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Kyrgyz Police Raid Suspected Islamist Extremists --> (RFE/RL) 14 February 2006 -- Kyrgyzstan's Interior Ministry today said that Kyrgyz police have detained two men suspected of having ties to Islamist extremists in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The ministry says police seized explosives during both arrests. The first arrest happened on 7 February and the second on 13 February.

Both detainees are suspected of having links to the banned Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist party that seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate, or independent state.

Central Asian and Russian authorities have banned the group as an extremist organization and have detained thousands of suspected members in recent years.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is also banned throughout the Middle East and in some European countries. Britain is the most recent country to ban the group.


Uzbekistan's Ambassador To Tajikistan

SHOQOSIM SHOISLOMOV, Uzbek ambassador to Tajikistan, spoke with RFE/RL Uzbek Service correspondent Habibullo Botirov on 14 December in the Tajik capital Dushanbe at a conference called the Forum For The Prevention Of Conflicts In Central Asia.

RFE/RL: Mr. Ambassador, at the opening session of this forum, you gave a speech and said that international organizations do not know the region of Central Asia very well and they often make wrong assessments of events in the region. What can you add to that statement?

Shoislomov: Yes, it is true that the region has many problems. But unfortunately, most employees of international organizations have never lived here. They don't know our life, our traditions, and customs. They don't have a deep knowledge [of the region]. Therefore, in their [reports], they portrait us as underdeveloped and backward. [Although], we can teach them 10 times more than they can teach us. There is such a thing as competency. They lack competency. These shallow opinions of theirs get reflected in some documents. They stigmatize us. Of course, we can never accept the stigma. One should think before putting opinions on paper.

The Central Asian states have 1,000 years of history. We face the hardest task in the war against religious extremism. When [the West] says it fights against religious extremism, they mean Islam. They try to portray our religion, Islam, from an absolutely different perspective in the world. In their opinion, Islam is an extremist religion. They try to say that it is a religion that goes against the West, against the whole world. Unfortunately, people in Western countries may accept these cliche.

RFE/RL: Erbol Shaimardanov, adviser to Kazakhstan’s foreign minister, and some other participants said in their opening statements that Hizb ut-Tahrir has been included in the list of terrorist organizations. However, the organization can operate freely in some countries. How would you comment on this?

Shoislomov: It’s a very correct question. If you want to fight against religious extremism, you should start with Hizb ut-Tahrir. But look at England itself. This summer it became a target of terrorist attacks. Hizb ut-Tahrir has its headquarter in London. [The British government] has given complete freedom to them. How can you understand it? We [the Uzbek government] has offered to everybody to fight against Hizb ut-Tahrir. As you see, many states have made a correct assessment of Hizb ut-Tahrir. But there are some governments, which consider themselves democratic, who gave complete freedom to Hizb ut-Tahrir. How can we treat an organization that comes from those countries and plot terrorist attacks on our territory? It’s difficult to understand this. And they try to blame us for something.

See also:

Hizb Ut-Tahrir Challenges U.K. Government’s Proposed Ban With Offer Of Dialogue

Uzbek Ties With Kyrgyzstan Worsen Amid 'Terror' Accusations

Uzbek Security Service Steps Up Work In Neighboring Countries