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Central Asia WG • Soviet Madrasa Students Between Soviet Religiosity and Diplomacy

February 17, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

In order to promote students studying abroad to demonstrate “religious freedom” of its Muslim population and to strengthen ties with allies in the Middle East, the Soviet government established the Central Asian Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SADUM) in Tashkent. This required that the state and the Communist Party make compromises with religious institutions. This agreement had “mutual benefits”: the Soviet government pursued specific political goals through (SADUM), while the Islamic clergy sought to preserve its authority and create networks with Muslims abroad. In this political game, Soviet madrasa students participated actively, remained loyal to the government, and informed the relevant state organs of their activities abroad. At the same time, SADUM helped strengthen religious knowledge in the Soviet Muslim communities thereby strengthening their religious identity.

Please use this Zoom link to join:

Dr. Zilola Khalilova is a junior research fellow at the Al-Beruni Institute of Oriental studies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Her research examines the history of education, Islamic pedagogy, social life of Soviet Muslims, and the Islamic education of women.

Sponsored by the UNC Central Asia Working Group. Please email Dr. Eren Tasar ( with any questions. 


February 17, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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