2 july 2015

Central Asia news

“Revolution foreboding” and mass detention of foreigners in Kyrgyz south

“Revolution foreboding” and mass detention of foreigners in Kyrgyz south

18.05.2015 09:40 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Religious life Kyrgyzstan

Over the last two weeks, the city of Osh in the south of Kyrgyzstan has been plagued by rumours about an imminent “revolution” or an “interethnic conflict.” Nobody knows who is disseminating them and what goals the initiators of this fear campaign are pursuing.

Pulat Ahunov: Headsprings of Uzbek autocracy

Pulat Ahunov: Headsprings of Uzbek autocracy

28.03.2015 22:09 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Russia Uzbekistan

Pulat Ahunov is an oppositionist from Uzbekistan, who is chairman of the Sweden-based Association Central Asia and the founder of the Foundation for Combatting Corruption in Uzbekistan. Mr. Ahunov shares his memories of meetings with Islam Karimov in late 1980s to mid-1990s.

Rashod Kamalov: A respected imam or “chief Islamist” in Kyrgyzstan?

Rashod Kamalov: A respected imam or “chief Islamist” in Kyrgyzstan?

13.02.2015 14:31 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Religious life Central Asia Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

Rashod Kamolov, a relatively young but very popular and respected imam, was arrested in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Mr. Kamolov is the son of a local influential theologian, who was assassinated by secret services during former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s term in office eight years ago. The current Kyrgyz authorities claim that they collected solid evidences that Mr. Rashod Kamalov recruited and sent people to participate in the civil war in Syria, by making such propaganda that allegedly made his parish think like “zombies.” Meanwhile, Mr. Kamalov’s lawyers maintain their client’s innocence and police actions’ illegality. It is difficult to make sense in this story, but one thing is certain: Law-enforcement and judicial bodies continue completely forgetting about human rights and respect for appropriate procedures in their chase for success in “combating extremism.”

The West and the modern “Islamisms”: Who is behind the conflict designing?

The West and the modern “Islamisms”: Who is behind the conflict designing?

04.02.2015 01:00 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Central Asia

We are continuing to discuss the question of Islam and Islamophobia—a discussion which began quite a long time ago, but which became louder following the cruel terrorist attack which took place in the centre of Paris. In an article written specially for Ferghana and which we are offering our readers here, the orientalist Bahodir Sidikov argues that Islamophobia is artificially encouraged by and in the West and that it is instrumentalized as a ‘bogey for domestic purposes’, as a stabilizer and catalyser of national development.

US military vehicles: Expensive gift for Uzbek President or non-disposable “garbage”?

US military vehicles: Expensive gift for Uzbek President or non-disposable “garbage”?

29.01.2015 17:51 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Interview Central Asia Afghanistan Uzbekistan

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum told the Voice of America that over 300 modern military machines would be granted to Uzbekistan in the next few months. According to the representative of the Department of State, Washington is certain that Uzbekistan is in need of these defensive armoured vehicles to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. “They are intended to protect personnel, crews and passengers in areas that there might be explosive devices, mines, so on,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Rosenblum says. He further clarifies that these particular vehicles “are not coming from Afghanistan” as was previously expected, but “are coming from other places.” Obviously the fact in question raises at least two questions: 1) How would these vehicles benefit (or harm) Uzbekistan and the region? 2) Does this fact mean that Washington is thus expressing its unequivocal support of Islam Karimov ahead of the presidential elections in March?

Is Central Asia afraid of ISIS?

Is Central Asia afraid of ISIS?

12.11.2014 17:57 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Interview Central Asia Afghanistan China Iran Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Pakistan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Turkey, Republic of Uzbekistan

Several weeks ago ISIS (also known as ISIL and Islamic State) forces reached Turkey’s borders, destroying all ‘infidels’ in their path, by which they mean both Christians and Muslims belonging to other branches of Islam. Support for ISIS has also extended beyond its region: Afghan and Pakistani members of the Taliban have already begun to swear allegiance to this new radical Islamist movement. Specialists in politics and international relations, regional specialists, politicians and informed observers were asked what they think about the subject.

Rabeya Kadeer: “The USSR’s fate awaits China”

Rabeya Kadeer: “The USSR’s fate awaits China”

09.11.2014 00:42 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Central Asia China Kazakhstan

The Xinjiang Autonomous Region (XUAR) has been unstable over the last several years: Some in the local Uighur population are unhappy with the way the Chinese authorities are handling the region and are demanding independence from Beijing. Armed clashes between the Uighur population of the region and the Chinese authorities often take place in XUAR. But who actually is behind all these terrorist acts? Could one be expecting a Hong Kong-style scenario in XUAR and Tibet? Rabeya Kadeer, the currently exiled leader of the Uighur opposition, spoke with a reporter of the Kazakh weekly magazine ADAM bol (Guljan Yergaliyeva, editor in chief) over the phone from Washington D.C., USA.

Few hundred Chinese, jihad and deserted square – entire village population

Few hundred Chinese, jihad and deserted square – entire village population

13.10.2014 13:40 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Central Asia Tajikistan

On 10 Oct 2014, a protest rally was planned in Dushanbe per announcements the leader of the oppositionist Gruppa 24 Umarali Kuvvatov made on social networks. The group’s plans included people taking to streets and waving “Tajikistan demands changes,” “Tajikistan without Rakhmon,” “Fair elections,” “Life with dignity” slogans.

