Islamic Religious Identity in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan

Jibrail Bin Yusuf(1*), Aikol Boletbekova(2), Jabal Muhammad Buaben(3), Hassan Shakeel Shah(4), Muhammad Ayaz(5)

(1) Department of Religion and Human Values, Faculty of Arts, College of Humanities and Legal Studies University of Cape Coast Cape Coast, Ghana
(2) Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddein Centre for Islamic Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam
(3) Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddein Centre for Islamic Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam
(4) Department of Islamic Thought and Civilization, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore, Pakistan
(5) Department of Banking and Finance, Hasan Murad School of Management (HSM), University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper assesses the state of Islam in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. It examines the challenges Islam faces due to the diversity of ideologies bequeathed by the Soviet Union. Although Islam emerged as a dominant religious belief in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, due to the internal elements of secularism, Tengrism, and other indigenous ideologies, and the interpretation of Islamic lore coupled with the Soviet ideology of atheism, Islam remains syncretic with some loose extremism fuelled by home-grown socio-political factors and imported fundamentalism. It, therefore, concludes that the challenge to Islam and Islamic religious identity in contemporary Kyrgyzstan is a sort of ‘Muslimo-phobia’ rather than ‘Islamo-phobia’ because the challenge to Islam is clearly unleashed by the Muslims themselves and not the minority non-Muslim population.


Islam, Kyrgyzstan, Soviet Union, Ideological differences, Tengrism.

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