The Spiritual Industry of Central Asian Migrants in Moscow

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Anna Cieślewska
Zuzanna Blajet


In this article we look at how Islamic religious services delivered by migrants from Central Asia adjust to new conditions in Moscow. We focus on the activity of establishing a particular locality for a religious practice in the context of the transfer of spirituality by migrants. The new space in which migrants function creates conditions for delocalization of their religious life and imaginaries, which makes them belong to multiple spiritual spaces. Many spiritual practices delivered by Central Asian spiritual leaders go beyond the migrant circle, entering the local market of spiritual services. They adjust to the local conditions, simultaneously influencing the religious industry of Moscow.
This article analyses how spiritual products are being ordered, who the clients of spiritual professionals from Central Asia are, and how new places of spiritual industry, where rituals and healing practices take place, emerge. We consider these places to be not only physical spaces, but also ones in which new qualities are being created that combine elements of various interpretations of spirituality. Some forms of spirituality that migrants consider as their traditional practices are intermingled with new and previously unknown elements. In this sense, the local is merging with the global, creating new quality. We argue that through reinterpretation of local realities migrants and their spiritual leaders reconstruct their traditions and practices in order to be able to deliver spiritual services in Moscow for migrant clients, other Muslims, and non-Muslims.

Article in English

DOI: 10.25285/2078-1938-2020-12-1-106-126


Spiritual Industry, Migration, Islam, Ruqiya, Talismans

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