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By Agnes Nilufer Kefeli

within the 19th century, the Russian Empire's heart Volga sector (today's Tatarstan) was once the location of a chronic fight among Russian Orthodoxy and Islam, each one of which sought to solidify its impact one of the frontier’s mixture of Turkic, Finno-Ugric, and Slavic peoples. The speedy catalyst of the occasions that Agnes Nilufer Kefeli chronicles in Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia used to be the collective flip to Islam through the various region’s Krashens, the Muslim and animist Tatars who switched over to Russian Orthodoxy among the 16th and eighteenth centuries.

the normal view holds that the apostates had relatively been Muslim all alongside or that their conversions were compelled by means of the country or undertaken voluntarily as an issue of comfort. In Kefeli’s view, this argument significantly oversimplifies the complexity of a zone the place many participated within the non secular cultures of either Islam and Orthodox Christianity and the place a colourful Krashen neighborhood has survived to the current. by means of examining Russian, Eurasian, and primary Asian ethnographic, administrative, literary, and missionary assets, Kefeli indicates how conventional schooling, with Sufi mystical elements, helped to Islamize Finno-Ugric and Turkic peoples within the Kama-Volga geographical region and set the degree for the improvement of modernist Islam in Russia.

Of specific curiosity is Kefeli’s emphasis at the position that Tatar ladies (both Krashen and Muslim) performed as holders and transmitters of Sufi wisdom. this day, she notes, intellectuals and mullahs in Tatarstan search to restore either Sufi and modernist traditions to counteract new expressions of Islam and advertise a in basic terms Tatar Islam conscious of its specificity in a post-Christian and secular environment.

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