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Date Presented:Apr 13, 2013
Why do religious and political ideologies sometimes produce social and political conflict and other times co-mingle peacefully? The answer must consider both the content of competing ideologies along with the socio-political interests of their believers. In this case study of ideological competition in Central Asia, I show how both philosophical and material concerns explain why many Muslims, while openly retaining their religious-ethnic identity, became active members of an atheistic Community Party. This phenomenon did not occur amongst Christians who necessarily discarded, at least publicly, their religious identities when becoming Communists. So while religious and political conflict openly occurred in Communist societies which were predominantly Christian, many Muslims were able to accommodate their religious convictions with Soviet Communism. In the end, the creation of “Muslim Atheists” depended on not only socio-economic differences between Muslim and Christian societies but also theological differences between Muslim and Christian religions.