Emil Souleimanov, Maya Ehrmann
Dr. Souleimanov is an associate professor in the Department of Russian and East European Studies, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He is the author of Understanding Ethnopolitical Conflict: The Wars in Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia Reconsidered (2013) and An Endless War: The Russian-Chechen Conflict in Perspective (2007). Ms. Ehrmann is a graduate in government, diplomacy and strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel. This study was carried out in the framework of the Program P17 “Sciences on Society, Politics, and Media” at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University.
In the past decade, news of lethal attacks carried out by members of various jihadi groups has filled reports from the post-Soviet area; most of them have related to the Islamist insurgency anchored in Russia's volatile North Caucasus. The South Caucasus, located to the south of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, has until recently been considered largely immune to the manifestations of militant Islamism that have shaped the political and socioeconomic landscape of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and other autonomous republics of the multiethnic North Caucasus. The primary reason for the perceived immunity to jihadism, a militant form of Salafi Islam, of the post-Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, all of which gained independence in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, is the presence of various forms of Christianity in Armenia and Georgia, and the Shiite branch of Islam that prevails in Azerbaijan, a Muslim country to the northwest of Iran. Yet, recent developments indicate that the seeds of jihadism have been planted in this last South Caucasian republic. Under certain circumstances, this might have serious implications for the security of the region, strategically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
This study seeks to prove that while the introduction of Salafism to Azerbaijan may be attributed to external factors, the militarization of Salafism in the country can primarily be attributed to internal catalysts. This purpose shall be achieved by exploring the internal and external factors contributing to the rise of militant Salafism (also known as jihadism) in predominantly Shiite Azerbaijan.
Salafism is a Sunni stream of Islam primarily connected to the Hanbali school, which advocates a return to Islam in its purest form. Salafism presents a rationalist approach to religion and moral superiority, emphasizing the integrity of participants and purity.1 The term "Salafi" is derived from al-salaf al-salih (the righteous predecessors), the first three generations of Islam, glorified by Salafis as a pure model of Islamic practice and belief. Salafism originated as an intellectual movement led by Muhammad Abduh, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Rashid Rida in the late nineteenth century. Early Salafis tried to consolidate the technological and social advancement of Europe's Enlightenment, believing that their own society was the heir to the Golden Age of Islam (the period following the revelations of the Prophet Muhammad).2 Salafis call for a return to the true roots of Islam and focus on the individual interpretation of Islamic law sources (ijtihad). There are considerable divisions among the various Salafi streams as to how to apply these ideologies and teachings to the political world.3
Although the term "Wahhabism" is often used as a synonym for Salafism, they began as two distinct movements, merging closer with King Faisal's embrace of Pan-Islamism, establishing a link between Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's teachings and Salafi interpretations of the sayings of Mohammad. Salafis reject the Wahhabi label and, certainly, Wahhabism may more accurately be referred to as a particular ultra-conservative sect within the Salafi movement than an interchangeable term for the Salafi movement as a whole.4
Finally, the term jihad (holy war) is often used as a rallying point for radical Islamists, among them radical Salafists. This term refers to a personal struggle against one's sins or a struggle against external elements in the name of Islam. As with other streams of Islam that employ violent struggle, the stream of Salafism that advocates armed struggle against Islam's modern enemies is known as jihadism (particularly Salafi jihadism) and its followers are known as jihadists.5
In early April 2012, Azerbaijani authorities carried out a massive crackdown on presumed jihadi cells in the northern districts of Azerbaijan (Qakh, Zaqatala, Sheki and Qusar), along with Baku and the republic's second-largest cities, Gence and Sumqayit. According to official sources, the troops of the Ministry for National Security detained up to 20 members of the infamous jihadist group the "Forest Brothers." Also, during the recent crackdown, a large amount of illegally owned weaponry, ammunition and literature propagating "Wahhabism," terrorism and militant jihad was discovered. An Azerbaijani officer lost his life in a shootout during the course of the detention of Vuqar Padarov, a Zaqatala-born Salafi and one of the leaders of the jihadist unit. Most important, Azerbaijani authorities have asserted that the members of a militant unit were planning a number of terrorist and diversionary attacks in the republic with the aim of "undermining the political stability in the country and causing panic." Among other things, jihadists were said to plan attacks on members of law-enforcement units, Shiite shrines and other facilities associated with the state and with "heresy."6
Although sandwiched between the North Caucasus's Dagestan, with its ongoing Islamist-laden insurgency in the north, and the clerical regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the south, Azerbaijan has until recently largely remained an island of secularism. Islam was introduced in the seventh century, when Muslim armies conquered the region, which had been under more or less stable Persian control. In the sixteenth century, Ismail I, the founder of the Safavid Empire, declared Shiism the official religion in Persia and Azerbaijan and proclaimed the domination of Shiite Islam in this area. During the early nineteenth century, Azerbaijan was conquered by Russian armies in a series of Russo-Persian wars. In 1872, in line with the established practice of Tsarist Russia, Saint Petersburg created two spiritual departments in Azerbaijan (one Sunni and one Shia), ensuring that religious leaders there would come under the control of the Russian government, strengthening Russia's control over mosques and further fueling the Shiite-Sunni divide in Azerbaijan.
