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January 15 , 2008

Radical Islam in Central Asia

Between Pen and Rifle


This original study by distinguished scholar Vitaly V. Naumkin offers an authoritative analysis of the key militant Islamic organizations in Central Asia. Long veiled in secrecy, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Hizb at-Tahrir al-Islami, and the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan are illuminated here for the first time. Drawing on his extensive fieldwork and an unprecedented array of Central Asian primary sources, the author thoroughly compares their doctrines, power bases, and political practices. The book also explores the history of political Islam in Central Asia and explains the concurrent roots of Islamic militancy from the early disputes between Salafis and traditionalists, through the period of Islamic revival in the late 1980s when radical groups first emerged, and up to their growing strength today. Naumkin analyzes the human dimension in Central Asian Islam through the lives of the most significant theologians, mullahs, underground preachers, and teachers in the region, evaluating their role in the spread of Islamic radicalism. Providing fresh insight into the balance between peaceful and militant means of struggle for power used by Islamic movements, the author considers into the possibility of dialogue with the Islamists and the outcome of the 'Tajik experiment' that brought former Islamic radicals into the government. All those interested in the development of political Islam will find this study an invaluable resource.
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