Nurgul Esenamanova, Ph.D. (Political Science), Assistant Professor of the Kyrgyz Law Academy (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)


This article examines Kyrgyzstans Islamic reference points that formed under the influence of the Islamic movements coming from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the states of the Indian Peninsula. It identifies the institutionalization aspects of these Islamic movements and how Kyrgyz society perceives them.

Keywords: Sunnism, Shiism, Hanafi madhhab, Nurcular, Salafism, jamaat, daawat, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan.


Islam came to Kyrgyzstan in the form of the Hanafi madhhab. Sufism played a significant role in its spread among the nomadic Kyrgyz. During Soviet times, the Muslims of Kyrgyzstan were not well acquainted with the other Islamic movements that emerged in other Muslim countries in response to the historical, political, and cultural processes (for example, as national liberation movements). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, various Islamic movements formed under the influence of different factors began penetrating into the Kyrgyz Republic (KR) from Muslim countries.

The current religious situation is distinguished by the fact that almost all the Islamic trends coming from the outside acquire their followers in Kyrgyzstan. The geopolitical interests of particular Central Asian states largely define the religious situation and processes going on in the KR. These states take advantage of religious organizations and movements to realize their geopolitical interests.

Today, there are Islamic movements in Kyrgyzstan that came from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Indian Peninsula. Of these countries, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia claim to have an ideal and successful development model of a Muslim country and leadership in the Muslim world. What is more, all of these countries are relatively close geographically to Central Asia (CA), and..

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