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Kyrgyzstan, Islam in

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

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    Kyrgyzstan, Islam in

    Bordered by Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan has a population that is 75 percent Sunni Muslim and 20 percent Russian Orthodox, with a statistically insignificant minority of Shii Muslims; major ethnic groups are Kyrgyz, Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, and Germans. Brought by Muslim traders, Islam was introduced into Kyrgyzstan in the eighteenth century. President Askar Akaev 's recent autocratic measures (flawed parliamentary elections, suppressed media, and expanded presidential powers) have eroded Kyrgyzstan's reputation as a democracy with a market economy. Islam here is influenced by both Kazakh conservatism, reflected in the speeches of Imam Ratbek Nisanbayev , and Tajik extremism. Militants from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan threaten stability along its southern and western borders; in August 2000 , heavy border clashes in the south with Tajik extremists were reported.

    See also Central Asia, Islam in

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