Tajik Islamic Party Leader Vigorously Denies Bin Laden Link
Against the backdrop of the US-led anti-terrorism campaign, Central Asian governments have tightened control over religious activities. A crackdown against Islamic radicals has been in progress for almost three years in Uzbekistan. In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, legislation is pending that would make it easier for authorities to exert control over clerics, as well as ban unregistered religious groups. The only Central Asian nation where an Islamic political party is active is in Tajikistan, where, under terms of the 1997 peace accords that ended a bitter civil war, loyalists to President Imomali Rahmonov share power with representatives of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO). A chief component of the UTO is the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). The party's leader, Said Abdullo Nuri, recently spoke to EurasiaNet about Islam in Central Asia, and his own personal connections with terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. The text of his comments follows:
EurasiaNet: What are the roots of and causes for the phenomenon of "Islamic terrorism?"Nuri: First of all, I would like to note that terrorism from whomever it emanates must be strongly condemned. In my opinion, terrorism is a crime, and it must not be related to any country, way of life, traditions or religion. Therefore, it would be incorrect to speak about Islamic, Christian, or Communist terrorism. Islam condemns terrorism, and it is against any unsanctioned murder of human being[s].
Umed Babakhanov and Marat Mamadshoyev conducted the interview with Abdullo Nuri.