In this Carnegie Paper, Roots of Radical Islam in Central Asia, senior associate Martha Brill Olcott explores the actions of regional Islamic communities, particularly in Uzbekistan, to protest against governments that are “both largely unresponsive and…[made up] almost entirely by those who reject the teachings of Islam” – actions that include the evolution of the jihadi movements and the rise of key Islamic clerics and leaders.   

Olcott contends that “the question of the relationship between Islamic believers and the state is a critical one; depending on how it is resolved, it either encourages, permits, or discourages the use of violence in the name of Islam.”

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Martha Brill Olcott, is senior associate in the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment. She specializes in the problems of transitions in Central Asia and the Caucasus as well as the security challenges in the Caspian region more generally.