"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Russia and Islam

As I have remarked before, relations between Eastern Christians and Muslims are not at all the same everywhere. Relations between Copts and Muslims in Egypt are vastly different from Eastern Christians in Lebanon, Syria, or Russia.

Now Routledge, which has previously published some important works on Muslim relations in Russia and its republics, has just put out a new collection edited by Roland Dannreuther and Luke March: Russia and Islam: State, Society and Radicalism (Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies, 2011), 256pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, both the Russian state and Russia's Muslim communities have struggled to find a new modus vivendi in a rapidly changing domestic and international socio-political context. At the same time as Islamic religious belief and practice have flourished, the state has become increasingly concerned about the security implications of this religious revival, reflecting and responding to a more general international concern over radicalised political Islam. This book examines contemporary developments in Russian politics, how they impact on Russia's Muslim communities, how these communities are helping to shape the Russian state, and what insights this provides to the nature and identity of the Russian state both in its inward and outward projection. The book provides an up-to-date and broad-ranging analysis of the opportunities and challenges confronting contemporary Muslim communities in Russia that is not confined in scope to Chechnya or the North Caucasus, and which goes beyond simplistic characterisations of Muslims as a 'threat'. Instead, it engages with the role of political Islam in Russia in a nuanced way, sensitive to regional and confessional differences, highlighting Islam's impact on domestic and foreign policy and investigating sources of both radicalisation and de-radicalisation.
The publisher also provides us a helpfully detailed table of contents:
1. Introduction. Part 1: Discourses and Frameworks of Analysis 2. Russian Approaches to Extremism, Nationalism and Religion Alexander Verkhovsky 3. Discourses and Approaches to Islam and Islamism in Russia Roland Dannreuther Part 2: Russia and Islam in Comparative Perspective 4. Comparing Islamic Communities in the North Caucasus and Volga-Urals Region Galina Yemelianova 5. Comparative Approaches to Muslim Integration: Russia, France and the UK Ekaterina Braginskaia 6. Moderating Anti-Islamicism: The Comparative Dimension Stephen Hutchings and Galina Miazhevich 7. Radical Islam in the North Caucasus: Domestic and International Aspects Domitilla Sagramoso Part 3: Russian Muslim Communities: State Interaction and Responses 8. Moscow and Muslims: The Limits of Multiculturalism Luke March 9. Tatarstan: Islam and Nationalism Azat Khurmatullin 10. ‘Kadyrov’ Strategies against Radical Extremism in Chechnya and Beyond John Russell 11. North Caucasus: Dynamics of Radicalisation and De-Radicalisation Akmet Yarlykapov Part 4: Russia and the Muslim World 12. Russia and the Muslim World: Interests, Power Projection and Identity Dina Malysheva 13. Framing Islam : Religion, Regime Stability and Security and Russian-Central Asian relations Matteo Fumagalli 14. Russia and Iran: The Limits of Pragmatism Elaheh Koolaee 15. Conclusion

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