SOCIAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS OF RELIGIOUS-POLITICAL EXTREMISM IN CENTRAL ASIA AND THE CAUCASUS: HOW IT EMERGED AND HOW TO OPPOSE IT

Gulnara GAJIMURADOVA, Valentina DOBROKHLEB, Vadim BEZVERBNIY, Marina KHRAMOVA


Gulnara Gajimuradova, Ph.D. (Philos.), Senior Research Associate, Center for Social Demography, Institute of Socio-Political Research, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russian Federation)

Valentina Dobrokhleb, D.Sc. (Econ.), Professor, Chief Research Associate, Institute of Social and Economic Problems of Population, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russian Federation)

Vadim Bezverbniy, Ph.D. (Econ.), Leading Research Associate, Center for Social Demography, Institute of Socio-Political Research, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russian Federation)

Marina Khramova, Ph.D. (Econ.), Leading Research Associate, Center for Social Demography, Institute of Socio-Political Research, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russian Federation)


ABSTRACT

The authors compare and analyze the social, political and religious situation in the Central Asian countries and the predominantly Muslim regions of the Caucasus. They study the factors that contribute to the emergence of religious and political extremism in these areas; trace down the connection between religious extremism in the Northern Caucasus and Central Asia and terrorism on the global scale; generalize information about terrorist organizations, operating in Central Asia and the Caucasus, obtained from open sources; identify the social, demographic, ethnic and political factors that make religious and political extremists out of local Muslims, the methods used by transnational terrorism to catch migrants and young people into their nets. The authors specify the relevant terms, relying on what experts in religious studies and Islam have to say about extremism and terrorism, including Islamic terrorism; reveal the internal contradictions in Islam and discuss different or even contradictory understanding and interpretations of different Islamic trends. They outline the ways and means, used to oppose religious and political extremism in Central Asia and the Caucasus, in order to identify recruiters and prevent terrorist attacks, and arrive at the conclusion that the world community should fight the threats of religious and political extremism and terrorism together.

Keywords: religious and political extremism, terrorism, Daesh, recruitment, Wahhabism, radical Islam, the Hanafi tradition of Sunni Islam.


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