UZBEK ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS IN THE CIVIL WARS OF TAJIKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, AND PAKISTAN: FROM RADICAL ISLAMIC AWAKENING IN THE FERGHANA VALLEY TO TERRORISM WITH ISLAMIC VOCABULARY IN WAZIRISTAN

Michael Fredholm (Stockholm University) analyzes the activities of Uzbek Islamic extremists and finds that, although their Islamic rhetoric has little theological content and is outweighed by their belief in the righteousness of their cause and that salvation can be assured by armed violence in the name of the religious duty of holy war (jihad), they have indirectly contributed to the rise of authoritarianism in the new states of Central Asia. In responding to terrorism, governments in the region bolstered their security services and enacted harsher legislation. The persistence and expansion of these extremist groups over the past two decades, their significant roles in civil conflicts, and their destabilization of fragile states appear to set the course for the foreseeable future in the region, in which coincidentally the Russian Orthodox Church has also become much more active in the same period.
Based on a paper presented at the VIII World Congress of the International Council for Central and East European Studies (Stockholm, 2010).
In: Eastern Orthodox Encounters of Identity and Otherness: Values, Self-Reflection, Dialogue, by Andrii Krawchuk and Thomas Bremer (eds) / Palgrave, January 2014.

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