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CSTO Adds Islamic Groups To Extremist List

PRAGUE -- The Russian-dominated military bloc the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has agreed to include the Nurchilar and Salafiylar Islamic religious sects on its list of extremist organizations as requested by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

CSTO spokesman Vitaly Strugovets told RFE/RL that the blacklist of terrorist organizations -- which includes Al-Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and several other notorious groups -- was increased to 26.

The new additions are highly controversial as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were able to put groups regarded as peaceful but which are outside state control under the threat of persecution.

Human rights groups say Uzbekistan has jailed at least 30 followers of the Turkish theologist Said Nursi since last year, while Kazakhstan has forced hundreds of nontraditional Islamic believers into exile.