A Kyrgyz police chief believes that tough punitive measures will not curb the activities of banned Islamic movement Hezb-e Tahrir, as it is "an ideological enemy". Rather, members of the outlawed movement should be persuaded to leave their ways. He also reported that the Kyrgyz police had stepped up cooperation with the Uzbek law-enforcement bodies after the blasts in Uzbekistan. The following is the text of the report by Kyrgyz public educational TV on 5 April with subheads inserted editorially:
The Hezb-e Tahrir party has again stepped up its activities in the country's south, the law-enforcement bodies note. Over the last week, the police registered 10 cases of the distribution of leaflets with extremist content. The leadership of the [southern] Osh regional interior directorate believes that the introduction of tougher punitive actions will not help fight such an ideological enemy as Hezb-e Tahrir, and it counts on the clergy's assistance.
Hezb-e Tahrir steps up activities
[Correspondent] After the Uzbek authorities accused the Hezb-e Tahrir party of perpetrating the terrorist acts in Tashkent, the Kyrgyz law-enforcement bodies started to follow the activities of this party's members more attentively. The results in the south were as expected. Ten cases of the distribution of extremist leaflets were registered in Aravan, Uzgen and Kara Su districts last week. The deputy chief of the regional interior directorate said that the population often helped with detaining Hezb-e Tahrir members.
Better ties with Uzbek police
Following the events in Uzbekistan contacts with counterparts from [eastern Uzbek] Andizhan Region have become more frequent.
[Erkin Esenaliyev, deputy chief of the Osh regional interior directorate, captioned] Their officers came to us literally on 30 March and provided us with certain operational data in relation to those people who may cross the border and arrive in the city [Osh] or Osh Region. I mean those registered elements who had a hand in these acts of terrorism.
Tough punishment not solution
[Correspondent] Erkin Esenaliyev says that the police find it difficult to combat the activities of Hezb-e Tahrir, which are gathering pace. For the Interior Ministry is used to dealing with criminals who live in keeping with the principle - steal, drink and go to jail [a phrase from a famous Soviet film], whereas the new foe is an ideological enemy and punitive measures are of no help in this respect.
[Esenaliyev] Will society gain anything if we convict him for 10 years?
No, it won't. We will gain more if we prevent our people from fully plunging in there. If a Hezb-e Tahrir member whom we know and bring to criminal account says before the people that he was mistaken, that his religion and ideology was wrong, and that he gives it up, this will be a major victory and gain.
Politics banned in mosques
[Correspondent] The mufti of Kyrgyz Muslims, Murataly Dzhumanov, did not comment on theories of Hezb-e Tahrir's involvement in the terrorist acts in Tashkent. Rather, he is concerned that of late, religion, and particularly Islam, has been increasingly mixed with politics. He said that it went so far that mosques have become propaganda centers during electoral campaigns.
The acts of terrorism in Uzbekistan concern us, too, of course, but the Muslim clergy will not interfere in politics, the mufti said at a meeting with Muslim judges and mosque imams in Osh. The leader of the country's Muslims ordered his subordinates to step up security measures in mosques and prohibit conversations about politics in them.
Eurasianet, April 06, 2004