Much has been made of the importance of democracy to securing individual rights and the general advancement of a just society. The role of democracy in post-Soviet governance and the strength of the state, however, have been called into question on many counts. Both state and democratic structures have been supported by elites who have used the claims of democracy and state to combat, or at least constrain, governance rooted in Islam. The ideals of democracy and the state, however, are experienced differently by those who are secularists and those for whom religion is a lived category. In this piece, I concern myself with how Muslims experience democracy and the state in Kyrgyzstan and thus how many remain unseduced by the unfulfilled promises of political rhetoricians.
S. Levi and R. SelaIslamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources (Bloomington: Indiana University Press2010); M. Saroyan Minorities Mullahs and Modernity: Reshaping Community in the Former Soviet Union ed. E. Walker (Berkeley ca: International and Area Studies University of California 1997); A. Khalid The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia (Berkeley: University of California Press 1999).
M. Reeves“Introduction: Contested Trajectories and a Dynamic Approach to Place,”Central Asian Survey30 no. 3/4 (2011): 307–330; M. Reeves “Black Work Green Money: Remittances Ritual and Domestic Economies in Southern Kyrgyzstan” Slavic Review 71 no. 1 (2012): 108–134.
See E. McGlinchey“Islamic Revivalism and State Failure in Kyrgyzstan,”Problems of Post-Communism56 no. 3 (2009): 16–28; A. Khamidov “The Lessons of the ‘Nookat Events’: Central Government Local Officials and Religious Protests in Kyrgyzstan” Central Asian Survey 32 no. 2 (2013): 148–160.
A. Khalid“A Secular Islam: Nation, State, and Religion in Uzbekistan,”International Journal of Middle East Studies35 no. 4 (2003): 573–598; D. Montgomery and J. Heathershaw “Islam Secularism and Danger: A Reconsideration of the Link between Religiosity Radicalism and Rebellion in Central Asia” (paper presented at the annual convention of the Association for Slavic East European and Eurasian Studies Boston ma November 24 2013).
See B. DrieskensLiving with Djinns: Understanding and Dealing with the Invisible in Cairo (London: Saqi Books2009); J. Rasanayagam Islam in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan: The Morality of Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2011) 203–229.