CENTRAL ASIA'S CONNECTION TO THE Islamic faith and the larger Muslim East is a highly politicized issue. Western observers have been virtually obsessed with the role of Islam in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan since those countries became independent in 1991. Capitalizing on Western naivete, Russia is playing upon the fear of Islamic fundamentalism to promote its regional interests - all the while working to strengthen its influence among renegade, as well as respectable, Middle Eastern and western Asian states.

You have reached a premium content area of TOL. To read this entire article please login if you are already a TOL subscriber.

Not a subscriber?

Annual membership costs only $55 per year for individuals ($33 for students) and organizational subscriptions start at $141 per year.

Subscribe today for access to:
Full access to the website, including premium articles videos, country reports and searchable archives (containing over 25,000 articles).

You can subscribe here to gain access to the entire website.