Religion and ethnicity are inextricably linked in discourse within and about Central Asia. One common narrative suggests that as a result of differences between historically sedentary and nomadic populations, ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks are naturally more religious and more likely to radicalise than their Kazakh and Kyrgyz neighbours. Using extensive data available from the Pew Research Center’s 2012 The World’s Muslims survey, this study examines whether such claims stand up to empirical scrutiny. The data cast doubt on simplified versions of this discourse and suggest that future analyses should focus attention on individual-level explanations rather than potentially essentializing group-based narratives.
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