Following a brief intermezzo of independence that lasted from 1918 to 1920, Azerbaijan was occupied by Communist Russia. Seven decades of Soviet-imposed state atheism would seem to have rendered Azerbaijani society "immune" to manifestations of political, let alone militant, Islam. Yet the roots of this "immunity" run even deeper: to the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when Azerbaijani national identity was shaped by local intellectuals whose modernist and anti-clerical sentiments were remarkable for that time.7 Notwithstanding the increased interest in religion that established itself in the second half of the 1980s in Azerbaijan — as elsewhere in the Soviet Union — its ethno-cultural identity was relegated to the symbolic aspects of social life. Certainly, despite the ideological vacuum and renewed interest in Islam with the dissolution of the Soviet Empire, even the clerics in the early years of independence (under the rule of Heydar Aliyev) supported Azerbaijani nationalism over political Islam.8 Also, even though the vast majority of Azerbaijanis identified themselves as Muslims, surveys in the late Soviet and early post-Soviet era disclosed that only a tiny share of them, generally less than a quarter of those who considered themselves Muslims, had even a basic understanding of the pillars of Islam. According to a survey conducted in 2000, fewer than 7 percent of respondents considered themselves "firm believers," while just 18 percent confessed observance of salat (prayer), one of the pillars of Islam.9 Thus, for most Azerbaijanis, Islam may hold a more ethnic/nationalistic significance than a purely religious one. Indeed, Azberbaijan's orientation is mostly nationalist and influenced by strong ties with Turkey, which have led to the adoption of the Turkish model of strong nationalism and secularism.10 Owing to the weak position of Islam in the public sphere in Soviet and post-Soviet Azerbaijan, even the confessional split played a minor role in Azerbaijani society. Two-thirds of Azerbaijanis presumably belong to the Shiite branch of Islam; the remainder, who primarily inhabit the northern and western areas of the republic, identify themselves as Sunni Muslims.11
ROOTS OF SALAFISM
Salafism was introduced and catalyzed in Azerbaijan by missionaries, funds from Arab countries including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and the evolution of the Abu Bakr mosque. The first wave of Salafi expansion into Azerbaijan took place with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the arrival of missionaries to the country. These Salafists came mostly from Chechnya and Dagestan in the 1990s and gained support among Sunni Muslims, specifically those of Dagestani ethnicity (Avars, Lezgins, Tsakhurs, Rutuls) in the mountainous northern areas bordering Dagestan.
The second wave of Salafi expansion followed the second Russo-Chechen war, when the Russian military tried to push Chechen rebels (among them many Salafis) out of the North Caucasus and into Georgia and Azerbaijan. This transfer of people occurred alongside the heightened missionary efforts by Persian Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the construction of the Abu Bakr mosque, one of the largest Salafi mosques in the country.12 The activities of missionaries and funds received from external sources (especially from Saudi Arabian organizations) played a crucial role in encouraging and facilitating the growth of Salafism in Azerbaijan. In fact, there are reports that, in the 1990s, several northern Azerbaijani towns were converted to Salafism by Saudi organizations.13 One such organization was the Salafi Congregation, heavily sponsored by Saudis and other Gulf state citizens.14 This congregation continues to have great influence in northern Azerbaijan, especially among the Sunni minorities.15 Moreover, the construction in 1997 of the Abu Bakr mosque in Baku and its subsequent success provided a great impetus for the Salafi movement. Abu Bakr mosque offered followers myriad social opportunities and was an attractive network for its relatively young believers.16 Over 5,000 people typically visited the mosque for Friday prayers (more than 15 times the number of visitors to other mosques).17 Thus, missionary activities, funds and the success of the Abu Bakr network prompted the growth of ideological support for the Salafi movement.
