Power, “Original” Islam, and the Reactivation of a Religious Utopia in Kara-Suu, Kyrgyzstan

in Central Asian Affairs
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


This article focuses on the political uses of Islam in the Kyrgyzstani Fergana Valley, through case studies of the main Kyrgyzstani Uzbek theologians based in the city of Karu-Suu, who appear to be core actors in re-Islamization, and propagators of Saudi-style Salafi Islam. The article first argues that religious debates and postures concerning the relationship to secular power are inscribed in patronage and personal clientelist networks as well as local power struggles. Then it discusses the reactivation of a religious utopia that challenges the existing political and financial order through a local rhetoric on establishing an idealized caliphate, conveying a message not only of social justice but also of economic transparency and free trade.




Patrick Michel, Politique et religion: la grande mutation (Paris: Albin Michel, 1994).


Emmanuel Karagiannis, Political Islam in Central Asia: The Challenge of Hizb ut-Tahrir (New York: Routledge, 2010).


 See Rebekah Tromble, “Securitising Islam, securitising ethnicity: the discourse of Uzbek radicalism in Kyrgyzstan”, East European Politics 30, no. 4, (New York: Routledge, 2014): 526–547.


 See Marlene Laruelle, “The Paradigm of Nationalism in Kyrgyzstan. Evolving Narrative, the Sovereignty Issue, and Political Agenda”, Communist and Post-Communist Studies 45, no. 12 (2012): 39–49.


Bekmurzaev, “Independent Islam in Central Asia.” See also Martha Brill Olcott, “The Roots of Radical Islam in Central Asia,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 2007, http://carnegieendowment.org/files/olcottroots.pdf.


In early 2011, Rashod was arrested on fraud and embezzlement charges. A court ruled that he was innocent and released him after one month.


 See Alisher 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.


Eric McGlinchey, “Islamic Revivalism and State Failure in Kyrgyzstan,” Problems of Post-Communism 56, no. 3 (May/June 2009): 16–28.


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 7 7 4
Full Text Views 1 1 1
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0