'ALLAH FORGIVES, THE SPIRITS OF THE ANCESTORS NEVER FORGIVE'. MUSLIM RELIGIOUS GROUPS IN KAZAKHSTAN
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A few dozen years after Marxist-Leninist atheism in the form of 'political religion', Islam has got a new place in the social space, considered to be an element of the 'national heritage'. Completely new phenomena and processes observed in a Muslim community, help make a claim about a new stage of islamization in Kazakhstan. The process of re-islamization assumes different forms, expressed, e.g. by the activity of the groups led by charismatic leaders, as in the case of the religious movement called 'Ak Jol' (White Road). Ak Jol is a sort of hierarchical 'corporation' where all the members perform specific functions (that of shaman, clairvoyant, blessing giver). The integrative role of the group is very important - while systematically organizing the 'shiraq' ritual (the people who gather are healed and blessed by ancestors' spirits) and pilgrimages to the holy places, it acquires new members and strengthens the ties between the permanent members of the group who identify themselves as Ak Jolists, which emphasizes the supraethnic character of the group. The charismatic leaders of Ak Jol stress the Muslim character of the group, which, however, is open to the representatives of other religions (mainly Christians) and nationalities other than Kazakh. The ritual practice (including healing) reflects the process of synthesis between the Islamic tradition and non-Islamic tradition of the region.
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