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SPP 370

Title: CAN MUSLIMS BE DEMOCRATS? EVIDENCE FROM CENTRAL ASIA
 
Author: Richard Rose
 
Description: Discussion of Islam and politics usually focuses on abstract values and principles of behaviour rather than empirical evidence of the beliefs and behaviour of individual Muslims. Moreover, generalizations are usually very general, overlooking differences in doctrine between Islamic groups and differences in context from Asia to North Africa. This paper is distinctive in using nationwide sample survey data from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to analyze political beliefs of three different groups of Muslims: those who are firm adherents to their religion, those who selectively follow its rules, and nominal but not practising Muslims. The two countries have substantial nominally Orthodox Russian populations. The paper therefore examines the relationship between ethnicity, religion and support for democratic and undemocratic values in two countries. Contrary to Samuel Huntington, it finds the influence of a shared experience of Soviet-style modernization and secularization more important in shaping political attitudes than nominal religious beliefs.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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