20 july 2018

Central Asia news

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. Central Asia’s Self-Defeating Anti-Terrorism Efforts

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. Central Asia’s Self-Defeating Anti-Terrorism Efforts

31.01.2018 17:59 msk Analytics Business Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

While strengthening border security can help prevent the Afghan conflict from spilling over into Central Asia, sustainable solutions to the out-of-control domestic radicalization processes in the region are much harder to find. And it is precisely here that Central Asia’s anti-terrorist measures are often counterproductive. In fact, the region’s political and economic makeup is further conducive to the rise of domestic extremism.

Who are considered extremist in Kazakhstan

Who are considered extremist in Kazakhstan

19.01.2018 17:24 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Kazakhstan

In 2017, from Kazakhstan, there was little news about outbursts of extremist or terrorist activity. Data on the number of people who were charged and imprisoned for committing crimes "against the peace and security of mankind" (under this heading all "extremist" and "terrorist" charges are grouped in the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan), is not yet available.

The ISIS project is more than a sect. Fergana News interviews the expert on the dangers of the caliphate for Russia and Central Asia

The ISIS project is more than a sect. Fergana News interviews the expert on the dangers of the caliphate for Russia and Central Asia

04.01.2018 16:22 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Interview Central Asia Afghanistan

One of the main issues on the world agenda of the outgoing year is the fight against the terrorist threat. The success of the international forces in countering the so-called "Islamic State" (the banned terrorist organisation "the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant", ISIL, IS, ISIS in English, or "Daesh" in Arabic) in Syria can be considered only a local and intermediate victory in this struggle. How serious are the concerns about the redeployment of IS forces to Afghanistan and the establishment of a new stronghold of the caliphate there, what threats to Russia and the countries of Central Asia are real, and what are - imaginary, how not to turn the fight against terrorism into witch-hunt - Fergana News has asked these and other questions from expert of the Centre for the Study of Modern Afghanistan, the head of the Analytical Group "Accents", political scientist Andrei Serenko.

20 dollars caliphate. How militants recruit children and youth in northern Afghanistan

20 dollars caliphate. How militants recruit children and youth in northern Afghanistan

13.12.2017 09:44 msk Analytics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

There are numerous reports from the northern provinces of Afghanistan about the arrival of well-equipped militants, who do not hide their belonging to the IS terrorist group (the banned terrorist organisation "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant", ISIL, ISIS or IS Eng., "Daesh" Arab.) The Fergana News correspondent talked with residents, authorities, and learned the details of what is happening in the provinces of Balkh, Jowzjan and Faryab.

Headscarf as symbol of faith in Kazakhstan

Headscarf as symbol of faith in Kazakhstan

29.11.2017 13:29 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Kazakhstan

In Western Kazakhstan, religious parents are suing the Ministry of Education: their daughters are not allowed to attend schools because they wear headscarves. Officials, representing a secular state, admit the possibility of a cross-claim - the failure to comply with parental responsibilities. Why is it important at all, do the girls wear headscarves in school or not, and what do parents and teachers think - Fergana News tells.

Who is helping IS strengthen its position in northern Afghanistan?

Who is helping IS strengthen its position in northern Afghanistan?

14.11.2017 23:49 msk Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

In the northern provinces of Afghanistan—Sar-e Pul and Balkh—the positions of the militants of the so-called "Islamic State" are visibly strengthened. Muhammad Zahir Wahdat, the governor of the Sar-e Pul province, told a Fergana News correspondent that Daesh is trying to expand its presence in all districts of the province. The governor also asserted that there are districts in which the administration is the official power during the daytime, but nightfall brings the authority of Daesh. According to the official, local ethnic Turkmen and Uzbeks are now actively replenishing the ranks of the group. Active recruitment is being carried out, mainly in the districts of Kush Tapa and Sayad. According to the governor, the province administration has repeatedly informed NATO in northern Afghanistan and the central government of the country, but the centre does not provide sufficient assistance.

NYC Halloween terror attack suspect’s relatives express shock, disbelief

NYC Halloween terror attack suspect’s relatives express shock, disbelief

07.11.2017 18:38 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Uzbekistan

"We are shocked. It’s a real nightmare. We cannot understand why he did it."
Ferghana News journalists and their Moscow colleagues visited the area near the Tashkent house of the parents of Sayfullo Saipov, the terror suspect in the Halloween attack in the United States. Saipov’s school headmaster, market sellers, director, and a policeman were all unwilling to talk about their former neighbour, and to discuss his terrible act. "A good boy, polite, brought my children to a music school. No beard, no religious conversations." "His leg was pulled in America, such people do not hurt other people, they do not kill people. Very sorry for him," they said.

