DUSHANBE, 23.01.2019. (NIAT Khovar) –Imruz News’ Dovud Ismati interviewed Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Zikriyo Akrami regarding the mercenary activities of the terrorist and extremist organization Islamic Renaissance Party (TEO IRP) and the slanderous speeches of its leadership and members.
– How do you assess the unseemly acts of the leaders and members of the TEO IRP in the current condition? Do these intricacies and attempts to prove themselves as martyrs of the banned organization, whose betrayal and crimes are well known, have any real basis?
– First of all, it should be said that the political struggle of the TEO IRP was dubious from the very beginning and remains so today. The leaders of this banned organization are pursuing their ambitious goals by changing the method of their struggle under the guise of democratic slogans. With their demagogic phrases and slogans they want to present themselves to the world community as fighters for democracy and builders of civil society. But their statements are nothing but another hypocritical step.
It is well known that the concepts of democracy and civil society fundamentally contradict the religious form of statehood. If in a religiously organized state the laws are adopted on the basis of religious prescriptions, in democratic states they are adopted by referenda and the will of the people. It is therefore surprising that despite the true purpose of the party, the leadership of the TEO IRP hypocritically pretend to be supporters of democratic values. It is nothing but adaptability and political games.
The purpose of the TEO IRP, which has taken such a position, is to misguide the world community and human rights organizations. Additionally, its leaders without shame of conscience declare that the highest goal of the leadership of the party is stability and protection of national interests of Tajikistan. If this is indeed true, then why did the leadership of the TEO IRP officially and unilaterally annul the Treaty on Peace and National Accord in the summer of 2015, thereby announcing a boycott to the peace? This was tantamount to a declaration of war.
Following this, the radical members of the TEO IRP started an organized armed struggle in September of 2015 that caused instability and led to the death of dozens of citizens. In view of this a question arises: If this party really sees peace as its goal, then why did it violate the peace and endanger the lives of millions of its compatriots for the sake of its group interests?
The leaders of the TEO IRP were engaged in defaming and slandering state structures since the very beginning of their political struggle. They still do the same. The excitement which they raised recently in connection with the death of the famous lawyer F. Vohidova is a confirmation of the aforementioned facts. They even use the family tragedy of the citizens of our country for their selfish purposes. Being far away from the homeland, the renaissances lost a sense of reality and the understanding of the traditions of the glorious Tajik people that call for not speaking ill of the deceased.
– If we objectively assess the activities of the TEO IRP, what assessment does it deserve from the point of view of political or social sciences?
– Considering the previous and current activities of this radical extremist organization, it is impossible to call it a political or even an opposition party. In a democratic society where the rule of law prevails, political opposition parties direct their activities exclusively within the framework of the current legislation. In other words, an important condition for the political struggle for power is a healthy and cultural struggle. Against this background, political parties never use illegal methods and do not allow hostility in their activities, so as to preserve peace, stability and national values.
The goals and objectives of parties and politicians do not contradict national values. In a democratic society, this generally accepted line is shared by everyone. Otherwise, the state, as the most important apparatus for protecting national interests, can prohibit the activities of individuals and political parties as a dangerous political group that does not comply with this rule. If we proceed from this point of view, then the political activity of the TEO IRP does not correspond to the generally accepted requirements of legislation and an understanding of a healthy political struggle in the modern world. Therefore, it can be unequivocally stated with reference to the previous and current activities of the TEO IRP that it was and remains a terrorist and extremist organization, which tried to seize constitutional power in Tajikistan with the ideological and financial support of its foreign patrons.
Therefore, the TEO IRP’s official and unofficial activities can in no way be attributed to healthy and constructive opposition forces. For it always puts its group’s interests above national ones. The ultimate goal of political groups in no case should be only an attempt to gain political power. Such a careerist struggle without respect for national values poses a danger and can push society toward tragedy.
To make it more convincing, as an example of a healthy and constructive opposition, we can cite such groups as Dodojon Atovullo’s Union of Creative Forces and the free-thinking people like Hafiz Boboyorov, Salomiddin Mirzorahmatov and Haramguli Qodir, whom we can conventionally call representatives of the true line of enlightenment in Europe and the post-Soviet countries called the New Block. The number of representatives of the New Block is not limited to the names of the mentioned people. It seems that over time, the majority of our rationally minded compatriots living abroad will view the current activities of the TEO IRP through the prism of publications and statements of the representatives of the New Block.
– What do you see as the main reason for the unsuccessful attempt of the TEO IRP to garner political power in Tajikistan?
