by Nathan Hamm on 8/11/2004 · 6 comments

How Human Rights Watch characterizes Hizb ut-Tahrir:

…Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), whose teachings in favor of an Islamic state the government finds seditious. Despite the Uzbekistan government’s assertion that these prosecutions are a response to terrorism, in the vast majority of cases researched by Human Rights Watch, those imprisoned were not charged with terrorism or even with committing any act of violence. In essence, Uzbekistan has criminalized legitimate religious practice and belief in a way that casts individuals’ exercise of their rights to freedom of conscience, expression, and association as attempts to overthrow the government. In its reports to the CTC, it is characterizing instruments of gross and widespread abuse of human rights as a legitimate counter-terrorist response. [emphasis mine]


Conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state.

Hizb ut-Tahrir’s work, in its own words:

The political struggle also appears in challenging the rulers, revealing their treasons and conspiracies against the Ummah, and by taking them to task and changing them if they denied the rights of the Ummah, or refrained from performing their duties towards her, or ignored any matter of her affairs, or violated the laws of Islam.

Aside from the whole question of whether or not the Uzbek state has the right to fight sedition (even if it’s tied to religion), who do you think is portraying Hizb ut-Tahrir more accurately?

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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praktike August 11, 2004 at 4:42 pm

Lek, Lek, Lek.

The bottom line is that people who have grievances against the government should be permitted to express them. Permitting an alternative avenue such as Lek would be a wise move and might cut the rug out from under HT.

Nathan August 11, 2004 at 5:00 pm

Erk? Couldn’t find anything on Lek.

There does need to be an alternative and there does need to be freedom of religion, but HRW needs to face up to the fact that HT is seditious. They’re hiding that the organization is more than just a religious one.

Alisher August 12, 2004 at 6:08 am

HT is not only seditious, but it also terroristic. Even if we admit that it doesn’t carry out direct terroristic attacks, it seams to function as a complementary ideological wing of active terroristic organisations like Al Qaeda, IMU, Hizbullah, by preparing new generations of would-be terrorists.

I agree with your idea about alternative avenue for expressing grievances, even though I will never vote for Erk in its present condition, because I am against their pan-Turkic tendencies. And besides, I guess they seriously lack in qualified membership. I am ready to accept that, maybe, majority of Erk members are well-intentioned good guys, but I don’t think they are qualified enough to run a country. They had all these years they were abroad to sit down together and work out a well-defined political and economic program, but I see nothing of it.
I don’t know if they employ someone who works on their public image, but once when I visited their Uzbek site, I was disgusted with the Uzbek they use, which was in fact a mixture of modern Uzbek, Century-old old Uzbek and Turkish.

Laurence August 12, 2004 at 8:49 am

And what about Birlik? It seems to be in favor, at least in certain Washington circles, judging from Pulatov’s CSCE testimony. Do Argus readers think Birlik is a credible opposition party?

Laurence August 12, 2004 at 8:53 am

Nathan, this quote from your website link seems relevant, somehow, to the question as to whether the issue has to do with what Westerners think of as religious, at all:

“So all the work of the Party is political, whether it is in office or not. Its work is not educational, as it is not a school, nor is its work concerned with giving sermons and preaching. Rather its work is political, in which the thoughts and laws of Islam are presented in order to act upon them and to carry them so as to establish them in life’s affairs and in the State.”

praktike August 12, 2004 at 10:10 am

sorry, I meant erk

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