Uzbekistan was a centre of Islamic leaning and a great civilization – which vanished since late 19th century when Russian occupied it. Now it is ruled by anti-Islam former communists-turned nationalists, who are actively supported by the US and Israel. Uzbekistan has great strategic importance for both the US and Israel due to its 28 million ‘not so moderate’ Muslim population, its gas, oil, and gold reserves – but also for its proximity to Afghanistan, Islamic Iran, China and Russia.
The 2005 Andijan massacre almost pull the carpet under the ‘Islamophobes’, both inside and western colonialists. Washington’s slight criticism of Uzbeb president Islam Karimov, cost it closure of its air-base used for the continue occupation of Afghanistan. Karimov has been running the country his his former communist-fist since country declared its independence from USSR on September 1, 1991. The United Nations, however, admitted Uzbekistan as member on March 2, 1992.
Uzbekistan, with its ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, is heir to Muslims’ glorious past. Bukhara was hometown of philosopher and physician Ibn Sina (b. 980) and Imam Bukhari. Samarkand was centre of learningand history. Tashkent was hometown of Musa Khwarezmi, the 9th centry mathematician; Abu Reikhan al-Biruni, the 10th century polymath and philosopher; Ulugh Beg, the 15th century astrnomer, who built an observatory at Samarkand, and late 15th century poet Ali Shir Navai.
One of the two original copies of Holy Qur’an, promulgated by the third Caliph of Islam, Uthman ibn Affain, is kept in the Tashkent Museum.
Uzbekistan is the site of one of world’s oldest civilizations. It first existed as province of Sogdiana in the ancient Persian empire and was conquered by Alexander in the 4th century BC. Turkish nomads came during the 6th century AD. Uzbekistan was ruled by the Arab Muslims in the 8th century. Seljuk Turks captured it in the 12th century. During 13th century, the barbaric hordes of Genghis Khan overran the country. Samarkand was capital of Sultan Tamerlane. The Seljuk empire eventually broke into Khanates of Bukhara, Kokand and Khiva, which kept fighting with each other – thus became an easy prey for the Russian Bear, which occupied them, one by one, in late 19th century.
Uzbeks are 90% Muslims belonging to Hanafi school, the rest are Russian Orthodox Christian and Jews.
Lately the US has been wooing Karimov for its political and economic interests.
Israel was one of the first UN member to establish diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan in 1992. In 1990s, the Jewish population in Uzbekistan was around 93,000 – most of them have since migrated to occupied Palestine, while around 30,000 still live in Uzbekistan. More than 400 ‘Israeli experts’ are in Uzbekistan to ‘train’ local people. An average of 4,000 Israeli tourist visit Uzbekistan annually. In 2005, Israelis faked a suicide-bombing attack on its embassy in Tashkent – killing Georgiy Aleksandrov 53, a Russian. According to the Jewish daily Forward, the American Jewish groups have very cosy relationship with Karimov regime for its “positive attitude toward the local Jewish community and Israel as well as its hawkish stand against radical Islam.”
Uzbekistan is rich in oil, natural gas and gold deposits. It is the eighth largest producer of gold in the world and the Murantau mine is the world’s largest single, open-cast gold mine in the Kyzylkum desert. The mine produces about 70% of country’s average annual output of 70 metric tons of gold. In addition to gold – silver, uranium, copper, lead, zinc, and tungsten is also found in Uzbekistan.