Communists and Muslims: The Years of Alliance

Twentieth Century Communism - ISSN 1758-6437
Volume 2013 Number 5

Communists and Muslims: The Years of Alliance
Ben Fowkes, Bulent Gokay pages -


The contradictory nature of the Muslim-Communist alliance of the 1920s has often been stressed and many authors claim the two systems of belief were fundamentally incompatible. There was always a strong faction of militant atheists in the communist camp; and on the Muslim side there were many people who rejected anything that cast doubt on the teachings of Islam, and more generally anything that undermined their traditional institutions and way of life. This incompatibility, or this tension between contrasting views of the world, always put a great degree of strain on the alliance, and there have been periods when alliance was replaced by mutual hostility. This was particularly true at the height of the Stalin era. But we should not underestimate the points of contact between the two systems of ideas. Neither Islam nor Communism can be seen as fixed and unchanging entities. Both have meant different things at different times. Despite all these deep differences and hostility, wherever in the Muslim world there has been resistance to oppression, communist groups and parties have tried to form alliances with the more dominant religious factions, sometimes successfully, and fought side by side with them, where they have been allowed to do so.

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To cite this article
Ben Fowkes, Bulent Gokay (2013) Communists and Muslims: The Years of Alliance, Twentieth Century Communism, 2013(5), -

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