The North Caucasus in Modern Times: Traditions vs. Shari'a Law

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Gellner Room
Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 1:30pm
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Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm

The Center for Religious Studies cordially invites you to a lecture by


Irina Molodikova

The North Caucasus in Modern Times:
Tradition Verses Sharia Law

Thursday, June 5, 2014
13:30 pm

CEU, Nador 13
Room 001


Abstract: The North Caucasus region may be one of the most serious conflict zones in Europe in modern times and one of the few regions in Europe where the indigenous Muslim population totals over seven million. The dissolution of the USSR and then the adoption of the Russian Laws On Confessional Freedom (1991) and On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations (1997) all played a part in broadening the opportunity for the restoration of religious practices, especially Islam, and sparked a renaissance in the restoration of Islamic family law, which had been forbidden during the Soviet era.

Polygamy returns to Russia (even though it’s technically illegal) with ten percent of all Muslims in Russia in a polygamous marriage, according to Ministry of Regional Development. Further, restoration of ‘kalim’ (payment for the bride) and its heavy financial burden has lead to a sharp revival in bride abduction. In the post-Soviet period, this custom has become integrated into the marriage rituals of the region, even though ‘kalim’ and ‘abduction’ remain officially forbidden. Divorce cases in the North Caucasus have also become a complicated mix of Shari and civil regulations, also affected by regional traditions that sometimes act both in accord and in discord to regulations, leading way to hybrid practices.

This lecture presents the results of published field studies conducted by researchers in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Karachai-Cherkessia, and Kabardino-Balkaria on the influence of this renaissance of Islam traditions.

Dr. Irina Molodikova received her PhD from Moscow State University’s Department of Social Geography in Russia and the MAS European University Center for Peace and Conflict Studies in Austria. She is a researcher with the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at CEU. Since 2007, she has worked as a conflict resolution trainer in multiethnic communities and as a supervisor of the Open Society Foundation’s North Caucasus Initiative. Molodikova is the author of the report ‘”Children in risk in the North Caucasus,” OSI Budapest (2008), a text book for teachers in the republics of the North Caucasus entitled “35 Class Hours” (2012) and new book (with Alan Watt) “Growing Up in the North Caucasus: Society, Family, Religion and Education” published in (Routledge, 2013).