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Discussions about indigenous, national and transnational Islam in Russia

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Transnational Islam is increasingly presented in the Russian political rhetoric as a security threat. Therefore, Russian politicians and authorities attempt to support indigenous or national forms of Islam. Similar policies are implemented in several western European countries. Yet they tend to disregard the heterogeneity of the Muslim community, they create exclusions and they are often conceived as imposing outside evaluations and interpretations on Islam. This contribution analyses initiatives intended to develop a national Islam in post-Soviet Russia. While the aims, methods and problems in different countries are often quite similar, the values and norms underlying these initiatives vary and reflect the societies from which they emerge. This contribution argues that since the 1990s, the changes in the political line of the Kremlin have impacted the project for a ‘national’ Islam by placing less emphasis on liberal values and more emphasis on adherence to loyalism and political conservatism.
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Keywords: Islam; Russia; governance of Islam; religious minorities; transnational religious identities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: March 15, 2019

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