We have run many stories about Hizb-ut-Tahrir here at Jihad Watch. It is an international group that openly espouses Islamic teachings about jihad and dhimmitude in their fulness, while supposedly advocating non-violence. It is outlawed in many countries, but operates freely in others. It is growing in Central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan, which is touted by some as a bastion of Islamic moderation. That moderation is vulnerable because, as I have pointed out many times, jihadists have Islamic texts on their side and so can appeal to young Muslims as representing pure Islam.
“Radical Islamic Group Growing in Asia,” from AP, with thanks to Romy:
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – Abdullah Modmarov was in the middle of a soccer game when Uzbek police waving their rifles hauled him off the field and arrested the 33-year-old on charges of belonging to an outlawed radical Islamic party.
The crackdown on Hizb ut-Tahrir “” or Party of Liberation “” has swept through cities and villages across this former Soviet republic, filling prison cells with thousands of observant Muslims or political dissidents imprisoned under the guise of religious extremism. Some belong to the party. Many such as Modmarov say they do not.
Either way, the ban on the group that authorities see as a “farm team” for terrorist organizations like al-Qaida hasn’t stopped its expansion across volatile Central Asia, where it wants to overthrow secular governments and replace them by Islamic rule, but through nonviolent means. It is not on the U.S. list of terrorist organization because it eschews violence.
Yet Hizb ut-Tahrir followers as well as the group’s opponents, who were interviewed by The Associated Press in four Central Asian states, say the authorities’ heavy-handed approach to quash the movement has actually fueled membership in the group “” and accelerated a leap by many to embrace other Islamic groups that are even more militant than Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Yes, of course. This is a pattern that repeats itself in virtually every case. Jihadists point to the enormities of their opponents and claim: You drove us to it. We see it happening in Iraq and elsewhere. But they never address the expansionist and violent aspects of Islamic theology, or the fact that while their pretexts keep changing, their own actions remain the same: they never seem to be satisfied that their grievances have been redressed, and make peace. They just find another grievance.
Ibrahim Mirzajanov, a 21-year-old Uzbek who has spent more than three years in jail for religious activity, said he knows Muslims who used to promote the goal of an Islamic state through nonviolent means when they were with Hizb ut-Tahrir, but now have grown angry.
“The more there has been a crackdown, (the more) they have joined more violent militant groups because they want things to happen faster,” Mirzajanov told AP. “They are fed up with Hizb ut-Tahrir because they say they have not been able to change anything.”
Mirzajanov says he studied literature distributed by Hizb ut-Tahrir but never joined the movement.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, founded in 1953 in Jordan by Sheik Takuddin an-Nabahani shares the goal of creating a huge Islamic state with groups that are on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida.
Hizb ut-Tahrir sometimes meets with leaders of these groups, but the organization’s London-based spokesman, Dr. Imran Waheed, insisted, “We only talk and meet to try to convince them to our way of bringing about change, which is a nonviolent one.”
“I believe that 99 percent of Muslim people anywhere in the world want the same thing, a caliphate to rule them,” Waheed told AP in a telephone interview, adding that Central Asia is one of the most fertile recruiting grounds for Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been outlawed in all five newly independent Central Asian nations: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
But there’s plenty of fertile ground for extremism: corrupt authoritarian regimes rule over bankrupt economies; legions of disillusioned youths are unemployed; and ruined social systems are bereft of basic health and education services once provided by the former Soviet Union.
Hence the openness to Hizb ut-Tahrir, which does not advocate violence but distributes inflammatory and increasingly anti-Semitic literature “” seeding the ground for even more radical groups.
Read it all.