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Translating Islam into the language of the Russian state and the Orthodox Church

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This contribution analyses the discursive strategies exercised by Russia’s state-appointed Islamic authorities. It draws on a linguistic corpus that consists of speeches and sermons by Mufti Ravil’ Gainutdin, the head of a major Muslim Spiritual Directorate in Moscow. A multi-levelled analysis shows that the mufti’s lexical and rhetorical choices correspond to the discourse of the Russian Orthodox Church elites. This affinity is a discursive strategy that allows Gainutdin to position himself as the authoritative leader of Russia’s Islamic community and to construct Islam as Russia’s ‘familiar’ and ‘traditional’ religion.
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Keywords: Islamic authorities; Ravil’ Gainutdin; Russian Orthodox Church; Russian language of Islam

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Leiden, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 15, 2019

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