dancing, revolved around praising God, Prophet Mohammad and Sufi saints. The performance was directed by Sami Lajmi and featured artists Mohammad Dahlab, Haidar Amir and Munir al-Troudi al-Naat, as well as Sheikhs Mukhtar Bayyoud and Mahdi Abbas.

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The Visit 03
Tunis, Tunisia
By Zaid Abbour
20 Jan 2015

More than 100 Sufi worshipers and performers of Al-Rashidiya traditional music band gave an ecstatic show titled The Visit at the Tunisian capital’s municipal theater. The spiritual performance, which included traditional Sufi music and dancing, revolved around praising God, Prophet Mohammad and Sufi saints. The performance was directed by Sami Lajmi and featured artists Mohammad Dahlab, Haidar Amir and Munir al-Troudi al-Naat, as well as Sheikhs Mukhtar Bayyoud and Mahdi Abbas.

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The Visit 06
Tunis, Tunisia
By Zaid Abbour
20 Jan 2015

More than 100 Sufi worshipers and performers of Al-Rashidiya traditional music band gave an ecstatic show titled The Visit at the Tunisian capital’s municipal theater. The spiritual performance, which included traditional Sufi music and dancing, revolved around praising God, Prophet Mohammad and Sufi saints. The performance was directed by Sami Lajmi and featured artists Mohammad Dahlab, Haidar Amir and Munir al-Troudi al-Naat, as well as Sheikhs Mukhtar Bayyoud and Mahdi Abbas.

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The Visit 07
Tunis, Tunisia
By Zaid Abbour
20 Jan 2015

More than 100 Sufi worshipers and performers of Al-Rashidiya traditional music band gave an ecstatic show titled The Visit at the Tunisian capital’s municipal theater. The spiritual performance, which included traditional Sufi music and dancing, revolved around praising God, Prophet Mohammad and Sufi saints. The performance was directed by Sami Lajmi and featured artists Mohammad Dahlab, Haidar Amir and Munir al-Troudi al-Naat, as well as Sheikhs Mukhtar Bayyoud and Mahdi Abbas.

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The Visit 09
Tunis, Tunisia
By Zaid Abbour
20 Jan 2015

More than 100 Sufi worshipers and performers of Al-Rashidiya traditional music band gave an ecstatic show titled The Visit at the Tunisian capital’s municipal theater. The spiritual performance, which included traditional Sufi music and dancing, revolved around praising God, Prophet Mohammad and Sufi saints. The performance was directed by Sami Lajmi and featured artists Mohammad Dahlab, Haidar Amir and Munir al-Troudi al-Naat, as well as Sheikhs Mukhtar Bayyoud and Mahdi Abbas.

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The Whirling Dervishes of Konya
By Bertan Ayduk
08 Dec 2013

December, 2013

Devotees from the Sufi sect of Islam perform a whirling dervish ritual in the Turkish city of Konya. Konya is the birthplace of Sufism, where Sufi poet Rumi introduced his ideas to the world.

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Celebration of Sayeda Zeinab (6 of 9)
Cairo, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
04 Jun 2013

The celebration isn’t just religious in nature. It’s also a chance for families to shop, play games and socialize.

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Celebration of Sayeda Zeinab (3 of 9)
Cairo, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
04 Jun 2013

Inside the Sayed Zeinab mosque, thousands make the final leg of the trek to tomb of the Prophet Mohamed’s granddaughter.

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Dervishes of Prizren (20 of 23)
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michael Biach
22 Mar 2013

A young Sufi man has pierced his cheeks with a metal skewer after dancing himself into religious trance during an annual gathering of a Sufi order in Prizren, Kosovo.

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Tunisia: the guardians of the saints 05
By Steven Wassenaar
14 Feb 2013

The temple of patron saint Sidi Mehrez in the center of Tunis is guarded, maintained and visited by women. 79 year-old Khira (left), who has been guarding the temple for 50 years, gives holy water to a faithful. The well in the mausoleum is blessed. to complete the "ziara" (the visit), the faithfuls have to drink its water. On the right, next to the door, is Zora. The mausoleum is protected by the police. Since the fall of Ben Ali's regime in 2011, attacks against mausoleums and Sufi places of worship by radical Islamists are frequent. Islamists consider prayers to saints a sin because it associates other gods or beings with Allah. Since 2011, 80 mausoleums, mainly guarded by women, have been attacked.

