Economic adversity and aggressive government action in Kyrgyzstan have placed Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a non-violent Islamic radical group, on the defensive. The underground organization now is struggling to regain traction as its membership dwindles.
The turning point for the group occurred in October 2008, when authorities targeted Hizb members for allegedly stoking riots in the southern town of Nookat. The unrest began after local authorities banned the public celebration of Orozo Ait (Eid al-Fitr), a Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Based on tenuous evidence, authorities prosecuted and convicted 32 individuals for fomenting the unrest. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
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Alisher Khamidov is a writer based in southern Kyrgyzstan.