Reviving Central Asia’s religious ties with the Indian subcontinent? The Jamaat al Tabligh
Religion, State and Society
Taylor & Francis
Islam in Central Asia, Jamaat al Tabligh, Kyrgyzstan, South Asia
As a consequence of Russian and Soviet domination in Central Asia, local Islam has been considerably isolated from the rest of the Muslim world. However, the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 opened the door for the reestablishment of new relations between Central Asian Muslims and their brethren in other countries such as Turkey, Iran and the Arab peninsula. Most of these new foreign Islamic influences have been the subject of a good deal of scholarly analysis. However, the influence of one region has been insufficiently analysed, despite its importance and the deep historical relations between the two regions: the contribution of South Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, to the Islamic revival in Central Asia. The Indian subcontinent’s share in the re-Islamisation of Central Asia is essentially the work of the Jamaat al Tabligh, the most transnational Islamic movement in the world. Very active in Kyrgyzstan, where it benefits from the tacit support of the local authorities, it is nevertheless completely banned in Uzbekistan, while it has been episodically tolerated in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Thanks to its particular method of proselytism the movement has been very successful in a very short period of time. Its activism in Central Asia, India and Pakistan will reinforce cooperation between these two regions despite the general suspicion among Central Asian elites and leaders towards any kind of influence coming from the south.