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Islamic fundamentalism in post-Soviet Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan : real or imagined threat [Electronic resource] / Nuska Botoiarova, Supervisor Assist. Prof. Dr. Pınar Akçalı

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2005
Botoiarova, Nuska
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been much concern among observers and analysts around the world over what role Islam is to play in the political, economic and social spheres of life in newly independent Central Asian states. Traditionally, Islam is the dominant faith, but had been strongly influenced by the Soviet atheist ideology during the last seven decades before Central Asia became independent in 1991. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, some observers in the West depicted Central Asia as an extension of the Middle East, invoking fears that Islamic fundamentalism was to pose a serious threat to the stability in the region of Central Asia. In this thesis I analyzed the dynamism of Islamic revival in Central Asia̕s two post-Soviet states of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan through the prism of the imported phenomenon of ءIslamic fundamentalism̕. The thesis demonstrates that Islam in Central Asia is a natural process determined primarily by internal socio-economic and political conditions and not influenced by outside forces. In order to support this argument, I approached the problem by analyzing both external factors and internal conditions. The concluding argument is that even if Islam is to be radicalized it will be because of internal factors, such as authoritarianism, violation of human rights and repression of moderate manifestations of Islam from within, rather than because of the influence of Islamic fundamentalist forces from abroad.