Kabul Parpiyev, a leader of the May uprising in Andijan, Uzbekistan, is threatening to unleash a campaign of terror against the regime of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. Parpiyev is currently in hiding.
In an interview with the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper, Parpiyev stated that he regrets initiating disturbances, and he refuted the widespread claim that there were foreign terrorists among the rebels at Andijan. However, Parpiyev vows, “If they don’t do it, we should look for other ways to take the sword of power out of [President Islam] Karimov’s reach.” As he explains, “Our final option is this word ‘terror’, which means sow fear among people.” According to Parpiyev, many angry people in Uzbekistan have contacted his group in recent weeks to let him know that they were ready to mount resistance. In Parpiyev’s view, only two options remain: international intervention or armed conflict (Globe and Mail, August 1).
Parpiyev’s statement serves as yet more indirect proof that “Akramiya,” the group blamed for the Andijan uprising, was indeed a terrorist organization. However, there is still no definitive evidence whether Akramiya is a terrorist organization or not. Members of Akramiya have categorically denied that they embrace violence and insist that they are involved exclusively in social and moral activities.
The Western press often mistakenly reports that Akramiya is a faction of the radical Islamic group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which aims at unifying the Muslims of the world into a single Caliphate (Fergana.ru, May 10). Some press outlets attribute even more radical ideas to Akramiya than to Hizb-ut-Tahrir. For example, in an article posted at Eurasianet.org, Alisher Khamidov maintains that the leader of Akramiya, Akram Yuldashev, asserted in his pamphlet “Iymonga iyul” (The path to the faith) that the non-violent methods embraced by Hizb-ut-Tahrir were developed for use in Arab states and are irrelevant for the conditions of Central Asia. Unlike Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Khamidov claims, Yuldashev thought that the Islamic organization should seize power (Eurasianet.org, October 23, 2003). However, the Russian translation of the pamphlet, which Centrasia.ru published on August 25, 2004, clearly shows that Yuldashev is not calling for a violent seizure of power. Yuldashev and his supporters deny any connections with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (see EDM, May 13).
In 1999 Central Asia and Caucasus, a Russian- and English-language journal from Sweden’s Center for Social and Political Studies, published in Russian the only document that reveals Akramiya’s political ambitions. As evidence, the journal provides quotations from summaries of lectures given by Akramiya’s leader. The quotations were provided by Bahtiyar Babadjanov, an Uzbek Orientalist (see www.ca-c.org, issue 5, 1999).
Babdjanov reported that the lectures outline five stages of Akramiya activity:
Phase one (sirli, “secret” or “underground”) involves the selection and education of future members of the group in special cells (halka), in which they will be taught “fundamental Islamic rituals.” A neophyte who successfully passes this phase (mushrif) undergoes a special “mysterious” ritual, in which he swears on the Koran an oath of loyalty to other buradars (brothers).
Phase two (moddiy, “materialistic) focuses on creating a financial base for the community through collective efforts. Neophytes get jobs in public production organizations, where brothers already work, or in small industrial or agricultural enterprises founded by members of the group. A member of the group allocates one-fifth of the profits to the common treasury (bait almal).
Phase three (manavii, “spiritual) consists of constant “spiritual communication” with a group of strictly selected brothers. Conversations and collective prayers are led by naibs (deputies) of the head of the local organ.
Phase four (uzvii maidon, “organic merging” or “bonding”) entails securing “legalization” of the community in the eyes of the authorities by means of “spiritual recruitment” of officials or by infiltrating the local government. This phase is viewed as a particularly important one in the process of expanding and legalizing the status of the community.
Phase five (ohirat, “concluding” or “final”) should, according to Akramists, involve the “true Islamization” of the society and a “natural transfer” of power to the leaders of the group. However, Babadjanov told Jamestown after the Andijan events that he was not sure “one hundred percent” that these summaries really should be attributed to Yuldashev. “In 1999 investigating agencies sent these synopses to us, to the Institute of Oriental Studies, for examination. It was indicated in the essay that they were the synopses of Yuldashev lectures to his students. It is simply impossible to determine whether these synopses really expressed views of Yuldashev.”
The bloody events in Andijan serve as yet more proof that Akramiya, in fact, was a terrorist organization and a highly trained force at that. For example, the rebels managed to easily seize the second-most fortified penitentiary in the CIS and released several hundred inmates. They also handily routed a military unit. It is doubtful that amateurs could achieve such stunning results. Furthermore, in a calculated move, the insurgents placed a group of hostages, with their throats tied by wire, around the regional administration building. Women and children were placed behind them, and armed militants took up positions close to the building (Izvestiya, July 20).
Regardless of whether Akramiya was a terrorist organization in the past, Parpiyev’s statements indicates that the organization is ready to become one today. The Andijan events demonstrated that this organization already has sufficient forces to organize armed resistance to the authorities.