THE JIHADIZATION OF SALAFISM
The initial introduction of Salafism to Azerbaijan was due to outside influence; however, its evolution and radicalization within Azerbaijan is a local phenomenon that, besides the Dagestan-based Northern Caucasian insurgency, has been influenced rather weakly by outside factors. Foremost, conservative people have cited the deterioration of traditionalist values in Azerbaijan and come to perceive Islam as a symbol of local (ethnic) cultural revival. Furthermore, Azerbaijanis have increasingly turned to Salafism as an ideological alternative of political opposition to the current regime. Finally, the suppressive measures taken against Salafis by Azerbaijani authorities have greatly contributed to the radicalization of this movement.
Due in part to the legacy of Soviet occupation, Azerbaijan is today a "secular" regime. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan witnessed the emergence of a new and powerful elite with a secular education.18 In turn, some deemed this secularism to be accompanied by the imminent "spoiling" of societal morals ("loose" behavior of women, alcoholism, drug addiction, homosexuality, gambling, and decreasing respect for the elderly, among other things) centered in Baku and other urban areas. This moral decay has outraged many conservatives, primarily in the rural areas. They have found their path to Islam as a counterbalance to the alleged erosion of traditionalist values and disillusionment with modern Western ideas and traditional institutions. Salafis have tapped into this decline of morality and traditional values in society.19
Supported by Iran and the inhabitants of some rural areas, some anti-regime Shiite clergy have not hesitated to clash with the authorities over some symbolic issues, most notably the wearing of headscarves. In 2010, the Azerbaijani government introduced a standard school uniform that does not incorporate traditional Islamic dress, an act that implicitly prevents the wearing of hijabs in schools. As Misir Mardanov, Azberbaijan's minister of education, asserts, "The law [...] clearly states that you have to go to school in a uniform and that all other forms of clothing are unacceptable."20 In response to this act, people took to the streets to protest the government's discrimination against devout Muslims. This was particularly obvious during the mass demonstrations in the village of Nardaran on the Absheron peninsula, the stronghold of radical Shiites, and some other areas during clashes with police over this issue. Aliyar Safarli, a former Azerbaijani ambassador to Iran, has claimed, "Iran is trying to use Islam to increase its influence in Azerbaijan and does not miss a single chance to do so. I am fully convinced that Iran is stirring up this problem and provoking people into protesting the hijab ban."21 Thus, the government ruling represents a further action of the regime against Islam and a heightened focus on secularism, a factor that further provokes conservative citizens. This incitement by the government, coupled with what some Azerbaijanis believe to be Iran's attempt to increase Islamic devoutness in Azerbaijan, has inadvertently presented a platform for the stimulus of the Salafi movement.
