limits of authoritarian rule. That is, although the state
s strategies of con-trol may be apparent, we can understand the effectiveness of these strate-gies only in their application, only by investigating how a
society resists being reduced
to the will of the state.
In this chapter I detail Uzbek soci-ety
some successful, some not
at such resistance. In sectionone I use the lens of the neighborhood mosque to illustrate how imamsand congregants often ignore the Karimov regime
s attempts at control.In section two I shift my focus from the neighborhood mosque to indi-viduals
attempts to resist government intimidation. Morespeci
cally, I study social activists
successful attempts in resisting falsecharges of Islamic extremism. The Karimov regime has proven adept atmanipulating Islam, at using such charges to intimidate and imprison itsperceived opponents. In section three I conclude with one failed attemptat resisting state repression. I share the story of Rustam Klichev, a popularimam whom the state recently imprisoned on charges of Islamist extrem-ism. Unfortunately, Uzbek society occasionally does succumb to the willof the Karimov regime. And, as my Uzbek colleagues emphasize, thesecases of failed resistance need to be recounted as well.
the neighborhood mosque and the limits ofuzbek state control
A common refrain among Uzbek Muslims is that separation of religionand state, though provided by the constitution, does not exist in prac-tice. The committee for religious affairs, Uzbek President Islam Kari-mov
s gatekeeper for all things spiritual, decides which religious groupscan or cannot be registered. Several groups
those the government per-ceives as extremist
are blacklisted and classi
ed as criminal organiza-tions. Any association with these organizations can lead to lengthy jailstays
punishments that, I discovered in my conversations with prac-ticing Uzbek Muslims, can become life sentences.The Uzbek leadership has been the most fervent of all Central Asiangovernments in its prosecution of Islamic activists. Since the Soviet col-lapse in 1991, Uzbek security services have jailed more than seven thou-sand Muslims.
Some of those currently in jail indeed are, as the Uzbekgovernment asserts, Islamist extremists. Most notably, the Islamic Move-ment of Uzbekistan
(IMU) has repeatedly taken civilian hostages andmounted armed attacks against government forces in its avowed quest to build an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia. Moreover, militants thought to be connected with the IMU targeted President Karimov in a botched assas-sination attempt in February 1999 and engaged Kyrgyz and Uzbek troopsin the Ferghana Valley in the summers of 1999 and 2000.
In 2004 suicide bombers attacked Tashkent
s central bazaar, the government prosecutor
Eric M. McGlinchey