Saturday, April 13, 2024

After Terrorist Attack in Moscow, Tashkent Asks All Imams in Uzbekistan to Surrender Their Passports

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 10 – Because Moscow has identified Tajik nationals as the executors of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, Central Asian governments are responding in various ways to the risk that the Russian government will act in some way more directly against them and their citizens.

            One of the most dramatic of these reactions has come in Uzbekistan where the government on April 3 demanded that all imams and deputy imams in the surrender their passports so that they can’t travel abroad (

            Officials of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Uzbekistan deny that this has happened and say that no one is blocking the imams of Uzbekistan from travelling, but various imams tell Radio Liberty’s Uzbek service that they have received such an order and that many of Uzbekistan’s 7,000 imams and deputy imams have apparently felt compelled to obey.

            These imams say that in their view, what the government is doing is not just an act of deference to or fear of Moscow but rather an attempt to use this case to further tighten control over religious life in Uzbekistan because of Tashkent’s fears that there has been a growth in religious radicalism there.

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