The Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a radio station in the border city of Mashhad, broadcasting in Farsi and Turkic languages to Central Asia, has recently broadcast a lengthy statement by a group calling itself the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Led by Tahirjon Yoldoshev, the IMU is considered by Uzbek authorities as a prime suspect in the February 16 terrorist bomb attacks in Tashkent (see the Monitor, February 17-18). The IMU’s statement amounts to a virtual declaration of belligerence against the secular and pro-Western orientation of President Islam Karimov and his government.
The IMU’s statement calls for introducing “Islamic order” and the “Sharia rules” in Uzbekistan in “personal and family life, in public life… and in jurisprudence.” “Implementation of Sharia is the duty of every official and the only measurement which defines whether an official is a righteous individual.” The IMU denounces Karimov and his government for continuing the policies of their “Bolshevik teachers” by repressing Islam, persecuting believers, closing mosques, and generally promoting secularism, this time at the behest of the United States and Israel. All this “gives our people the right to replace this evil by force. “
Dubbing the Uzbek leadership “criminal,” the IMU demands in the form of an ultimatum that it resign from office. The IMU proposes to install a transitional government for a six-month period during which: Islamist militants must be released from detention and allowed to return from abroad [presumably meaning the IMU]; a council of the Ulema shall select suitable people for drawing up legislation in accordance with the Sharia; “selected people” [presumably cleared by the Ulema] will be elected to a “Supreme Council” which will constitute the country’s new leadership; all “unjust agreements that were signed with the despotic forces of the world [presumably Western countries] will be cancelled,” and “Uzbekistan will never have friendly relations with countries that carry out hostile actions against Islam or seized Muslim land or have supported those crimes.”
The ultimatum ends with the threat of “unpleasant events similar to the recent explosions in Tashkent” in the event that the current president and government fail to comply with the demand to step down (Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran(Mashhad, in Uzbek, March 19, as cited in SWB).
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