This paper is devoted to the Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islamiyya, this elusive phenomenon of political Islam in Central Asia, the issue of a number of interrogations and publications since the late 1990s.  After surveying the recent evolution of the Islamic political arena in Central Asia, the author develops on the reasons for the popularity of a movement with an enigmatic structure and organisation.  Its main strength, to the author’s eyes, lies in its simplistic ideology, all oriented towards the restoration of Caliphate, without clear indications on the path to be followed for the attainment of such a fanciful goal.  The author also insists on the fact that the Tahrir must not be considered by the Western powers as the main treat for the stability of the Central Asian states:  the wrong policy locally implemented for the repression of any kind of political Islam, the issues of poverty and corruption are the forest hidden by the trees of Islamic radicalism.  If the paper does not really bring new elements to our elliptic knowledge of the Hizb al-Tahrir in Central Asia—given the absolute illegality of the party in the region, and the quasi impossibility to obtain first-hand information on it and its members—, the author must be congratulated for his prudence and for his interest in the economic and social context of the party’s emergence.

Bayram Balci, French Institute of Central Asian Studies, Tashkent
CER: I-8.1-689