POLITICS OF ISLAMISATION IN UZBEKISTAN

Kuldip Singh, Sushil Bodh

Abstract


Abstract:A Sudden upsurge of Islamisation with militant and violent versions was witnessed inpost Soviet Uzbekistan. Although Islam for centuries has been an important marker indetermining Uzbek and Central Asian identity and national consciousness, it hasnevertheless been a multifaceted phenomenon, characterized by the divisions along Shia-Sunni suborders, syncretic shamanist practices, popular/official denominations and latelyby Wahabi and fundamentalist versions. Post Soviet Uzbekistan suffered from anideological void, providing an opportunity to external actors to engage with the peoplehaving fundamental tendencies and religious orthodoxy, as opposed to Central Asianethos and incumbent secular regime. Along with external actors of oil rich West Asianstates, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan the regional actors Islamic Movement ofUzbekistan (IMU), Hizb-ul Tahreer (HT), Akramiya and the like were instrumental in theresurgence of Islam with violent consequences for the whole region. Prolonged fusion ofreligion with ethno-nationalism and subsequent Soviet suppression, the tribal socialstructure, economic depression and repressive policies of Islam Karimove‟s authoritarianrule are no less significant in determining resurgence of Islam in Uzbekistan.

Keywords:Uzbekistan, Muslim fundamentalism, IMU, HT, Karimove, Central Asia.


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