Saturday, April 11, 2015

Central Asia and Islam

The nation of Uzbekistan - located along the northern border of Afghanistan - is confronting the rising threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Uzbekistan offers insights into secular Islam within Central Asia and the legacy of Soviet influence. This country is often overlooked by the western world as the focus is on events happening in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Africa and other areas of the globe. However, in light of the rising threat of Islamic fundamentalism, it may be useful to take a closer look at Uzbekistan. In addition, the Afghan conflict - which sees the activities of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) firmly entrenched in northern Afghanistan - may continue to spill over into Uzbekistan. This country offers a glimpse of what a secular Islamist state could look like - as well as the way in which religious repression will sometimes lead to extremism, violence, and state instability. Read more in "Central Asia: Can Secular Islam Survive?"The Diplomat, April 10, 2015.

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