Uzbek court jails members of Turkish Islamic sect
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) --
An Uzbek court has jailed eight former members of the Turkish Nurchilar (Nurcular) Islamic sect, the activities of which have been banned in Uzbekistan, Uzbek TV said on 16 February in its broadcast entitled "Light leading to darkness".
Over video of books, footage of rallies, maps, the programme said: Political forces such as the Nurchilar sect entered Uzbekistan to pursue their "malicious intentions" shortly after the country gained independence.
It provided detailed background information about the Turkish sect that, according to Uzbek TV, started its activities in Uzbekistan in early 1990s.
Over video of a court trial, and young men in the dock, the programme said that "the Tashkent city criminal court has recently considered the cases of members of the banned Nurchilar sect". "The court charged former members of the Nurchilar sect - Eldor Shermatov, Anvar Sharipov, Jamshid Rasulov, Oktam Bekiyev, Olimjon Musayev, Muzaffar Karimov, Sharofiddin Gofurov and Bakht Abdugafforov - under the following articles of the Uzbek Criminal Code: preparing and distributing materials that pose threat to public security and order; setting up, leading and being involved in religious extremist, separatist, fundamentalist and other banned organizations. Under the court ruling, the defendants were sentenced to from six and a half to eight years in prison," the programme said.
It went on to suggest that the group attempted to promote their ideas in Uzbekistan through newly set up Uzbek-Turkish lyceums. Over video of classrooms, books in Turkish, the programme said that in the early 1990s, the Nurchilar allegedly set up several lyceums in Uzbek regions where pupils "were taught pan-Turkic ideas".
The programme showed an interview with a religious expert, Uygun Gofurov, who in particular said: "These lyceums were mainly set up in the form of boarding schools. It was easy for Nurchilar members to influence pupils as they were far from their relatives, family and neighbourhood. As they were together with pupils during 24 hours, they started instilling the Nurchilar movement’s ideas, and pan-Turkic ideas in pupils’ minds during their leisure time".
Another Islamic expert, Nuriymon Abdulhasan, was also shown as saying that pan-Turkic ideas were promoted at these kinds of Turkish lyceums. "Our government and relevant agencies, which had uncovered this on time, closed down the lyceums," he said.
"The Nurchilar’s actions under the guise of free aid have undermined our centuries-old national values and damaged the future life of knowledgeable and talented young Uzbek people. In 1999, the plots of the Nurchilar sect were uncovered and the evil intention behind their generosity was disclosed. Criminal cases were launched against several members of the sect, who were studying at Uzbek universities, as well as its three Turkish members, and they were prosecuted," the programme said.
Over video of people in the streets, young people in classroom, magazines, books, the programme said that from beginning of 2006, the Nurchilar movement had resumed its activities in Uzbekistan. "Turkish nationals, who were deported from Uzbekistan for promoting religious extremist, fanatic and pan-Turkic views in the past, started entering the country under a new image and using new tactics for promoting the sect’s ideas. This was a tactic of controlling Uzbeks through Uzbeks themselves. Here, the Turkish citizens continued their actions very secretly by not communicating with local people openly in order not to repeat their previous mistakes and avoid the law-enforcement agencies. They found their former students, members of the Nurchilar, gave them instructions and orders, and restored the sect’s activities with their help. The aim of using this method was to avoid prosecution in case the sect members’ criminal activities were uncovered, so that not them but Uzbek young men would be prosecuted. Now they changed their activities, training and languages centres were set up, newspapers and magazines were issued," the programme said.
Over video of several "former members" of the Nurchilar sect being questioned, the programme said that the sect also planned to promote its ideas on TV by showing a series of Turkish films. "The Nurchilar who issued newspapers and magazines also planned to promote their ideas on TV. For this, Bahrom Ibrohimov, a Nurchilar member, who was looking for a reliable person at television, chose Hamza Jumayev, who once studied at an Uzbek-Turkish lyceum in the town of Bukhara," the broadcast said.
Bahrom Ibrohimov was shown as saying that he paid Jumayev US$1,000 per month for dubbing and broadcasting the films. "We dubbed and showed [to the management]. We planned to show these films accompanied by our own broadcast. After our manager watched it, he rejected it and said that we could not broadcast it. I had received US$1,000 dollars [per month] over eight months," Jumayev said.
The programme also said that the Nurchilar sect had set up its activities in some Uzbek regions. Over video of men’s gathering and them reading a book, Turkish books, a laptop, audio tapes and CDs, the programme said: "Recently the Uzbek law-enforcement agencies uncovered some crimes of a group of people who were engaged in secretly promoting the sect’s ideas in the [southwestern] town of Bukhara...Ikrom Merojov, a resident of the town of Bukhara, has led the group".
"Tens of publications of the Nurchilar sect were found during the search of Merojov’s home. It was established that the computer seized from Merojov, carried correspondences with Nurchilar members living in Turkey," the TV said.
Over women’s gathering, the TV said that the Turkish sect had also involved Uzbek women in its work. "The law-enforcement agencies have uncovered the activities of a group of women in the town of Asaka in Andijon Region, who were engaged in promoting the sect’s ideas. Tens of books of the Nurchilar, video tapes and CDs were found at their houses," the TV said.
In conclusion, the programme urged the viewers to be vigilant against "the attacks of various movements and evil forces which are attempting to undermine our peace, freedom, and lead us astray from our chosen path".