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Journal of Religion and Violence

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2013

Kjersti Hellesøy
Pages 21-37

Civil War and the Radicalization of Islam in Chechnya

In this article I will focus on the recent developments in Islam in Chechnya in terms of the question, “How do we understand the radicalization of Islam in Chechnya in terms of the conflicts in the 1990s?” As a way of sorting this out, I will be making reference to Monica Duffy Toft’s discussion of the conditions that increase the probability of a civil war becoming a religious war, and her analysis of the role religion can play in such conflicts. There are elements of her analysis that I do not use, and in the latter part of this article I will argue that one component of her approach – namely her essentialization of religion and its connection with violence – is misconceived.

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