Religion as a contribution to peace or driver of conflict? Youth perceptions in Kyrgyzstan
Does religion have a part to play in bringing people together across ethnic and sub-national lines, or is it more likely to lead to conflict? Based on interviews with young people in Kyrgyzstan, this briefing takes a closer look at the role of religion in society.
Despite divisions along ethnic and sub-national lines, 80 per cent of people in Kyrgyzstan identify as Muslim. Yet different interpretations of Islam and its role in society – as well as increasingly polarised feelings around the lure of violent groups in a charged media and political environment – have led to very different views of religion.
This briefing explores some of the issues relating to views of religion in the country, including its positive and negative influences, its relationship to the state, and its potential for building peace.