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Competing Islamic Traditions in the Caucasus

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Author(s): Dobroslawa Wiktor-Mach

Journal: Caucasian Review of International Affairs
ISSN 1865-6773

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 63;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Islam | Caucasus | Georgia | Sufism | Wahhabism | Pankisi

ABSTRACT
The common dichotomized classification of Islam in the Caucasus (“traditional” versus “fundamentalist”) does not take into account all major processes taking place in the region. The Sufi-Wahhabi discourse simplifies the social interactions between Muslims and suggests homogeneity of each of these categories. In this paper I would show how the term “Wahhabi” has been employed by the local community of Muslims who live in the Georgian Pankisi gorge to express their resistance towards new and radical ideas and practices. In this social conflict, Sufi brotherhoods assume the role of the defenders of traditional order, while the reformists attempt at changing not only religious but also social structures.
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