Islam and Orthodox Christianity in the Caucasus: From Antagonism to Partnership
The Fire Below: How the Caucasus Shaped Russia, Robert Bruce Ware, ed., New York and London: Continuum Press, 2013
26 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2012 Last revised: 8 Mar 2013
Date Written: June 4, 2012
The Russian Orthodox Church has a long and often troubled history in the Northern Caucasus. Since the collapse of the USSR, both Orthodox and Muslim leaders have looked for ways to heal old wounds and forge alliances against a new common enemy — secularism. To this end, the Church has crafted a new approach to Islam that defines it not as a religion of an ethnic minority, tolerated but clearly subordinate to Orthodox Christianity, but as a full fledged partner in shaping the nation’s social and political values. While these values are neither liberal nor secular, both the Russian Orthodox Church and its Muslim partners argue that they are modern and democratic. Moreover, they see this new 'Russian model' of religious and ethnic tolerance as one that could benefit the rest of the world.
Keywords: Russian Orthodox Church, Islam, Caucasus
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