What do we know about alleged NYC Halloween terrorist Sayfullo Saipov

What do we know about alleged NYC Halloween terrorist Sayfullo Saipov

02.11.2017 21:27 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Migration Uzbekistan

On 31 October, a terrorist attack ruined Halloween in New York. A 29-year-old man at the wheel of a rented truck drove at high speed onto a bike path running along the Hudson River, driving several blocks while crushing random passers-by and bicyclists. Then the pickup truck crashed into a school bus transporting children with disabilities, injuring several bus passengers. The culprit, with cries of "Allahu Akbar!", jumped from the truck, holding a paintball gun and a pellet gun in his hands. Arriving at the scene, police opened fire on him, wounding him in the abdomen. The suspect was hospitalised, underwent an operation, and afterwards interrogated. In all, eight were killed and 15 injured as a result of the terrorist attack.

Opium for the President: Religion and Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming elections

Opium for the President: Religion and Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming elections

04.10.2017 08:12 msk Politics Religious life Kyrgyzstan

Religion has traditionally been a delicate topic for Kyrgyzstan. Even though the overwhelming majority of the Republic’s population identifies as Muslim, no presidential candidate has been in any hurry to touch upon the topic of religion in their election manifestos. Is the political elite ignoring the burning questions and challenges posed by the rise of religious extremism in Central Asia today?

Four years for journalist who opposes Islam in Kyrgyzstan

Four years for journalist who opposes Islam in Kyrgyzstan

13.09.2017 16:31 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Kyrgyzstan

On 12 September, the District Court in Bishkek sentenced journalist Zulpukar Sapanov to four years in prison finding him guilty of "inciting inter-religious hostility". Sapanov wrote and published the "Kydyr sanjyrasy" (literal translation - "Genealogy of the forefather Kydyr") book in which the author merely noted that once in the ancient times the Kyrgyz were not Muslims.

Kazakhstan trials the Orthodox priest

Kazakhstan trials the Orthodox priest

15.08.2017 23:28 msk Human Rights Religious life Kazakhstan Russia

For the first time, the priest of the Orthodox parish is in the court charged with the violation of the law “On Religious Activities and Religious Associations.” In the village of Merke (Zhambyl region of Kazakhstan) on 14 August, Vladimir Vorontsov, the rector of the parish of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God Church, stood the first trial. An anonymous tip-off reported police that he, along with children from the Orthodox group of the weekend (Sunday school) and several parents conducted prayer meetings in the mountains.

‘Our authorities never mistake?’ Practice of protection of persons accused of extremism

‘Our authorities never mistake?’ Practice of protection of persons accused of extremism

01.06.2017 12:31 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Religious life Kyrgyzstan

For the past seven years, the number of convicts for extremism and terrorism in Kyrgyzstan has tripled. In 2009, according to the State Penitentiary Service (SSC), 51 people were convicted for such crimes, whereas today 185 people including 7 women are serving their sentences. Among this category of prisoners 22 people are accused of fighting in Syria, 97 - membership in Hizb-ut-Tahrir, 84 - committed their crimes for the first time. 38 people are kept in high security prisons. Who are these persons? How did they end up in the dock?

Russia, Central Asia, migrants. Where and how extremism threatens?

Russia, Central Asia, migrants. Where and how extremism threatens?

25.05.2017 12:54 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Migration Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

The recent terror act in the St. Petersburg metro on 3 April, in the organisation of which Russian special services suspect people from Central Asia, exacerbated issues related to migration processes from the countries of this region to Russia. Last week in Moscow, the Sakharov Center jointly with the Yegor Gaidar Foundation organised a discussion during which experts discussed whether there is any ground to say that it is among the migrants that recruitment of terrorists takes place, and if so, what causes migrants to join the ranks of radical Islamists, what role is played by large-scale corruption, typical of most Central Asian countries, and whether it is possible to oppose it.

Uzbekistan: Activists pay tribute to Andijan massacre victims in Tashkent

Uzbekistan: Activists pay tribute to Andijan massacre victims in Tashkent

15.05.2017 16:58 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Religious life Uzbekistan

Activists of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (PAU) held a traditional action in the centre of Tashkent at the foot of the ‘Courage’ monument on 13 May to commemorate the hundreds of peaceful Andijan residents, who died during the shooting of the rally 12 years ago. To the surprise of the participants, this time the event passed without any interference by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Service (SNB).

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

10.05.2017 21:23 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Russia Tajikistan

The anti-government forces took control of the Qalay-I-Zal district of the Afghan province of Kunduz, located on the border with Tajikistan, world media reported on 7 May. Heavy battles that began shortly after the Taliban had announced the ‘spring offensive’ are going on in the Zebak district, as well as in the vicinity of the city of Kunduz, which may soon again be in the hands of the armed opposition. As we have already reported, a state of emergency had been declared in the Ishkashim district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of the Republic of Tajikistan bordering with fighting scenes across the Panj River. Local residents are alarmed and frightened by the fact that Afghan militants have come close to the Tajik border. Moreover, it is not entirely clear who they are and what their goals are. According to the ‘Fergana’ source in one of the international organisations, among the militants fighting ‘beyond the river’ are also refugees from Tajikistan, who moved there because of persecution by the authorities. A number is known too: they can make from 200 up to 250 people.

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