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Akiner, Shirin (2004) 'The Contestation of Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia. A Nascent Security Threat.' In: Carter, Hannah and Ehteshami, Anoushiravan, (eds.), The Middle East's Relations with Asia and Russia. London: Routledge Curzon, pp. 75-102. (Durham Modern Middle East and Islamic World Series)

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During the Soviet era, links between Central Asia and the Middle East, in so far as they existed at all, dated from the 1960s and were mostly related to the use of Islam as a tool of Soviet foreign policy. Contacts in this period included the participation of Central Asian clerics in international Islamic conferences and exchange visits of high level delegations. A small number of graduates, nominated by the official Soviet Muslim administration, were sent to countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Libya to perfect their Arabic and to further their religious studies at approved Islamic universities. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, the newly independent Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) established formal diplomatic relations with these and other countries of the Middle East. There were some, mostly ephemeral, attempts to promote economic ties, but only Turkey and Israel succeeded in developing a significant commercial presence in the region.1 The main area of interaction between the Arab world and Central Asia remained that of the shared religion, Islam. Contacts, still very largely regulated by official channels, were mostly restricted to specific activities. However, informal links developed outside the purview of the authorities, leading to the dissemination of new ideas, new interpretations of the faith.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
ISBN: 9780415333221
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2008 13:55

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