Interview with a Hizbi

by Nathan Hamm on 8/16/2004 · 1 comment

From an interview with an Hizb ut-Tahrir leader in the UK:

MA: Why is HT strong in Central Asia?

JP: You have to look at it from two perspectives, namely the history of the peoples and the call of the party. Regarding the history of the peoples we find that the Soviet Union brutally suppressed Islam for many decades. As a result of that brutal suppression Islam became a hidden religion. Following the demise of the Soviet Union there was a genuine and sincere resurgence of Islam. HT began to address these societies and educate their masses in the ideology of political Islam.

MA: This is perplexing since there are local alternatives to HT. For instance there is a robust national/Islamic movement in Tajikistan. In the same vein the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a local rival to HT. Moreover for a people who have recently been freed from the shackles of a super state it would seem odd to long for joining another super state, albeit an Islamic one.

JP: But the Khilafah state will reflect the beliefs of the people. This is the key difference insofar as the Soviet Union did not reflect the beliefs and culture of the people. On the contrary it represented values that were wholly alien to Muslims.

MA: So you think there is a genuine yearning for the politics of pan-Islam in Central Asia?

JP: There is a genuine yearning for the establishment of the Khilafah state and the Islamic system amongst Muslims all over the world. The Muslims of Central Asia are not an exception to this.

MA: Do you think the Central Asian governments are making inroads in their disinformation and propaganda campaigns against HT and discrediting it in the process?

JP: They have been conducting far more than just a disinformation campaign! When Karimov said that he will fight ideology with ideology and thought with thought, he actually meant boiling some of our members alive and punishing them with the most barbaric of punishments. However this brutal strategy—which Karmiov is taking to extremes—has been the mainstay of the Arab regimes for many decades and hitherto it has failed to discredit or diminish the party.

Color me unconvinced. I think that membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir in Central Asia has little to do with dreams of the Caliphate.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

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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{ 1 comment }

Alisher August 17, 2004 at 12:32 pm

HT doesnt in anyway reflect the dreams and yearnings of central Asian people. In Central Asia, generally only Uzbeks have a more or less wide-spread influence of Islam in their lives. For others Islam has never been a decisive factor. And even for Uzbeks, it is more of a tradition, a cultural value than religion…Uzbek mentality is quite secular. It is HT and the like who ‘export’ their vision of Islam, which has nothing to do with the local way of life.
Besides, I still wonder how they found out what the Muslims all over the world want, did they carry out any public opinion polls or surveys?..

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