Le temple de Sidi Mehrez à Tunis. A gauche, Khira, 79 ans, gardienne du temple de Sidi Mehrez depuis 50 ans. A droite de la porte : Zora. Le mausolé est protégé par la police : depuis la chute de Ben Ali en 2011 les attaques contre les mausolées et les lieux de culte des confréries soufies, très nombreux en Tunisie, sont l'œuvre de l’islam rigoriste: la prière des saints est une hérésie à leurs yeux (les djihadistes d'Ansar Dine ont par le même raisonnement saccagés les mausolées à Tombouctou, au Mali. ). Depuis 2011, 80 Mausolée - le plus souvent tenus par des femmes - ont été attaqués en Tunisie.

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Al-Azhar and Sunni Scholars Warn Agai...
Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt
By Video Cairo Sat
20 May 2012

Cairo, Egypt | May 20, 2012

Egypt's Al-Azhar, widely regarded as the most respected authority for Sunni Muslims worldwide, warned against the practice of Shiite rituals like those referred to as "Hussainiat."

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib, held a meeting with Sunni clerics and scholars including from the Salafists, the Sufis, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc, and announced Al-Azhar's rejection of the practice of Shiite rituals in Sunni-majority Egypt.

SOUNDBITE 1 (Arabic) - Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib:
"The honorable Azhar warns against the establishment of any sectarian mosques for a cretin sect or group secluded from the rest of the Muslim nation, causing division and threatening the spiritual and social unity of Egypt and its people, whether these mosques are called Hussainiat – which reveals a sectarian tendency strange to the Sunnis of Egypt - or any name other than 'the house of Allah' or 'the mosque'."

Sunnis make up the overwhelming majority of Egypt's Muslims. Estimates consistently place Sunnis at or above 90% of Egypt's 85-million people, and Shiites at less than 1% of the population.

Following Egypt's January 25 uprising there have been reports of attempts to spread Shiite beliefs in Egypt and an increase in the Shiite rituals called "Hussainiat," in which Shiites gather and beat their faces and bodies, lamenting the death of certain family members of Prophet Muhammad. Though Sunnis also revere family members of Prophet Muhammad, many consider these Shiite practices to be superstitious and deviant.

SOUNDBITE 2 (Arabic) – Sheikh Shiekh Hasan al-Shafi'e, Adviser of Al-Azhar's Grand Imam:
"We do not have suchlike sects or divisions. It is a very dangerous issue and it has grave consequences if it is allowed. So, besieging this leak was the concern of the clerics who attended today."

For his part, renowned Salafi Sheikh Muhammad stressed that the Sunnis of Egypt and worldwide love the family members of Prophet Muhammad yet they reject the Shiite rituals of mourning their deaths, which he said violates the right path in the Quran and the Sunnah (i.e. the Prophet's tradition).

SOUNDBITE 3 (Arabic) – Salafi cleric Sheikh Muhammad Hassan:
"Al-Azhar was and is still and will still be a guardian of this path; the path of the Quran and the Sunnah (the Prophet's tradition) and the Sunni school. I would like to reaffirm that we all agreed that the people of Egypt love the family of the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) peace and blessings be upon him, and they seek closeness to Allah through their love."

There are approximately 1.62 billion Muslims in the world according to a 2010 study by Pew Research Center. Most Muslims are Sunnis while the Shiites vary from 150 to 200 million worldwide, i.e. from 10% to 13% of the world Muslim population.

Local News Agency: Middle East Bureau / VCS
Shooting Dateline: May 20, 2012
Shooting Location: Cairo, Egypt
Publishing Time: May 20, 2012
Length: 0:02:57
Video Size: 146 MB
Language: Arabic
Column:
Organized by:
Correspondent:
Camera: VCS

SHOTLIST:

