L’Observatoire des religions

The Partnership between Islam and Orthodox Christianity in Central Asia

samedi 6 décembre 2008 par Sbastien Peyrouse

This article examines the motives behind the partnership between Islam and Orthodox Christianity in postsoviet Central Asia. In fact, since the 1990s there has been a notable development in strategies of alliance between Orthodox and Muslim hierarchies, strategies that aim at reducing religious freedoms and countering the so-called ’untraditional’ movements : the proselytising Protestant and Islamic currents.
In order to shed light on this situation, which might at first seem quite paradoxical, I will first examine Orthodoxy’s claims to autochthonism in Central Asia ; second, I will look at its rereading of the past as an attempt to erase specific moments of conflict with Islam ; and third, I will discuss the common struggle of Orthodoxy and Islam against proselytising by Christian movements and their influence over the political authorities. Contrary to the situation in many states in the Middle East, there is no discrimination against Christianity as a whole in Central Asia, since all five states fully recognise Orthodoxy, but there is discrimination against confessions perceived as foreign or as liable to undermine the religious status quo by their proselytism. Religious alterity in Central Asia as well as across the entire former Soviet Union continues to be subject to national identification.

Published in : Religion, State and Society, Volume 36, Issue 4 December 2008 , pages 393 - 405

Subjects : Marxism & Communism ; Religion ; Russia -The Former Soviet Union & East European Studies.

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