For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central by Robert D. Crews

By Robert D. Crews

N stark distinction to the preferred "clash of civilizations" conception that sees Islam necessarily in clash with the West, Robert D. Crews finds the awesome ways that Russia developed an empire with extensive Muslim help. For Prophet and Tsar finds the interesting dating among an empire and its topics. As the US and Western Europe debate how top to safe the allegiances in their Muslim populations, Crews bargains a distinct and important old vantage aspect.

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In 1767 Catherine composed a treatise to demonstrate to both a domestic f o r p r o p h e t a n d t s a r 40 and an international audience that she was the enlightened sovereign of a “European state” ruled by universal laws. In her Instruction to deputies who had been invited to participate in the drafting of a new code of laws, she proclaimed that public order and the general good suffered from religious persecution. ” Rejecting an older political maxim that advised rulers to insist on confessional uniformity within their states, the empress drew on European jurists and philosophers who contended that religious persecution only stirred irrational passions.

Haunted by anxieties of popular upheaval inspired by religious heterodoxy within their i n t r o d u c t i o n 22 own Church in the seventeenth century, the interests of the Russians converged with those of the Muslim scholars who shielded the tradition against “illicit innovation” (bid‘a) in religious interpretation. What in hindsight may look like “traditional” religious practices were, in fact, the creations of the state and its Muslim intermediaries. These convictions did not mean that each side always acted as the other wished, of course.

Because tolerated faiths were regulated by the police ordinances of the empire, they held out the promise of reinforcing autocratic power, particularly in restive areas where Muslims had repeatedly risen up against state authorities or joined the rebellions led by their non-Muslim neighbors. The empress hoped to ease tensions among Muslims and Orthodox missionaries, officials, and settlers in the eastern provinces bordering the steppe, but she also viewed Islam through the lens of imperial expansion.

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