By S. Frederick Starr
Both Asia and the West have failed to come to grips with Central Asia, and both are now paying a price for this failure. True, it’s easy to ignore a region that until recently appeared only on the western fringes of maps of Asia, the eastern fringe of maps of Europe, or the southern fringe of maps of Russia. But as we start to view the Eurasian landmass as a single continent, Eureka! There is Central Asia, square in the centre!
The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the American Foreign Policy Council would like to invite you to a roundtable lunch discussion on “Secular Governance in Central Asia: the Case of Kazakhstan”. Since independence, Kazakhstan has remained faithful to secular statehood. In recent years, Kazakhstan’s leaders have strengthened the secular character of the state’s laws and education system. But what does secularism mean in a Central Asian context? How does the state balance the goal of religious freedom with the need to shield the state from religious influence? What are the implications for the broader Muslim world, and for Western policies?
The discussion forms part of CACI’s ongoing research on the relationship between politics and religion in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The discussion will be led by CACI Director, Dr. Svante Cornell.
The discussion will take place on December 12, at the American Foreign Policy Council, 509 C Street NE, from 12:30 to 2 pm. A light lunch will be served.
Both in Europe and the United States, this argument is made with increasing frequency but it doesn’t reflect reality.
On October 31, a citizen of Uzbekistan was arrested for the terrorist attack in New York City that led to the death of eight people. The attack drew parallels to a similar truck attack earlier this year in Stockholm, as well as terrorist deeds in Istanbul and St. Petersburg. In these cases the perpetrators were of Uzbek origin. In addition, over 2,000 Central Asians have taken part in the civil war in Syria, fighting for jihadi organizations like the Islamic State or the Nusra Front. Is Central Asia a breeding ground for extremism?