– First of all, it should be noted that the attempts to create an Islamic state in the post-Soviet Central Asian republics have no social basis. Though most are adherents of Islam, seeing the deplorable political and social condition of the neighboring Islamic countries and the denominational prejudices in societies prefer to live in a free, secular society.
Especially in our republic, where the people experienced the horrors of a civil war of 1992-1997, the instigator of which was TEO IRP killing 150,000 individuals, the people will never accept political Islam and will never take up arms so that some religious clerk can come to power. The people personally witnessed how supporters of political Islam brought discord to society and unleashed a civil war, which plunged our beloved homeland into an unprecedented tragedy. In the years following it, the supporters of political Islam were engaged in terror and murder, as a result of which many worthy sons of the nation died, thousands of children and women became orphaned and widowed. They committed acts of terrorism even after having signed the Treaty on Peace and National Accord.
Furthermore, the people understood that the TEO IRP is essentially an instrument of our foreign enemies and which in the name of its vile purposes is ready to rebel against its homeland and compatriots, and which does not shun anything, even terrorism and extremism. It became clear for the country’s residents that the renaissances were fighting not for the sake of national interests, but for realizing the goals of their foreign patrons. Most of the fighters from among renaissances are graduates of terrorist schools of the interested countries of the region. These militants committed dozens of terrorist attacks and murdered in various regions of the country, killing hundreds of thousands of Tajik citizens, including well-known and respected figures.
Starting from ideological terror and spreading such slogans and appeals as “teacher’s bread is unclean,” “requiem prayer – a prayer for the teacher is forbidden”, and then moved on to physically eliminating dissidents, especially the free-thinking people. The murder of well-known journalists including Otakhon Latifi, prominent scholars Muhammad Osimi, Yusuf Ishoqi, Minkhoj Gulomov, adviser to the president Karim Yuldoshev, talented writer Saif Rahimzod, an Islamic scholar Fathullokhon Sharifzoda and 20 officers of the Russian military unit stationed in Tajikistan make up the short list of crimes committed by TEO IRP members.
Another reason for TEO IRP’s unsuccessful attempt at obtaining political power is that it did not have a theoretical and practical opportunity to influence the country’s socio-economic development.
Despite the fact that it has achieved official recognition, it could not find a stable place in the political arena of the country. But despite this, unfortunately, abusing the religious adherence of the people and hiding behind the name of Islam, the members of the TEO IRP continue to solicit the authorities, although it is clear that this is nothing more than a mirage. There are dozens of facts and evidence which lead to this conclusion.
This is evidenced by the quantitative and qualitative composition of the IRP. The ignorance of this party’s representatives was particularly evident during the signing of the General Agreement on Peace and National Accord, and the nomination of personnel at a 30 percent quota for public office.
At the same time, the leaders of the TEO IRP did not abandon their ambitious ways. For all 18 years of its activity, its leadership has failed to rectify the situation. Even Abdullah Nuri, one of the main leaders of the TEO IRP, admitted this himself.
The situation remains the same in the activities of the organization to this day. Therefore, a logical question arises: What did the party accomplish, except for destabilizing society and attempting to fulfill its group interests? How is it possible to lay claim to power with such insufficient intellectual potential and present itself as the founder of the solid foundations of the development of a state?
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the goal of the TEO IRP is not the development and progression of society, but the usurpation of power and the politicization of religion.
The fourth reason that the TEO IRP failed and could not to come to power is that the people became convinced of TEO IRP’s failure as a uniting force of the nation. Now it is quite clear that even if the TEO IRP had come into power, it could not have become the guarantor of national unity and territorial integrity of Tajikistan.
Since it is known that if a religious party comes into power, religious norms and regulations will be imposed and their execution will be compulsory. This will certainly lead to disunity and confrontation in society, especially having a denominational character. It should be noted that with its immense respect for foreign patrons, the TEO IRP has long lost the people’s trust both in Tajikistan and in other CIS countries. This factor has strengthened the superficiality, deliberate deception and West-philia in the ranks of its members, which increasingly alienates them from their nation.
– Did the TEO IRP have any connected to the 2012 riots in Khorog?
– Yes, the TEO IRP was directly involved in this incident. The direct interaction of the head of the regional branch of the former IRPT Mahmadrizo Sabzaliev with the leaders of the rebellion is the proof. Moreover, the aforementioned himself was the leader of this protest march, which incited the followers of the IRPT in the region to an armed struggle against the country’s security forces.
