Toward "Enlightened Islam"? Religion and the Secular State in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has remained staunchly secular and taken a firm stand against extremist movements since independence. In recent years, however, Uzbekistan’s policies have shifted from a defensive to a more proactive approach. The recent surge of reforms has affected the religious area as well. Uzbekistan has taken major steps toward the promotion of what President Shavkat Mirziyoyev terms “Enlightened Islam” at home and on the world stage.

This Forum is part of CACI’s ongoing research on the relationship between politics and religion in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and coincides with the release of the Silk Road Paper “Religion and the Secular State in Uzbekistan”, by Svante E. Cornell and Jacob Zenn.

Speakers: Svante E. Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the American Foreign Policy Council

Moderator: Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute

 

Where: Middle East Institute: 1319 18th Street NW, 20036

When: Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 4:00 - 5:30 pm

RSVP: Click HERE to register

Published in Forums & Events

Coming in July 2018:

Uzbekistan's New Face

Edited by S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell
Rowman & Littlefield, 2018

1805-UZbook-Cover

Contents

1. The Center of Central Asia: Uzbekistan in Regional and International Politics
Svante E. Cornell ...........................................................................................................5

2. Continuity and Change in Uzbekistan, 1991-2016
S. Frederick Starr...........................................................................................................18

3. Uzbekistan’s New Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity under New Leadership
Richard Weitz................................................................................................................ 41

4. The Economic Modernization of Uzbekistan
Mamuka Tsereteli ......................................................................................................... 82

5. Judicial and Governance Reform
Mjusa Sever................................................................................................................. 115

6. Political Reforms: Elections, Political Parties, Civil Society
Anthony Bowyer ..........................................................................................................146

7. Religion and the Secular State
Svante E. Cornell and Jacob Zenn .............................................................................193

8. Foreign Coverage and Reaction to Uzbekistan’s Reforms
John C.K. Daly.............................................................................................................220

9. Looking Ahead
S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell....................................................................237

Published in News

 

By S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell
Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst
May 12, 2018

 

1805UZ-coverDramatic and important changes are taking place in Central Asia.  For more than a year the region’s historic core and geopolitical focal point has been immersed in a whirlwind of reform without precedent in the region. At a time when one-man rule has been reinforced in China and Russia, when the rule of law is in abeyance in countries as diverse as South Africa and Venezuela, and when most Muslim majority societies appear to be receding into a new authoritarianism informed by religious ideology, Uzbekistan has instituted reforms that are ambitious in aim and extensive in scope.

It is far too early to say how it will all come out, or even how far it will go.  But there is little doubt that that the current reforms are all organized around solid commitment to the rule of law, the rights of citizens, elective governance, an open market economy, religious tolerance, cordial relations with the great powers without sacrificing sovereignty, and a new embrace of the Central Asian region itself as an actor on the world state. It’s time for the world to take stock of this startling development.

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