Sufis of Chechnya The North Caucasus although geographically within Europe, feels quite different from the rest of the continent. Bordered by the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasian Mountains, it consists of several republics within the Russian Federation including Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. Possibly nearer the bottom of most people’s ‘to visit before I die’ lists than the top, I headed there in order to photograph the Sufis and their traditions. The region is perhaps most famous for its wars with Russia, as a breeding ground for terrorism and its volatility. It is less well known for the practice of Sufism – an interpretation of Islam followed by the majority of the population in Chechnya. I was keen to photograph the Kunta-Haji Vird - a school of Sufism that follows the teachings of Kunta-Haji Kishiev who was a mystic who lived from 1830-67 who latterly became known as the Chechen Mahatma Gandhi. Considered by his followers to be one of the 360 saints that keep the world alive, they believe he will return to Earth at a future time. He preached non-violence and passive resistance. Despite his followers being exiled to Siberia his branch of Sufism became the most popular in Chechnya.