Furthermore, due to the strengthening of the authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan with its rampant corruption, clientelism and nepotism and the reduction of space for secular political opposition, an increasing number of Azerbaijanis have turned to religion as a sort of protest ideology. Foremost, since the beginning of the 1990s, "opposition parties have been constantly harassed by the authorities, evicted from their offices, denied access to state-controlled media, and refused permission to stage demonstrations in downtown Baku,"22 and a small group of people have been allowed to monopolize nearly all arenas of economic activity.23 Human Rights Watch claimed that the 2003 and 2005 parliamentary elections were both marked by electoral fraud.24 Moreover, Radio Free Europe noted that "a comprehensive crackdown against all expressions of dissent and free speech has been gradually intensifying. Journalists have been murdered, beaten, jailed on bogus charges, and blackmailed. Peaceful protests have been violently dispersed by police....elections continued to be rigged and free media suppressed."25 Likewise, human-rights groups have criticized Azerbaijan for its general restriction on religion: religious groups are required to undergo a registration process and are allowed to worship only in designated locations. Authorities regulate the dissemination of religious materials, and mosques must be members of government bodies, which (since 2009) have selected their leaders.26
Additionally, according to the CIA's 2013 World Factbook, "Corruption in the country is ubiquitous, and the government, which eliminated presidential term limits in a 2009 referendum, has been accused of authoritarianism."27 Thus, despite being a democracy on paper, the Azerbaijani regime has regularly been accused of being authoritarian. This authoritarianism foments dissent among some of the local population. While the Azerbaijani regime largely touts Western democratic values, the continued impoverishment of the society has led some to become disillusioned with secular institutions and modern democratic and secular ideals. As one analyst puts it, the "loyal opposition and the government have done little to address the social and economic problems in the country, particularly outside Baku."28 These trends seem to have created an ideological vacuum. As some feel that the established secular opposition is insufficient, they have begun turning to political Islam as an ideological alternative. Accordingly, for many young Sunnis living in Azerbaijan, Salafism has been seen as a fashionable protest ideology. Becoming a member of a Salafi jamaat (assembly) would, in their eyes, be equal to joining a global movement, in the name of God, and with the aim of overthrowing illegitimate regimes and creating an Islamic state based on the principles of divine justice, piety and welfare.
Finally, indiscriminate persecution has contributed to the radicalization of Salafis. Azerbaijani authorities were initially tolerant toward them, mostly due to fear of the reaction of the clergy in Turkey and some Persian Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia. They considered Salafism of little concern to the highly secularized and predominantly Shiite Azerbaijani society. However, the growth of Salafism has prompted the authorities to start fighting what they dub "Wahhabism," fearing the emergence of a militant ideology with the potential to destabilize the country. In 2005, Rafik Aliyev, head of the State Committee for Religious Affairs, stated, "Propaganda against the state and the government is currently provided in several mosques, and this should be prevented."29 This fear over the growing influence of Salafism has also been aggravated by the increasing establishment of Salafi mosques (65 new ones constructed as of 2003),30 the Salafis' harsh opposition to the current regime, and their open aspiration to acquire political power in Azerbaijan.31
Furthermore, in the agenda of some Azerbaijani Salafis, particularly from the ranks of Lezgins and Avars, irredentist claims have been on the rise. They see their task as bringing the country's northern mountainous provinces into the Caucasus Emirate (where an anti-Russian jihadist insurgency has been going on since the beginning of the 2000s), in general, and Dagestan, in particular.32 Since 2001, not least due to the September 11 attacks in the United States, Azerbaijani law-enforcement and security agencies have devoted much attention to Salafis. In 2001, 12 Salafi Azerbaijanis aspiring to fight in Chechnya were sentenced to prison terms, and a 2002 statement by the deputy minister of national security claimed that a number of Arab countries were interested in spreading "radical" Islamic values. An unofficial campaign has been launched against the Salafis in Azerbaijan, through both a direct campaign and the creation of harsh conditions for Chechen refugees, a large component of whom are Salafis.33
The regime's response has generally not taken into consideration the fact that militants constitute only a fraction of the Salafi population in Azerbaijan. In fact, the former imam of Abu Bakr mosque, Gamet Suleymanov, has adopted a rather apolitical approach. It is extremist Salafis (dubbed by Suleymanov as khawarij) who have violently opposed the leaders of the Muslim communities, advocate rebellion against the current regime, and regard those who do not share their views as infidels.34 However, Azerbaijan's attempt to suppress Islamic influence has been all encompassing, characterized by strong opposition to religious studies in school curricula, control over registration procedures for all religious institutions, regulation of the decibel level of the call to prayer, limitations of the distribution of religious literature, the closure of mosques, and harsh treatment of religious figures.35 Police are reported to have beaten and humiliated Salafi followers and purposely shaved off and burned the beards of Salafi men. Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, an imam and the head of the Center for Protection of Freedom of Conscience (an Azerbaijani human-rights group) argues, "Illegal actions like these are creating fertile soil for the growth of various kinds of 'extremist' and 'radical' movements."36 He further claims, "A state body that is supposed to protect the rights of believers instead is imposing a police regime."37 Gamet Suleymanov adds, "[T]his serves only to fuel radicalization."38 Additionally, Catherine Cosman, a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, commented on Azerbaijan's decision to sentence to long prison terms seven members of an Islamic group accused of planning a terrorist attack: "Through this court verdict, the government has made these men into martyrs for those people in Azerbaijani society who hold particularly strong Muslim beliefs and were already very critical of the government. I doubt whether such court rulings can assist the government in building stability over the long run."39 Indeed, critics of the regime have claimed that the government exaggerates the threat of insurgency for political reasons. Arif Yunus, a historian and author of several books on Islam in Azerbaijan, has claimed that the established link of radical Islam to terrorism for political purposes has long been manipulated by the government: "By claiming that Azerbaijan faces a terrorism threat, the Azerbaijani government wants to show that it is in a vulnerable situation. The claim of terrorism is a good way for the government to have a dialogue with the West."40 Hence, persecution by the regime fuels radicalization, not only by inciting resentment toward the regime, but also by developing a sense of righteousness among Salafis ("martyrdom"), and increases awareness of the Salafi movement.