Additionally, the involvement of Sherik Karamkhudoev, one of the activists of the department of the former IRPT in GBAO, in the armed confrontation is clear evidence of the coordination of the activities of the TEO IRP with the rebels. Despite the irreconcilable differences in the beliefs of an extremist organization with followers of the Ismaili religious movement, relying on limited criminal groups the renaissances were able to involve some of the young members of Khorog’s organized criminal groups. This evaluation is based on the events up until September 15, 2018.
– Why are some forces at the international level mostly secretly and at times openly defending the TEO IRP?
– Unfortunately, the interested subjects at the international level, despite the fact that they demonstrate openly, are not guarantors of peace and stability, but on the contrary are a real factor and the main source of destabilization in certain countries. This situation can be observed in all hot spots of the world.
This is evidenced by the difficult situation in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and other countries with a turbulent social situation. Undoubtedly, the true and strategic goal of the scandalous projects of these interested forces is to create conflict in the countries that are of interest from a geopolitical point of view.
They strive to eliminate the balance of existing political forces and public security, create conflict and thus establish their own regime and clear the way for expanding their sphere of influence in important geopolitical regions. Since the very beginning the TEO IRP was a kind of political tool for these forces, and certain forces of the international and regional level have not yet abandoned this instrument.
Some of these forces are currently openly defending this terrorist organization. Back in the 1990s, when armed groups of the TEO IRP sought to overthrow the constitutional authority in Tajikistan and establish an Islamic state, special military structures of some countries trained the militants of the TEO IRP, teaching them the methods of terrorists and extremists in special camps.
Interested forces at the international and regional level that support the TEO IRP, despite the awareness of the tragic consequences of their insidious plans, did not renounce the party’s abuses in order to achieve geopolitical goals and expand their influence in Central Asia. In view of this, we should not lose our political vigilance at this important historical moment, and should not allow such groups of traitors to muddle our social reason with their colorful slogans.
These so-called “forces of international cooperation” have no inkling about the serious crimes of the TEO IRP. They do not know that the migrated branches of this party are no different from the sleeping units of ISIL, which have extensive experience in sabotage, practical experience in military ideology, and remain in the fronts in areas considered vulnerable from the point of view of extremism. A donkey is the same donkey, but its saddle is already another saddle.
– What do you think about the failed attempt at a military coup of the TEO IRP in September 2015?
– The attempt of an armed coup by an extremist group led by a traitor – renaissance general Abduhalim Nazarzoda, known as Hoji Halim, which began in early September 2015 in the cities of Dushanbe and Vahdat and then continued in the Romit gorge, was another unreasonable and mercenary desire of the TEO IRP to commit a coup d’état in Tajikistan.
It should be noted that the fact of Nazarzoda’s membership in the TEO IRP as confirmed by numerous documents and information is indisputable. Muhiddin Kabiri prepared and committed his political conspiracies not only relying on the financial backing of his foreign masters, but also at the expense of his own capital.
The relevant structures of Tajikistan have proved this connection on the basis of the testimony of witnesses and audio and video recordings which were broadcast by local TV channels.
– What do you think about the political group Paymoni Milli (National Alliance), which was created by the initiative of the TEO IRP and its leader Kabiri? In your opinion, what is the purpose of creating this alliance?
– First of all, I want to emphasize that if we look closely at the goals of creating this group, we can confidently say that this alliance is not national, but anti-national.
The TEO IRP with the creation of this alliance was guided by several factors, the most important of which are:
The first factor is the accumulation of experience, increasing the level of political thinking of opposition-minded people and dissident Tajiks, who due to their inexperience had previously gathered under the dome of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) together with the TEO IRP. The egoism and constant perfidy of the TEO IRP during the activities of the former UTO coalition opened the eyes of other opposition forces, so most of them in 2015-2018, despite Kabiri’s aspirations and promises, did not join him.
In particular, Dodojon Atovullo’s Union of Creative Forces, Group-24, Vatandor, and a large number among the Tajik intelligentsia living abroad, including Hafiz Boboyorov, were among dissenters and opposition forces that ignored repeated appeals of the TEO IRP and its leader for the creation of a new coalition of Tajik opposition groups. Namely their persistence did not allow Kabiri to realize his plans in a short time as the “initiator” and “creator” of the sought-for coalition.
