Vol. 1, No. 13 (August 1, 2008)

The resurgence of Islam in a post-Soviet Azerbaijan

After Azerbaijan recovered its independence in 1991, its people turned to Islam, which had always been an important identity marker, to fill the ideological vacuum that followed the breakdown of the Soviet system, a process that was profoundly affected by the agendas and actions of neighboring Muslim countries like Iran which promoted radical Shiism, Turkey with its Sunni Orthodoxy and the Gulf states which aimed to further various Wahhabi / Salafi doctrines. While most Azerbaijanis remained far more secular than many in other historically Islamic countries, there has been a significant ...
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Salafi Muslims in Azerbaijan: How much of a threat?

The number of self-described Salafi Muslims, Sunnis who aspire to life according to the “forefathers of Islam,” grew rapidly in Azerbaijan during the 1990s, especially in the northern portions of the country bordering Dagestan and Chechnya and in Baku, where there may be as many as 15,000 of them. And their rise prompted some in the media to speculate on their possible links to Al-Qaeda or other Jihadist groups. But so far, Azerbaijani government agencies have failed to develop a common approach to this often very diverse group of people ... 
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’Guerilla Islamic finance:’ Islamic banking the Azerbaijani way

Despite government suspicions about the threat any religion-based activities may have for secularism, an increasing number of Azerbaijanis are exploring ways to introduce Islamic banking into the country, within the existing legal and normative framework, however unfriendly to such efforts those arrangements are.  This article considers some of the challenges these efforts face and analyzes what some call “Guerilla Islamic Finance” as a possible harbinger of future trends ...  
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