UZBEKISTAN, in Central Asia, has a population of about 28 millions people (09/2007) and stretches on 447,000 km. UZBEKISTAN is a prominent Muslim country, one of the independent republics that emerged in Central Asia as a consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union and is an independent country from 1991. 83% of its populations are Sunnite Muslims, 5% Shiites and about 10% Orthodox Christian.
80% of UZBEKISTAN population are Uzbeks and the rest from different Islamic minorities and Ethnic Russians. Despite the relative small numbers of Russian in UZBEKISTAN, about 2 millions, the Russian language is spoken by most of the population. A dialect of Persian language is widely spoken in the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara and in the country side.
UZBEKISTAN and the historical cities of Samarkand and Bukhara were for many centuries the Cultural and political center of Islam in Central Asia, to the East of the Shiite Muslim culture of Iran. The Islam in UZBEKISTAN was, traditionally, moderate, tolerant and with good relations to other minorities.
UZBEKISTAN is a dictatorship run by Islam Karimov since the independence in 1991. Some say that UZBEKISTAN is a brutal dictatorship although, officially, the country is a republic.
After The 9/11 UZBEKISTAN became an ally to USA in the preparation for operation “Absolute Justice” and the deployment of USA troops – Air Force and Special Forces, in UZBEKISTAN. The cooperation with US boosted the poor economy and helped to slow down the inflation and today (09/2007) the economical growth rate is about 9% and the inflation is very low.
An Islamic party “Hizb-ut-Tahrir al-Islami” (The Islamic Liberation party) is operating in UZBEKISTAN since 1953 but denounced violence as a legitimate means.
In 2004, the capital Tashkent and the town of Bukhara, were subject to a series of suicide and shooting terror attacks against USA, Israel and other Western targets. The first series began at 03/28/2004 and claimed the life of 47 people and the second series occurred in 07/20/2004 and claimed the life of 2 more local security guards near the Israeli embassy.
A local extremist unknown group – “Uzbek Islamic Jihad” took responsibility on the attacks. Security officials claimed that “Uzbek Islamic Jihad” is, in fact, a cover name for the Islamic Movement of UZBEKISTAN -IMU. One of its splits – the “Islamic Jihad Union” -IJU, specialized in murders of individuals, mainly in Samarkand, who practiced Western lifestyle.
Since 2004 the Islamic militancy did not manage to carry out more acts of terror in UZBEKISTAN.
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