An evolution has been underway with the country's Sunni — and Salafi — community, whose adherents have been considered relatively peaceful until recently. Salafis in Azerbaijan primarily recruit from the country's mountainous areas in the north, predominantly inhabited by Lezgis, Avars and Tsakhurs — Dagestani ethnicities sharing the Sunni religion with their fellow countrymen from across the Russo-Azerbaijani border (although the share of ethnic Azeris among Salafis has been on the rise). North Azerbaijani ethnicities have certainly not stayed immune to the impact of Salafi teaching that has been flourishing in Dagestan since the 1990s and intensified in recent years as a result of a dramatically deteriorating (counter) insurgency. Moreover, dozens of Azerbaijani citizens of Sunni faith, and predominantly — yet not exclusively — those of Avar, Tsakhur and Lezgi origin, have reportedly participated in the North Caucasus insurgency, highlighted by the case of Ilhar Mollachiyev, a Tsakhur from northern Azerbaijan, who until his death in 2008 was the leader of "Shariat," the largest Dagestani jihadist jamaat.
Second, anti-Azeri sentiments have been growing in the republic's Lezgi-, Tsakhur- and Avar-populated areas, not least because of repetitive indiscriminate attacks by Azerbaijani authorities against alleged or true "Wahhabis" in local mosques and villages. In anti-Salafi crackdowns, ethnicity often coincides with religion, deepening the gap between the highlanders and the idea of the Azerbaijani nation. Importantly, local inhabitants have frequently complained about the xenophobic overtones that accompany Azerbaijani authorities' police operations in the republic's north, most recently during the massive 2010 mop-ups in northern Azerbaijan.
Last but not least, the Lezgi, Tsakhur and Avar areas have historically constituted the most traditionalist people in Azerbaijan. They retain archaic patterns of social organization (clans), the principles of customary law (clan or family honor, blood feud), and the religion of Islam. Following the pattern observed in the Dagestani insurgency, "Wahhabis" from among the Lezgis, Avars and north Azerbaijani highlanders tend to seek refuge from law enforcement agencies for injuries and humiliation more often than do "Westernized" Azerbaijanis.
In the face of Soviet-imposed rule, as well as a national identity shaped by local intellectuals with anti-clerical sentiments, Islam has taken a secondary role to nationalism in Azerbaijani society. While the dissolution of the Soviet Union did not instigate political Islam in Azerbaijan, it did provide an ideological vacuum for religious groups to fill, a growing propensity for devoutness, and an interest in Islam among the population. The Salafi movement, spurred by missionary activities using external funds and the establishment of mosques, has been able to use disillusionment with the current Azerbaijani regime and the desire for a return to more traditionalist values in order to gain followers. Growing concern by the authorities over the influence of this movement has led to repression of Salafi Muslims, a factor that has contributed to radicalization.
