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Democracy, whiskey, Uzbeki?

Posted by Richard on May 14, 2005

Gateway Pundit is your one-stop source for all the news from Uzbekistan. Start with this Friday post. Then this one. Here’s the latest from Saturday. Links galore to sources ranging from the BBC and VOA to Russia’s RIA Novosti and Israel’s Haaretz.

Gateway Pundit recommends checking in with Registan.net for expert analysis and reports from contacts on the ground. Not to mention a plethora of additional links.

The big question, it seems to me, is whether this is primarily a democracy/freedom movement, as in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, or radical Islamism, as President Karimov claims:

TASHKENT, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – The president of Uzbekistan said fierce clashes in Andizhan, a large city in eastern Uzbekistan, had been orchestrated by Hizb ut Tahrir (the Islamic Liberation Party that has branches in many countries). "Those who seized the administration building in Andizhan are members of Hizb ut Tahrir’s local branch, Akramia," president Islam Karimov told a news conference in Tashkent. Karimov said he had held talks with the man leading the group that had seized the administration building, who had declined to give his name.

Muslim Uzbekistan has an interesting Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty article which quotes some Uzbeki human rights activists to the contrary:

Talib Yoqubov, chairman of the independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan, says he believes there is no Akramiya activity in Uzbekistan. Yoqubov told RFE/RL that authorities use charges of Islamic extremism as a pretext for cracking down on dissent.

“They [authorities] made up Akramiya. There is nothing like Akramiya in Uzbekistan now. Several years ago, they spoke of Wahhabi. Then they started talking about Hizb ut-Tahrir. [Membership in] Jamoati Tabligh [another Islamist group] became another accusation under which they imprisoned many people. Now it is Akramiya. I am sure after a while, [the authorities] will come up with some new name. This is the process we witness in Uzbekistan,” Yoqubov said.
… 
However, some rights activists say the Andijan cases may not be only politically but also economically motivated. Uzbek human rights activist Shamsiddinov says the 23 defendants — all wealthy entrepreneurs — established a foundation that was involved in charitable activities. He says the foundation’s assets are the real reason for persecution of its members.

“It’s wrong to name the 23 accused men as extremists and Akramiya members," he said. "They are just a group of entrepreneurs because only few of them are devout Muslims praying and following their faith. …

Nathan at Registan.net suggests caution:

This Forum 18 article gives reason to believe that there isn’t a connection between Akramiya and HT. But, each side definitely has a strong stake in what they are saying, so I advise skepticism of claims from either side.

Hizb ut-Tahrir denies the connection as they usually do. Though I believe that the nature of the unrest is sufficiently economic as to make it almost pointless to talk about what Islamic group is to blame, it’s important to remember that because of the way HT operates, there’s no way that London would know either way if an Uzbek cell was to blame.

One thing’s for sure — the world’s been changing fast since 9/11/01.

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2 Responses to “Democracy, whiskey, Uzbeki?”

  1. Muhammad said

    What is happening in Uzbekistan resembles the activities of Soviet Union in ealry 20th century, where repressions were on the verge. That time there were no human rights activists and US as promoter of democracy. But what is similar is wide-scale persecution of Muslims by local officials. If a person is a pious Muslim, he obviously will not describe the going on things as Islamic even though President’s name is Islam (Karimov).

    Paradoxically, the corrupt, repressive and anachronistic regime chasing Islam into undergorund is called by officials as “democratic”, which is not.

    Here, I think Ummah should understand that this is not democracy and there is no need for replacing this form of ruling (democracy)by Islamic Khilafah. Khilafah’s era is gone.

    Allah’s word can be put forward by the State which has concent and accountability in front of its people. People are making State, not State shaping its people, like it takes place in Uzbekistan. Officials are still Communists, who are afraid of Islam’s role in society. They cannot understand that rich or pious people are not menace to society – to contrary, they are becoming the society itself, the big money should be EARNED, not extorted by narrow circle of officials, like it takes place in Uzbekistan.

    Uzbekistan is an awful place to live, where life deteriorates day by day. There is no West or America to help it. Uzbeks should help themselves. Uzbek democracy is still possible, but violent power oriented criminal clans (Ferghana, Samarkand and Tashkent clans) should be once and for ages removed from governing, because they misgovern the society and may sacrifice the society’s interests in the favour of their own. That is the problem within Uzbek political system. It is illogical and self-ruining.

  2. Anonymous said

    Belated thanks for your perspective, Muhammad. And best wishes for a more free and just political system in the future.

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