Reassessing the Barriers to Islamic Radicalization in Kazakhstan
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA STRATEGIC STUDIES INSTITUTE
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The authors reassess the barriers to Islamic radicalization in the Republic of Kazakhstan. They provide crucial analysis and findings for policymakers seeking to engage with the country, while also presenting important insights into the historical and cultural impediments in the path of radicalizing its youth. Despite the proximity of the Central Asian Republics to Afghanistan and the Global War on Terrorism, unlike its neighbors, Kazakhstan has remained relatively stable and low risk in the face of international terrorism and extremism. This monograph examines some of the reasons as to why this is the case, proving that early judgements offered by commentators concerning Kazakhstan s experience of domestic politically inspired violence in 2011-12, exaggerated the potential threat of growing Islamic radicalization. For 70 years, Kazakhstan underwent a forceful and externally imposed secularization and was maintained rigidly under Soviet rule, with no official state support for organized religion. Yet, there were mosques functioning in the Soviet era, and the people in its territory maintained their own religious beliefs. However, secularization left its own effects on the religious identity of the Kazakhs, and today the country is opening up to Islam by treading its own path as part of the Muslim community. This monograph presents one of the most underresearched subjects of modern Kazakhstan examining attitudes and approaches to Islam. It investigates the historical roots and perspectives of a nomadic lifestyle and how they are being changed and developed on the way toward what many today understand as traditional Islam.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Humanities and History