This radicalization of Salafism in Azerbaijan can further be attributed to the presence of Dagestani minorities in the north of Azerbaijan, many of whom are followers of Salafism and are greatly influenced by their Dagestani counterparts. Indeed, there is a rising trend among Dagestani minorities in the north of Azerbaijan to engage in insurgent activities. As it lacks substantial support or external sources and relies on very limited popular support among either highly secularized or Shiite Azerbaijanis — who generally distance themselves from what they call "radical Islam" — Salafism or its militant form, jihadism, seems to be an easy task for the authorities to cope with. Yet the potential growth of jihadist ideology presents a danger for the security and territorial integrity of the Azerbaijani state due to the intersection of religious and ethnic loyalties in the northern areas, home to Dagestani ethnic groups possessing latent irredentist sentiments. Should the Azerbaijani authorities continue to carry out fierce and indiscriminate "anti-Wahhabi" policies, fueled by nationalism in the borderland areas with Dagestan, Salafism might turn into a transnational ideology of resistance among the Avars, Lezgis and Tsakhurs, linking them even closer to the Dagestani cause and possibly ensuring support from Dagestan-based insurgents. In this case, Baku might face another territorial conflict with unpredictable consequences.
1 Hema Kotecha, "Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan: Emerging Trends and Tensions," OSCE (2006), accessed June 6, 2012, http://www.osce.org/baku/23809.
2 Trevor Stanley, "Understanding the Origins of Wahhabism and Salafism," Terrorism Monitor 3, no. 4 (July 15, 2005), accessed August 2, 2012, http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=528&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=180&no_cache=1.
3 F.W. Horst, "Salafist Jihadism in Germany," ICT (January 12, 2011), accessed August 2, 2012, http://www.ict.org.il/Articles/tabid/66/Articlsid/887/currentpage/1/Default.aspx.
4 Trevor Stanley, "Understanding the Origins of Wahhabism and Salafism."
5 F.W. Horst, "Salafist Jihadism in Germany."
6 Emil Souleimanov, "Jihadism on the Rise in Azerbaijan," CACI Analyst, February 5, 2012, accessed June 5, 2012, http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/5766.
7 Emil Souleimanov, "Between Turkey, Russia, and Persia: Perceptions of National Identity in Azerbaijan and Armenia at the Turn of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," Gloria Center, April 27, 2012, accessed June 23, 2012, http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/04/between-turkey-russia-and-persia-perceptions-of-national-identity-in-azerbaijan-and-armenia-at-the-turn-of-the-nineteenth-and-twentieth-centuries/.
8 Asbed Kotchikian, "Secular Nationalism Versus Political Islam in Azerbaijan," Terrorism Monitor 3, no. 3 (February 9, 2012), accessed June 7, 2012, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=27525.
9 Anar Valiyev, "Azerbaijan: Islam in a Post-Soviet Republic," Meria, 9, no. 4 (December 2005), accessed June 20, 2012, http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2005/issue4/jv9no4a1.html.
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11 Altay Goyushov, "Islamic Revival in Azerbaijan," Current Trends in Islamist Ideology 7 (November 11, 2008), accessed June 23, 2012, http://www.currenttrends.org/research/detail/islamic-revival-in-azerbaijan.
12 Joshua Kucera, "Travels in the Former Soviet Union," Slate (May 21, 2008), accessed June 23, 2012, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dispatches/features/2008/travels_in_the_former_soviet_union/a_mosque_booms_in_baku.html.
13 Eldar Mamedov, "Azerbaijan: Evaluating Islamists' Strength in Baku," Eurasianet.org, August 9, 2011, accessed June 14, 2012, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/64018.
14 Shahla Sultanova, "Azerbaijan: Sunni Groups Viewed with Suspicion," Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Issue 586 (April 8, 2011), accessed June 23, 2012, http://iwpr.net/report-news/azerbaijan-sunni-groups-viewed-suspicion.
15 Arzu Geybullayeva, "Is Azerbaijan Becoming a Hub of Radical Islam?," Turkish Policy Quarterly (March, 2007), accessed June 11, 2012, http://www.turkishpolicy.com/images/stories/2007-03-caucasus/TPQ2007-3-geybullayeva.pdf.
16 Hema Kotecha, "Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan."
17 Anar Valiyev, "The Rise of Salafi Islam in Azerbaijan," Terrorism Monitor 3, no.13 (July 1, 2005), accessed March 3, 2013, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=518.
