10 Pages

Islamic versus Other Identities in the Greater Middle East: Comments on the Ex-Soviet Muslim Republics Jacob M. Landau

Since the official Islamic institutions were bureaucratically imposed and controlled by the regime,3 a sort of parallel, semi-clandestine folk-Islam survived in the Sufi, i.e., mystic and other fraternities in the shadowy area between the legal and the illegal. Islam and other ideologies, such as nationalism, found it increasingly difficult to compete openly with Communism, which was supported and propagated by the state, the party and the media. All this has been changing since the Soviet liberalization policies were introduced in 1988 and even more so since independence in

1991. Parallel Islam, no longer in need of furtiveness, has moved nearer to official Islam, while the rivalry between religious and other ideologies has been assuming a somewhat different character.