As the head of the TEO IRP, Kabiri was forced to resort to the next set of tricks in order to create the appearance of a way out of the situation and show his foreign patrons that he had not fully squandered his energy and potential. His trick was the creation of self-made and symbolic organizations, such as the Forum of Tajik Free-Thinkers (led by Alim Sherzamonov), the Movement of Reforms and Development in Tajikistan (led by Sharofiddin Gadoev) and the Association of Central Asian Migrants (led by Ilhomjon Yakubov), which were created in order to establish a new coalition and fill the seats of the opposition forces, which at one time had been removed from the TEO IRP.
The present coalition called the National Alliance of Tajikistan was founded on the basis of coordination of three unknown, small authority groups and the TEO IRP. Do these self-made groups have the right to create the National Alliance of Tajikistan on behalf of the people of Tajikistan? Of course not! Since none of these organizations is recognized in Tajikistan and does not cover even a small segments of society. Moreover, the people do not even have a clue about the existence of the majority of these organizations. Can the participation of several self-satisfied people creating the National Alliance make decisions instead of the official state, the People’s Parliament and the nine million people?
Another factor in the creation of this paper and protocol coalition by the TEO IRP was that at the international level, for example in Europe, it is no longer possible to have strong international patrons, so the renaissances traitors who currently live there sought to remove the word “Islam” from the name of their political group, to some extent show their political group as “defenders of the people,” “democrats” and “civilized.” Such chameleonic behavior of the leadership of the TEO IRP is another proof of their hypocrisy.
This change of tactics in the political struggle of TEO IRP’s leaders shows that they initially used Islam as an instrument of struggle and the involvement of befuddled people to achieve their and their patrons’ political goals.
The third factor is that the TEO IRP has now realized that despite its ambitions, it does not have the protection or social support in Tajikistan. Most of the citizens of Tajikistan who had previously treated the renaissances with apprehension and distrust, after the civil war that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and caused the emigration of millions, came to be completely disappointed in it and began to treat it as a destabilizing factor.
In this regard, in order to maintain its weakened position, the leadership of the TEO IRP was forced to turn to other Tajik dissenters in order to fill its thinning ranks at the expense of followers. However, Tajik dissenters, as we noted earlier, taking into account the bitter experience of their previous cooperation with this terrorist organization, did not want to repeat their mistakes.
Therefore, the political group, which was created last year by the TEO IRP under the loud name National Alliance of Tajikistan, is nothing but a false organization that is completely devoid of social support.
– Recently, we have seen that the leadership of the TEO IRP tries to cover up the true goals of its political struggle with modern slogans, including lots of declarations about democratic values and protecting the people. Do you think that TEO IRP’s true goals change in the modern historical conditions due to changes in the global community? If so, is it possible to hope that one day the patriotic feelings of the leaders of the TEO IRP will prevail and they will give up their intrigues against their people and the state with a sense of civic responsibility? How consistent can their secular ambitions with their militarized kind be, if during 2000s they inflamed disputes against supporters of the secular system in Tajikistan?
– If this were the case, however, the leadership of the TEO IRP is currently engaged in changing the forms of its struggle and covering it under the guise of “defenders of the people” and “democrats” in order to attract the attention of the world community. One should not give in to his tactical deception, since the creation of an Islamic state will, in any case, remain the essence and true political goal.
Taking into account the fact that the leaders of the TEO IRP assumed certain obligations before their patrons after receiving large sums, including destabilizing the political situation in their homeland, it is doubtful that they will put their own mercenary plans above their national interests. They and their terrorist organizations are so mired in darkness that it is impossible to get out of it. Therefore, it is more likely that the TEO IRP and its leaders with the supports of their foreign patrons will seek to sow confusion and discord and will try to realize their negative plans in the future. The scandalous activity of the TEO IRP shows that this party is ready to commit any crime in order to achieve its political goals and seize power.
The creation of a political religious regime based on religious obscurantism will remain the ultimate goal of this party. During a meeting of the Regional Antiterrorist Structure of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which took place on July 11-12 in Tehran, called the activity of the TEO IRP, along with such terrorist organizations as Jabhat al-Nusra, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Islamic State, East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Akramiya, Jamaat al-Tabligh, Jamaat of Central Asian Mujahideen, Jundullah, Ansarullah and the like terroristic and declared the need to exchange information to combat these extremist groups.
Therefore, the leaders of the TEO IRP should know that their attempts will not succeed, because the people have already recognized the true faces of the false defenders of Islam and will not give them opportunities for further intrigues. Runaway extremists, contrary to the values of society and national interests, had the nerve to repeat a historical mistake with the creation of a National Alliance that expresses selfish foreign interests.
Reprint from Imruz News