Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Russia's Islamic Threat" - Hahn

At the SF Public Library, we were piqued by this cover and discovered that Tatars are a THREAT!

It's curious that the authors chose to title this book "Russia's Islamic Threat" rather than something along the lines of "The Struggle of Russia's Muslim Minorities"


It is a testament to the determination and solidity of the Tatar people in the face of such opposition; racism, institutionalized discrimination and fear mongering. How frustrating/challenging to maintain a constructive and optimistic attitude about the future of our rich culture.


"By dint of sheer numbers and economic power, Tatarstan and Russia's Muslim Tatars represent the greatest potential danger to the future of the Russian federal state. Tatars are Russia's second largest nationality, and those outside their homeland of Tatarstan constitute an influential internal diaspora. Given Tatars' high rates of urbanization, Russification, secularization, and allegiance to the more moderate Hanafi school of Islam, the legacy of the nineteenth-geographical distance from the North Caucasus and its comparatively sound socio-economic performance, Tatars and Tatarstan will be an important test of the capacity of the Islamist movement ... to "travel" across ethnicity and territory.
The chief defining factor of Tatar nationalism in the post-Soviet era has been Tatarstan's quest first to win and then to preserve the republic's autonomy within the Russian Federation. Islam has so far been a secondary factory. As Russia's leading republic with a Muslim titular nationality, Tatarstan's "return to Russia's legal space" was pivotal not only for the fate of federalism in Russia but for inter-ethnic and inter-confessional relations in Tatarstan and perhaps for internal Tatar diaspora communities. With the end of autonomy after Putin's federative counter-reforms, there is a real possibility that the quest for internal self-determination will be abandoned by many Tatars in exchange for the more radical agendas of extreme nationalism and Islamism. Although Tatarstan lacks an external border, frustrated nationalism and a strong will to self-determination might lead to secession or destabilization of state and society. The Tatars of the Volga and elsewhere refer to a past of Tatar statehood, which drives much of Tatar nationalism.
The other major factor in Tatar nationalism is Islam, which is a central (though not necessarily the primary ) component in Tatars' sense of identity, setting them apart from the Russian Christian Orthodox "other." Tatars' allegiance to the more moderate Hanafi school of Islam and legacy and revival of the jadidist movement may predispose them to a more moderate nationalist communalism. However, the close identity of Tatar nationalism with Islamic culture and religion and the radicalizing Islamic umma both inside Russia and abroad hold the potential for a more Islamic brand of nationalism and even Islamism to develop. The Russian domestic context in which Tatars currently find themselves may strengthen the impetus toward radicalism. Putin's anti-federalist counter-revolution, the atmosphere created by the ongoing Chechen quagmire, and the infiltration of foreign and perhaps Chechen Islamists could transform Tatars' secular nationalism over the mid to long term. Should Tatar nationalism become subordinate to Islamist goals, and Islamist-led revolutionary was could well destroy the Russian state as we know it."

author: Gordon M. Hahn

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