M4 "In and out of South Asia. Transnational Community-Building in Religious and Ethnic Networks"

M4.1 "In and out of South Asia: transnational community-building in religious and ethnic networks"

PD Dr Dietrich Reetz

The work package studies selected networks of Islamic groups and movements as forms of transnational community-building which operate out of South Asia and have entered Central Asia. The objective is to identify independent perspectives, activities and structures of religious actors in order to achieve a better understanding of the nature of their cross-regional networking. The study is based on previous research at ZMO linking South Asian Islamic networking to South East Asia, South Africa and Europe. The study wants to go beyond the current research on Muslim networking that focuses on their local roots and selective agendas. It also wants to overcome limitations in migration research that regards the transnational social space mainly as a geographically localised phenomenon. In contrast, this study aims at highlighting a new quality and quantity of Muslim networking emerging from cross-border and cross-culture activities in the name of Islam. The work package therefore aims at understanding the specific driving forces of such transnational networking for particular actors and institutions. For this purpose it plans to look into the organisational history, concepts, formats and motives of such transnational activism. As far as Central Asia is concerned, among the South Asian Islamic groups the Jama’at-i Islami, the Deobandis and Tablighis, but also groups such as the Barelwi Minhaj al-Quran, or the Salafi Ahl-i Hadith play a particularly active role.

M4.2 "Conflict Dynamics, Local Strategies and Trans-local Ties in the Ferghana Valley"

Aksana Ismailbekova 

One of the aims of the research project is to reveal macro level influences on the micro level of localities in the Ferghana region where the violence made the headlines for a historical moment in 2010, while granting all due attention to the intermediate level of the relationships between the governments and political movements of the immediate geo-political environment. The origins of the current conflict in the Ferghana region have local, national, and international dimensions. They are embedded in the country’s history over the past few decades, most prominently the collapse of the USSR, the restructuring of the geopolitical field, of the economic relations within and across nation states and of the power relations in the new nation states. The project targets the interrelation of local conflict dynamics and survival strategies with trans-local discourse flows and actor networks across the regional divide, linking them with other neighbouring Central Asian states, but also with centres of religious-political activity in South and West Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran). Ferghana has a highly mobile, ethnically diverse, and politically complex demography. The city of Osh is a focal point of broad ranging familial, religious, and exchange networks, where it is critical to take into account the role of local institutions, ethnicity, missionary movements (Dawah) etc., yet also the set of external influences and trans-regional actors (Tablighi Jama'at and Hizb ut-Tahrir) for understanding dynamics of conflict and coping mechanisms in the post conflict period.