We are witnessing the Critical Phase in Uzbekistan's fight against Islamic
It is remarkable that within 10 years after the
dissolution of the USSR and emergence in the Central Asian Republics
(CARs), the terrorist Islamist organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir HT could
use the initial liberalization to make disquieting strides in the
area, particularly in Uzbekistan.
Rebels surrender to
His Excellency President Karimov
who is America's ally in the War on Terror, has waged an intense and
relentless campaign against fundamentalist Muslims in Uzbekistan.
Since 2003, the HT has organized a series of demonstrations by women
in Andijan to protest against the continued detention of their
relatives by the local authorities and since February, 2005, it had
been organizing protests against the detention and trial of 23 Muslim
businessmen. It was this protest movement, which triggered off the
violent uprising of May 13, 2005.
Photo credits: US
There are two other organizations in Uzbekistan, which have come
to notice for their jihadi activities---the so-called Akramia group
to which a reference has already been made and the Hizb an-Nustra (
the Party of Victory ). Some Uzbek analysts describe them as
dissident groups of the HT, consisting of members who left the HT
because of its policy of not resorting to terrorism.
After independent Uzbekistan came into existence in 1991, the
authorities followed a liberal policy towards Islam. They permitted
the re-opening of many mosques, which had been closed down by the
Soviet Government before 1991, and the construction of new mosques
in Andijan and the local Muslims to go on pilgrimage to their holy
land in Saudi Arabia. There was a mushrooming of new mosques funded
by Saudi money. But after the emergence of the HT in 1995, the Uzbek
government fearful of an Islamist revolt reversed this policy.
Since 1998, the anger of the Muslims of the Fergana Valley has
been aggravated by the refusal of the authorities to give permission
for the construction of new mosques in Andijan. The authorities even
converted the main mosque in the town into an art museum and another
into a centre for the welfare of women and children.
In 1998, the Government of President Karimov passed a new law
requiring all existing mosques to re-register. Fresh registration was
refused to a large number of mosques. Out of about 2,200 mosques in
Andijan, only 42 were re-registered and the remaining were forced to
close down on the ground that they had been started unauthorizedly.
In Namangan, another town in the Fergana Valley, only 240 of the
1,000 mosques were re-registered and the remaining were forced to
When the Muslims started praying in the streets in response to the
call of the HT, the police arrested them and accused them of being
Wahabis. Abduvali Mirzoev, a prominent imam who was Andijan's best-
known Islamic leader, was arrested and allegedly sent to a labor
camp. The HT followers alleged that he had been illegally kidnapped
by the Uzbek security service while he was on his way to the airport
to catch a flight to Moscow. Since then, the HT has been observing
every year the anniversary of the day of his alleged abduction as a
day of protest in Andijan.
In a recent pamphlet, the HT said: "Sheikh Abduvali Qori made a
great contribution to the growth of Islam in Uzbekistan. Thanks to
God, the number of Muslims unbelievably increased in Uzbekistan due
to his efforts and lectures. He schooled a lot of students and
educated the people on the teachings of Islam. His vast Islamic
knowledge won him a reputation both at home and abroad as a great
Muslim scholar. The Government of Uzbekistan, which is fiercely
fighting against Islam, has become increasingly alarmed by this
situation and therefore attempted several plots against Sheikh
"One of the Government plots against the Sheikh Abduvali Qori
involved a terrible arson. As a result, his house and property were
completely destroyed. The people who witnessed this tragedy remember
that the Sheikh cried about his books, which he had collected all his
life and treasured a lot. It is a disgusting fact that Uzbekistan
Government exercises ransom, abduction and other kinds of terror
against Muslim scholars instead of honoring them. But, all of these
inhuman acts of terror failed to stop and prevent him from continuing
to educate the people on Islam.
"The incredibly increasing popularity of the Sheikh among the
extremists both at home and abroad indeed frightened President
Karimov and his entourage. After it failed to find a single reason to
arrest him, the Government resorted to abducting the Sheikh Abduvali
Qori. Afraid of causing unrest among the Muslims who loved the Sheikh
Abduvali Qori more than their own fathers, the Government used its
NSS (National Security Service) officers to commit this crime
"On August 29, 1995 the Government of Uzbekistan abducted the
Sheikh Abduvali Qori and his accompanying student, Ramazon
Matkarimov, in Tashkent Airport when they were boarding to fly to a
World Islamic Symposium that was to be held in Moscow. "
.The repression of the followers of the HT and the IMU intensified
after February 1999, when 16 people were killed in explosions in the
capital Tashkent for which the authorities blamed Islamic extremists.
Thousands of suspected members of these organisations were arrested.
They continue to be in detention without trial.
The only Madrasa in Andijan founded in 1990 by Adiljon-Haji
Abdusalamov, a fundamentalist religious leader, was ordered to be
closed down in 1998 as its management had violated laws relating to
public health. He was arrested and jailed for two years. Thereafter,
the Government has not permitted the opening of any school for
"The campaign against fanatical Muslims continues with the
blessing of the US Government – last year Uzbekistan received $500
million in US aid and in a May 14 document the US State Department
reported that Uzbekistan is making "substantial and continuing
progress" in meeting human rights and democracy commitments.
Excellency President Karimov who is America's ally in the War on
Terror,, has waged an intense and relentless campaign against
fundamentalist Muslims in Uzbekistan. Since 2003, the HT has
organised a series of demonstrations by women in Andijan to protest
against the continued detention of their relatives by the local
authorities and since February, 2005, it had been organizing protests
against the detention and trial of 23 Muslim businessmen. It was this
protest movement, which triggered off the violent uprising of May 13,
The HT keeps up a virulent campaign not only against the Uzbek
Government and the US, but also against the Jewish community and
Israel. It often refers to President Karimov as a Jewish stooge.
During the Second World War, more than 200,000 Jews escaped
extermination in West Europe by fleeing to Central Asia. Anti-
Semitism was not prevalent in the Central Asian Republics of the
After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Islamic
fundamentalism made its appearance in the region through Pakistani
organisations such as the Tablighi Jamaat, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
(HUM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and through the HT,
which came from the UK via Pakistan. This led to anti-Jewish feelings
on the one side and anti-Slav (anti-Christian and anti-Western)
feelings on the other. The Pakistani organisations spread the Wahabi
ideology, which led to the CARs becoming a hotbed of jihadi
extremist/terrorist activities in pursuit of the objective of an
The deterioration in the economic conditions consequent upon the
collapse of the USSR also led to inter-ethnic tensions amongst the
Muslims themselves. In 1989-1990 , there was a massacre of
Meskhetin Turks in the Fergana Valley area of Uzbekistan. There
were frequent instances of anti-Armenian and anti-Jewish violence in
Andijan and there were violent clashes between Uzbeks and Kirghiz in
the Osh region,
As a result of these developments, there was a decrease in the
Jewish population from about 150,000 in 1989 to about 22,000, of whom
about 12,000 were in Uzbekistan, 8,000 in Kazakhstan, 1,500 in
Kyrgyzstan and the remaining 500 in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
It is in response to these destabilizing forces, that President
Karimov launched a hard fisted Uzbek War on Terror. The present
rebellion is trying to undo the initiative taken by the President and
take Uzbekistan into a medieval Islamic Caliphate.
Story Credits: Saag
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