Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia

By Adeeb Khalid | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
Andijan and Beyond

On Friday the thirteenth of May, 2005, night fell on a brutal massacre in Uzbekistan. A protest had turned violent and resulted in many deaths. The culprit, however, was the government, which had killed hundreds of its own citizens. The previous night, an armed uprising had broken out in the city of Andijan in the Ferghana Valley, as armed men, supporters of 23 men being tried on charges of religious extremism, stormed a jail and freed all prisoners. After the jailbreak, the insurgents took hostages and retreated into the building of the provincial government. As day broke on Friday, a crowd began to gather in the central square. As far as the government was concerned, Andijan was another front in the global war on terror. The jailbreak was an Islamist insurgency that had to be put down without mercy. The square was full in the afternoon when the government launched an all-out assault on the crowd, killing an unknown number of people. The government claimed that the melee that transpired was a gun battle between “terrorists” and government forces and that the final death toll was 187, and included 94 “terrorists,” 20 police officers, 11 military, and 57 bystanders.1 By all other accounts, the event was a massacre, with the death-toll estimate as high as 700, including women, children, and the elderly.

Clearly, a great deal is wrong with Central Asia today, and no one should have been surprised that the patience of citizens ran out. Two months earlier, popular protests against flawed elections in neighboring Kyrgyzstan had led to the ouster of its president, Askar Akaev, who

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Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Islam in Central Asia 19
  • Chapter 2 - Empire and the Challenge of Modernity 34
  • Chapter 3 - The Soviet Assault on Islam 50
  • Chapter 4 - Islam as National Heritage 84
  • Chapter 5 - The Revival of Islam 116
  • Chapter 6 - Islam in Opposition 140
  • Chapter 7 - The Politics of Antiterrorism 168
  • Conclusion - Andijan and beyond 192
  • Afterword 204
  • Glossary 211
  • Notes 213
  • Select Bibliography 235
  • Index 243
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