Identities of Russian Muslims

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The use of multiple identities especially among the Muslim peoples has increasingly been the focus of various studies. Muslims of Russia had the opportunity of utilizing more layers of identity in different contexts. Russian Muslim émigré intellectuals in the Ottoman Empire switched between Muslim, Tatar, Turkish, and Ottoman identities conveniently. This paper argues that in the context of the Muslims of Russia, religious, ethnic, subethnic, and supraethnic layers of identity served the purpose of self-expression rather than causing political or ethnic rivalries. Halim Sabit, a Russian Muslim intellectual, built his career as a professor of Islamic jurisprudence in Istanbul in early twentieth century and published the İslam Mecmuası (Islam Magazine) from 1914-1918. By looking at Halim Sabit’s choices of utilizing his ethnic and subethnic identities in different contexts this paper demonstrates the persistence of multiple identities in a peaceful and constructive manner. The sources used for this paper include, alongside secondary material, contemporary published articles in the Ottoman Empire and in Russia, diaries, and the personal library of Halim Sabit.


Keywords: Multiple Identities, Islam, Russian Muslim, Ottoman
Stream: History, Historiography , Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Mustafa Gokcek

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Niagara University
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

Gokcek received his BA and MA degrees in International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara. He defended his PhD dissertation in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. His dissertation research is on the Kazan Tatar intellectual contributions to the late Ottoman debates on Islamism and nationalism. His research interests also include Turkish Islamic movements. He currently teaches courses on Middle Eastern and Russian history at Niagara University.

Ref: H08P0517