Join us on January 30, 2017 for our first Middle East Studies Forum seminar for the year on The Securitisation of ‘non-traditional religious movements’ in Azerbaijan with Florida International University’s Galib Bashirov. The event will take place from 12:30pm – 2:00pm in Building BC at Deakin University’s Burwood campus. As it is a lunchtime seminar, please RSVP to for catering purposes by January 25, 2017.


Islam has been a highly controversial subject in post-Soviet Muslim nations since their independence from the Soviet Union. In Azerbaijan, notably, the arrival, and subsequent expansion, of various Islamic groups and movements has produced much controversy. This article captures the dynamics of discursive struggle between the state and these new religious movements to map out the major discourses. After providing a background on Islam in Azerbaijan, I explain, through Laclau and Mouffe’s Discourse theory, how these unwelcomed religious movements were hailed into a recently produced uniform category – ‘Non-traditional Religious Movements’. Later, I detail how this category was established, through various discursive practices, as threats to national security and national identity. After outlining the alternative discourses produced by these movements to challenge the authority of the state, I demonstrate how a hegemonic intervention by the state established securitisation of the NTRMs as the dominant discourse in Azerbaijan.


Galib Bashirov is an advanced PhD Candidate in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University. Galib completed his undergraduate study at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in international relations. Galib’s research focuses on the US foreign policy in Central Asia, and state-society relations in Central Asia and Turkey. His dissertation explores the dynamics of US foreign policy toward Azerbaijan. A recent paper of his analyzes securitisation of Islamic movements in Azerbaijan. Galib has been an instructor at FIU since 2014. He has taught various undergraduate courses on security studies, foreign policy and international political economy.

View the flyer here.

Image attribution: Flickr user Wilth