Reviews

Better known so far for his works on the history and historical geography of the southern and central regions of present-day Tajikistan (see my reviews in Abstracta Iranica 22 [1999], 114 & 136-7; 24 [2001], 181-2) the author of this book commanded by the Committee for Religious Affairs of Tajikistan deals with the ideological positions, the organisation and the regional settlement of the Party of the Islamic Liberation (Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islamiyya) in this newly independent Central Asian country.  An international organisation of Near-Eastern origin, the Tahrir is present since the late 1990s in Uzbekistan, in Kyrgyzstan and in Tajikistan, where it has been claiming for the overthrow of existing administrations and for the “restoration” of the Caliphate as the only political system able to ensure independence and social justice.  With the aiming of countering the Tahrir’s ever-growing influence among the student youth, the bazaar and the lower strata of the administration in Tajikistan, the work ends in several polemic chapters on some of the party’s positions, for the use of the readers in ideological debates—as in the good old times of the publications launched by the CPSU against underground Islamist movements.  The rhetorical difference of this new argumentation intended for agitators is its giving up of dialectic materialism and a particular, very normative representation of orthodox Islam.  The data on Tajikistan (pp. 51-8, no footnotes) seem to be based for their most part on the Committee’s archive; they concern mainly the identity of members of the party arrested since 1999, as it is generally the case in the publications on the Tahrir in Central Asia.  It suggests to which extent the regional history and sociology of this specific organisation, the pet hate and scapegoat of local administrations, is still to be made.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-8.1-691