- The Language of Moderate Salafism in Eastern Tatarstan
- Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES)
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian became the main linguistic vehicle of Islam in Russia. Muslims who still speak in their native languages (such as Tatar, Chechen and Daghestani) now have to face and compete with the powerful growth of ‘Islamic Russian’, a new sociolect of the Russian language, which is characterized by the integration of Islamic terminology, either in loanwords or with Russian substitutes. This article argues that differences in ideology do not predetermine the choice of the linguistic vehicles: a group of Salafis in Tatarstan – so far ignored in scholarship but very active in publishing – employs the Tatar language for its moderate fundamentalist rhetoric to a native audience, and translates its texts into Russian only as a second step, to reach an audience beyond the republic of Tatarstan. While it is usually taken for granted that Salafi ideology comes with an international appeal, these Tatar Salafis’ adherence to the native tongue can be explained by the national movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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