18 Altay Goyushov, "Islam in Azerbaijan: Historical Background," Caucasus Analystical Digest, no. 44 (November 20, 2012), accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/pdfs/CAD-44-2-4.pdf.
19 Rufat Sattarov, "Islamic Revival and Islamic Activism in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan," in Radical Islam in the Former Soviet Union ed. Galina Yemelianova (Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2010), 146-210.
20 Lada Yevgrashina, "Hundreds of People Protested in Azerbaijan on Friday for the Right to Wear Islamic Headscarves in Schools, Challenging the Strictly Secular Regime," Reuters, December 10, 2010, accessed June 11, 2012, http://in.reuters.com/article/2010/12/10/idINIndia-53485920101210.
21 Arzu Geybullayeva, "Azerbaijan in the Shadow of the Hijab," Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, January 26, 2011, accessed June 10, 2012, http://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Regions-and-countries/Azerbaijan/Azer….
22 Liz Fuller and Babek Bakir, "Azerbaijan: Why Is 'Alternative' Islam Gaining Strength?," Eurasianet.org, August 14, 2007, accessed June 6, 2012, http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/pp081507.shtml.
23 Liz Fuller and Babek Bakir, "Azerbaijan: Why Is 'Alternative' Islam Gaining Strength?"
24 Human Rights Watch, "Azerbaijan," 2003 & 2005, accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.hrw.org/europecentral-asia/azerbaijan.
25 Elmar Chakhtakhtinski, "Azerbaijan's Steady Descent into Authoritarianism," Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, July 30, 2009, accessed May 1, 2005, http://www.rferl.org/content/Azerbaijans_Steady_Descent_Into_Authoritar….
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27 Central Intelligence Agency, "Azerbaijan," May 7, 2013, accessed May 13, 2013, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/aj.html.
28 Asbed Kotchikian, "Secular Nationalism Versus Political Islam in Azerbaijan," Terrorism Monitor 19, no. 3 (2005), accessed June 6, 2012, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=319.
29 Shahin Abbasov and Khadija Ismailova, "Watching for Wahhabis: The Religious Factor in Azerbaijan's Parliamentary Election Campaign," Eurasianet.org, August 17, 2005, accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav081805a.shtml.
30 Anar Valiyev, "Azerbaijan: Islam in a Post-Soviet Republic," Meria 9, no. 4 (December 2005), accessed June 20, 2012, http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2005/issue4/jv9no4a1.html.
31 Giorgio Cafiero, "Review: The Islamists Are Coming," Foreign Policy in Focus (May 10, 2012), accessed June 23, 2012, http://www.fpif.org/articles/review_the_islamists_are_coming.
32 Emil Souleimanov, "Jihadism on the Rise in Azerbaijan," CACI Analyst, February 5, 2012, accessed June 5, 2012, http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/5766.
33 Anar Valiyev, "Growing Anti-Chechen Sentiment in Azerbaijan," North Caucasus Analysis 7, no. 20 (May 18, 2006), accessed July 5, 2012, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=31699.
34 American Foreign Policy Council, "Azerbaijan," World Almanac of Islamism (July 14, 2011), accessed July 16, 2012, http://almanac.afpc.org/Azerbaijan.
35 Arzu Geybullayeva, "Azerbaijan in the Shadow of the Hijab."
36 Arzu Geybullayeva, "Is Azerbaijan Becoming a Hub of Radical Islam?"
37 Mina Muradova, "Azerbaijan: Mosques Close in Baku, 'Capital of Islamic Culture,'" Eurasianet.org, May 26, 2009, accessed June 10, 2012, http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insightb/articles/eav052709b.shtml.
38 Arzu Geybullayeva, "Is Azerbaijan Becoming a Hub of Radical Islam?"
39 Alakbar Raufoglu, "Is Political Islam Growing in Azerbaijan?," Contact, October 18, 2011, accessed June 11, 2012, http://contact.az/docs/2011/Interview/101810685en.htm.
40 Shahla Sultanova, "For Baku, Islamic Terror As Scapegoat?," Transitions Online, June 20, 2012, accessed June 23, 2012, http://www.tol.org/client/article/23221-for-baku-islamic-terror-as-scapegoat.html.
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