Islam in Kazakhstan: The case of Salafism

Islam in Kazakhstan: The case of Salafism

Among the five states of Central Asia, Kazakhstan is a less religious and comparatively stable country. However, recent trends indicate the emergence of fundamental Islam and growth of orthodox religious views. According to official figures, over the last five years, fourteen terrorist attacks were committed and thirty terrorist incidents were prevented in Kazakhstan. In the majority of cases, terrorist activities were linked to the followers of Islamic fundamentalism, particularly to Salafism. The attraction of non-traditional Kazakh forms of Islam has become a challenge for the Soviet-trained Kazakh government. In response to the growth of religiosity, the state is proposing an increased control over Islam. Particularly, according to the draft of a new law on religious activities and religious associations in the country, the state is expected to ban the wearing of face-concealing clothes in public places, prohibit promotion of certain religious ideologies and impose strict regulation on citizens receiving religious education in foreign countries. It is assumed that these, and many other initiatives, will be ineffective as the government’s failure to offer basic socio-economic necessities arguably fuels fundamental religious views. In light of this, the Majlis will attempt to answer: how has Salafism affected Kazakh society? What are the underlying factors driving the Islamic boom in Kazakhstan? And how has the state responded to increasing religiosity?

This week’s discussion will be led by Berikbol Dukeyev, a PhD Scholar at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the ANU. His research focuses on post-1991 nation-building in Kazakhstan. Previously Berikbol worked at USAID Competitiveness Trade and Jobs project, the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Centre for Political Trends, and was a Central Asia Program Fellow at George Washington University (USA) in 2016. His research areas encompass security and migration in Central Asia, and politics of Kazakhstan.

The following articles are suggested background readings on the topic. They are not required for participation, rather, they are provided for those who would like to prepare for our discussion:

Kazakhstan Steps Up Campaign Against Ultra-Orthodox Islam:
Religion and the Secular State in Kazakhstan:




Date & time

Fri 22 Jun 2018, 11am–12.30pm


Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Ellery Cres, ANU


Berikbol Dukeyev, a PhD Scholar at CAIS

Event series


Anas Iqtait


Updated:  13 June 2018/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications