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Posts Tagged ‘uzbekistan’

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 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 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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