No. 23 - 06/2017:
Islam in Central Asia and Southeastern Europe

edited by Sandra King-Savić


Editorial by Sandra King-Savić
Instrumentalization of Islam in Central Asia: Using Religion for Legitimizing the Governing Regimes by Mariya Y. Omelicheva

Governments in Central Asia recognize a "traditional" or "official" version of the Islamic faith to strengthen the national identity, but also to legitimize local authoritarian regimes. Officials justify structural and political grievances by referencing a 'security discourse' of "Islamic danger". However, governmental repressions against "unofficial" Islamic practices could have counterproductive effects.

Islam in Kyrgyzstan since 1991 by Alisher Khamidov

Kyrgyzstan‘s religious liberalism of the early 1990s gave way to a rather repressive control since the political unrest in 2010. As a result of the political exclusion, Islamic radicalization is discernable among the Uzbek ethnic minority in southern Kyrgyzstan. The newly sanctified state-religion is to counter the radicalization.

Delectation or Hegemony: Turkey's Religious Actors in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia by Ahmet Erdi Öztürk

Under the AKP Government, Turkey sought to increase its influence in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia by emphasizing historic, religious, and kinship ties. The Diyanet, the Turkish Presidency for Religious Affairs, is a key player in this process. There are Muslims in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia who welcome the support of the Diyanet. Others, however, resist the strong interference of Turkish religious actors.

Turkey's role in Bosnia and Herzogovina by Dino Mujadižević

The legacy of the Ottoman Empire is still evident in Bosnia-Herzegovina and all through the Balkans, and continues to play an important role in Muslim societies. Under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AKP instrumentalizes the Ottoman legacy to strengthen its foreign policy, as is evident in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Economic means and developmental aid are, however, secondary, compared to the cultural and educational influence Turkey exerts in the region. The schisms between the Gülen movement and the AKP are also felt in the region.

Serbia’s Sandžak: Caught Between Two Islamic Communities by Sandra King-Savić

At presend, two Islamic communities compete for legacy in Serbia. The resulting difficulties are particularly evident on the Serbian side of the Sandžak region – home to a majority of the Muslim population of Serbia where religious and political leaders instrumentalize religious divisions to garner political support. A great majority of the population, meanwhile, seeks economic progress in the neglected region.

Islam in Kosovo – the Current State of Affairs and the Way Ahead by Xhabir Hamiti

The traditionally moderate and tolerant interpretation of Islam dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Though extremist propaganda messages infiltrated Kosovo over the past 20 years, there are only isolated cases of radicalization in Kosovo.


Full text of issue

Euxeinos 23

Islam in Central Asia and Southeastern Europe edited by Sandra King Savić