Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Women Taking Place of Men in Hizb ut-Tahrir Ranks in Central Asia, Scholar Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 3 – Central Asian men from the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group are ever more frequently leaving the region for Russia; and their places in that radical group are being taken by Central Asian men, according to Leyla Asulbekova, in a development that is both new and a threat to both Russia and Central Asia.

            On the one hand, her findings suggest that ever more members of that group are now in Russia and may engage in terrorism or other forms of extremism; and on the other, they point to the emergence of a phenomenon that the governments in Central Asia have little experience with or ability to counter.

            Asylbekova, a psychologist, presented these findings to a Kazakhstan conference on “The Role of Women’s Organizations in the Spiritual Education of Youth and in the Formation of Immunity to Radical Religious Ideology” (kazislam.kz/ru/songy-janalyktar/item/14858-zhenshchiny-vytesnyayut-muzhchin-iz-khizb-ut-takhrir-v-srednej-azii-uchenye).

            She said that her fellow specialists on Islamist groups concurred with her conclusions, adding that in her opinion the recent increase in the share of women in Hizb ut-Tahrir in Central Asia is disturbing because “female fanaticism is much stronger and more horrific than its male counterpart.”

            One of the reasons women have moved into the ranks of such groups, Asylbekova suggested, is that women have been radicalized by the fact that in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries, women have made some progress on various career ladders but have yet to be allowed to reach the very top of any of them.

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