Tilt down, Al-Azhar administrative office in Cairo
Various shots of the meeting of Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib with Sunni clerics and scholars including from the Salafists, the Sufis, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc
SOUNDBITE 1 (Arabic) - Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib:
"The honorable Azhar warns against the establishment of any sectarian mosques for a cretin sect or group secluded from the rest of the Muslim nation, causing division and threatening the spiritual and social unity of Egypt and its people, whether these mosques are called Hussainiat – which reveals a sectarian tendency strange to the Sunnis of Egypt - or any name other than 'the house of Allah' or 'the mosque'."
Various shots of the meeting of Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib with Sunni clerics and scholars including from the Salafists, the Sufis, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc
Wide shot, a press conference after the meeting
SOUNDBITE 2 (Arabic) – Sheikh Shiekh Hasan al-Shafi'e, Adviser of Al-Azhar's Grand Imam:
"We do not have suchlike sects or divisions. It is a very dangerous issue and it has grave consequences if it is allowed. So, besieging this leak was the concern of the clerics who attended today." Various shots of the press conference
SOUNDBITE 3 (Arabic) – Salafi cleric Sheikh Muhammad Hassan:
"Al-Azhar was and is still and will still be a guardian of this path; the path of the Quran and the Sunnah (the Prophet's tradition) and the Sunni school. I would like to reaffirm that we all agreed that the people of Egypt love the family of the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) peace and blessings be upon him, and they seek closeness to Allah through their love." Various external shots of
Al-Azhar administrative office in Cairo

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Moulid of Tanta
Tanta, Egypt
By David
27 Oct 2010

Sheikhs and leaders of Sufi Tariqs share holy oils with pilgrims in the Seyyid Badawi Mosque.

The festival of Seyyid Badawi is one of the largest annual gatherings in Egypt drawing pilgrims from around the middle east to almost double the size of the small Nile delta town.

The week-long celebration encompases the birthday of Sufi Saint Seyyid Badawi, celebration of the harvest, and a carnival atmosphere.

The Shaykh Ahmad Al-Badawī was a Muslim saint and founder of the Badawiyyah Sufi order who died in Tanta, Egypt in 1276 AD. Sufi Orders set up tents where their adherents can gather and listen to religious singers and join in group dances.

Moulid festivals are common across the Muslim world however, because of their Sufi and traditional origins some conservative sects consider them idolatrous.

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Moulid of Tanta
Tanta, Egypt
By David
27 Oct 2010

A few tents are placed around the Masjid of Seyyid Badawi where Qur'an recitations and sermons by important scholars from al-Azhar are delivered. The streets between the fairground and the mosque are lined with vendors selling paraphernalia, and sweets, and annual supplies for the farmers that arrive, flush with money after selling their crops.

The festival of Seyyid Badawi is one of the largest annual gatherings in Egypt drawing pilgrims from around the middle east to almost double the size of the small Nile delta town.

The week-long celebration encompases the birthday of Sufi Saint Seyyid Badawi, celebration of the harvest, and a carnival atmosphere.

The Shaykh Ahmad Al-Badawī was a Muslim saint and founder of the Badawiyyah Sufi order who died in Tanta, Egypt in 1276 AD. Sufi Orders set up tents where their adherents can gather and listen to religious singers and join in group dances.

Moulid festivals are common across the Muslim world however, because of their Sufi and traditional origins some conservative sects consider them idolatrous.

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Dervishes of Prizren 02
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish with his piercing, proudly shown. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 20
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes sitting around in the tekke, praying. Visitors are aside.

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Dervishes of Prizren 26
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dancing all togheter.

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Dervishes of Prizren 28
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu is taking the pins.

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Dervishes of Prizren 27
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The schaik gives the typical kiss before the piercing. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 30
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Piercing the mouth of a young dervish. The schaik of the sekt is starting the fakirism ritual with the youngest dervishes.

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Dervishes of Prizren 31
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish with his piercing, proudly shown. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 32
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu going to pierce a young dervish with a pin.

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Dervishes of Prizren 33
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu going to pierce a dervish with a pin.

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Dervishes of Prizren 34
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu's nephew proud to show his pin in his mouth. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 35
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin in his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 37
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Elder dervishes having some relax and smoking after the celebration, sitting on their typical lamb carpets in the tekke.

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Dervishes of Prizren 38
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin right in the instant of self-piercing his mouth. You can see the pin coming out from inside his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 39
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin in his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 40
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin rotating it on his throat. The pin goes down for some centimeters. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 42
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. End of celebration, piercings have been removed, few marks on the proud faces of the dervishes witness the fakirism proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 43
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu checking the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 44
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish is going to stand on the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 45
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu's nephew with his pin in his mouth, not satisfied is carried around standing on the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 46
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. An elder dervish is getting ready for the proof of the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 47
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The scheik is standing on the sward, placed on the throat of an elder dervish which is proud of this proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 48
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. An elder dervish weakened by the pain of the sword proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 50
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes dancing in a circle during the dance phase to prepare themselves for the piercing ritual.

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Dervishes of Prizren 53
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Typical albanian-kosovar huts of the dervish hung at the entrance of the teqe.