Hendrick, Joshua: Gulen. The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

Hendrick, Joshua: Gulen. The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

14.09.2013 13:14 msk Books Religious life Central Asia Turkey, Republic of

Following the demise of the Ottoman Empire in 1925, the country that has emerged on its ashes—the modern Turkey—has chosen the republican form of governance. Mustafa “Ataturk” Kemal ruled with an iron hand for a little over a decade and worked hard to eradicate any form of monarchy in the country’s governance and its religious basis; those who shared Ataturk’s ideals followed suit. However, the political reforms and societal changes that occurred in the country following World War II have paved way for pluralism of not only political nature, but of religious as well. Professor Joshua Hendrick has spent a lengthy period of time to research into one of such societal phenomena—the Gulen Movement, which has a profound impact on the Turkish society’s life at so many different levels, and has eloquently told about it in his book entitled “Gulen. The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World.”

Catherine Fitzpatrick: Uzbek nation entitled to all rights as others, but not right to extremism

Catherine Fitzpatrick: Uzbek nation entitled to all rights as others, but not right to extremism

31.05.2013 00:26 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Migration Interview Central Asia Uzbekistan

The US-based independent expert on Eurasia and Russian translator Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick answered Fergana editor-in-chief's questions. The interview was on the recent arrest of another former Uzbek citizen in the United States, Fazliddin Kurbanov. The expert is certain that there were most serious justifications for Kurbanov's arrest and there can be no excuse for terrorism and extremism. Catherine also believes that the several isolated incidences of arrests of Uzbek nationals is not a reason to speak of trends at all.

Sait Nursi and Fethullah Gülen: Religious and educational activities between Turkey and Central Asia 20 years after the end of the USSR

Sait Nursi and Fethullah Gülen: Religious and educational activities between Turkey and Central Asia 20 years after the end of the USSR

27.01.2013 23:40 msk Analytics Religious life Central Asia

The so-called "Turkish schools" and lyceums came to Russia and CIS countries in early 1990s. Some of them were closed for various reasons and others continue thriving to date, having achieved fame and respect in the field of education. Fergana's editor in chief had a lengthy interview with the well-known researcher of Turkish Islamic groups, Mr. Bayram Balci, on the principles and ideas behind the movements inspired by Fethullah Gulen and Said Nursi. The interview also sheds light on the two-decade-long experience the schools gained in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan: Refugee Protestant arrested and could be extradited to Uzbekistan

Kazakhstan: Refugee Protestant arrested and could be extradited to Uzbekistan

14.09.2012 16:26 msk Religious life Kazakhstan

Makset Djabbarbergenov – a Protestant pastor wanted in his home country of Uzbekistan for "illegal" religious teaching and literature distribution – has been arrested by the authorities of Kazakhstan, where he sought refuge in 2007. He was detained after police held his sister-in-law for two weeks to find his whereabouts, family members told Forum 18 News Service. A court ordered on 7 September Djabbarbergenov be held in detention until Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office decides whether to send him back. "As a person I can say this is not right," Daniyar Zharykbasov of Almaty's Bostandyk District Prosecutor's Office told Forum 18. "But we have to follow the rules." In June the United Nations Committee Against Torture condemned Kazakhstan for sending back 28 Uzbek Muslim refugees and asylum seekers in 2011. They were arrested on their return and at least some received long prison terms.

The head of Kyrgyzstan's security services talks about the creation of the Islamic Movement of Kyrgyzstan

03.05.2011 18:26 msk Religious life Kyrgyzstan

Speaking last Friday, April 29, National Security State Service chief Keneshbek Dushebyaev said in an address to parliament that 400 citizens of Kyrgyzstan, mainly ethnic Uzbeks, are currently training in terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They went after the June events in southern Kyrgyzstan, said Dushebyaev, who described them as “separatists”.

Adeeb Khalid: To speak of “Islam” as a homogenous phenomenon is analogous to speaking of  “Christianity”  as a single whole

Adeeb Khalid: To speak of “Islam” as a homogenous phenomenon is analogous to speaking of “Christianity” as a single whole

05.03.2011 19:07 msk Religious life Central Asia

How do we explain the political motivations of Muslims? Today when so much of the news concerns conflicts based in and around Muslim societies, the temptation is great to simply see all the causes of those conflicts and all motivations of the actors involved as emanating from Islam itself. The motivations of Muslims are then seen as simply internally defined having no connection with the world that they are part of. Then we can safely proceed to the conclusion that all Muslims are alike because they all take their inspiration from the same scriptures, and they all represent a danger to “us.” This is the path taken by Mikhail Kalishevskii in his recent article on this site, and this is the argument of many commentators from the right (and not just the right) in Europe and North America. Simplification has its virtues, but does it help us understand a reality that is much more complex than such arguments make it seem? Can the actions of Muslims really understood only with reference to their religion? Can the most extreme expressions be taken as proof of the basic essence of global community? I raised some of these questions in my recent book, Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia (University of California Press, 2007), and present some of my arguments below.

Uzbekistan: The Church of Christ is suspended in Tashkent; eight members of it are brought to trial

20.05.2010 08:52 msk Religious life Uzbekistan

The Church of Christ is sealed in Tashkent while 8 of its workers and congregants were imposed charges or administrative arrest of 15 days. The reason of such actions became the statement of Tashkent resident that accused the Church workers of their illegal attempt to turn his 5-year son to Christianity.

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