Reviews

As in the other volumes of the same collection, the present book on Islam in the Middle Volga multiethnic city and region of Saratov deals successively with a very short history of this religion’s introduction and development in the region (from the conversion of part of the Khazar élite in the eighth century CE to the end of the Soviet period); with the so-called Islamic “rebirth” of the late 1980s to late 2000s (through the role of the Spiritual board of the Muslims of the Volga Region [DUM P] in the management of a number of mosque and madrasa building sites); with the believers’ relationship with political power (notably through the activity of the DUM P and its local representatives for a better recognition, by the Kremlins of Moscow and Saratov, of the cultural rights of Russia’s Muslims); with the “struggle against extremism” (through an evocation of the participation of the DUM P in the political and police campaigns against the Hizb al-Tahrir in the mid-2000s); and with the international contacts of the Muslim believers of the Saratov Region (as usually in the collection, through the relations established abroad by the DUM P and its religious personnel). Written by a former member of the regional administration, the book never exceeds the limitations of an official viewpoint. If it provides interesting material on the contemporary history of the DUM P in a region of Russia where Islam is in a numerically small minority position, it remains to be completed in the near future by serious archive research (especially for the period from the late eighteenth century to WWII) and fieldwork in oral history (on the Soviet and current periods).

The Redaction
CER: II-4.3.B-378