Re-defining the IMU
Author: Sharon Komash
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 04/14/2005
Category: Special Report
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Scholarly literature about political Islam in Central Asia locates the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (henceforth, the IMU) on the radical end of the spectrum, alongside international terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. This paper will provide a critical look at this supposition. It will begin by reviewing the past activities attributed to the IMU and background information about the movement. The political context within which the IMU emerged will follow. Then the paper will discuss the common attitudes and perceptions towards the group and the interests underlying them, compared to the actual ideology and activity of the group. The paper will conclude with thoughts about the situation those attitudes cause: a dead-end situation or a hope for a change.
It is important to point out that there is not much primary information available about the IMU. Its activity is clandestine, so any information is uncertain. The written material regarding the IMU is interwoven with words such as supposedly, allegedly, suspected, reportedly. The following account can demonstrate this point: “It has been persistently rumored that Namangani, declared dead and buried last year, appeared in the Afghan province of Badakhshan”[i]. If the dead leader can resurrect, it is hard to tell which part of the information is reliable. The vagueness surrounding the IMU only made it more interesting for me to write about the reactions they induced.
Bio: Sharon Komash is a graduate student at the University of Peace, studying International Peace Studies. She is from Israel.