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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
ABSTRACT: In this paper I investigate the role of new media in culture change through considering
reproduction of Islamic knowledge and political mobilization on the Web. While using Hisb-ut-
Tahrir’s (the Party of Liberation) website as a case study of new media technologies and a practicing
Muslim community in the Ferghana oblast’ as a particular community of practice, I argue that in order
to understand the role of the new media in culture change one needs to consider three main domains
(1) production (representation, messages on the Web), (2) reception (reading and discussion on the
Web or/and within a community at question), and (3) reproduction (practice). In the following analysis
I will trace the relationships among these seemingly unrelated domains.
[1] SOCIAL SITUATION: Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, several Central Asian
governments have embarked on a campaign against oppositional religious groups. One of these
groups in the region is Hisb-ut-Tahrir, the Party of Liberation. New York-based Human Rights
Watch (HRW) (May 2002) and Associated Press (May 2002) reported a growing number of
women affiliated with Hisb-ut-Tahrir who were arrested for alleged extremist activities in
Central Asia.
On the 24
of April 2002, four women were sentenced in a Tashkent court
(Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan) for their participation in the activities of the Party of
Liberation. The sentences ranged from a two-year suspended sentence to four years
imprisonment. Some of the arrested women were accused of distributing Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s
leaflets and publicizing the Party’s ideas.
[2] Islam Karimov, the current president of Uzbekistan, publicly labeled Hisb-ut-Tahrir as a
radical and extremist group and insisted on a systematic persecution of this organization. Some
of the human rights activists, however, warned the Uzbek government that such a persecution
would only fuel the militancy and secrecy of this group: “If [the repression] continues, it’s only
going to continue to feed the ground for the fostering of more extremist groups that have no
other avenue to voice their peaceful beliefs” (Marie Struther, 2002, an HRW’s interim
representative in Tashkent).
I suggest that in order to understand the Uzbek government’s

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
reaction to Hisb-ut-Tahrir activities, which is a relatively recent phenomenon, one should create
a theoretical bridge between (1) the messages propagated by the Party as they are for example
represented on the Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s website and discussed on the list serves and group e-mails
and (2) the activities taking place in the region.
[3] METHODOLOGY: Methodological framework applied in this analysis is centered on the
following three methodological paradigms: (1) Content analysis; (2) Ethnographic research; and
(3) Literature review.
[4] 1. Content analysis: I take Internet communication to be a form of human communication
that utilizes the Net as a communication channel. The means of Web communication is the
exchange of information data of certain content. The content of Internet communication
includes, but is not limited to text, graphics, sound, and/or video. The content is crucial to our
understanding of political messaging and mobilization on the Web. It is often overlooked in
research on religious political parties by way of prioritizing practice over content, or by
superimposing a set of preconceived characteristics such as “extremist” and “terrorist” on their
practice without considering content of their ideological platforms (c.f. Hroub 2000).
[5] The World Wide Web is a space for the dissemination and retrieval of information. There
are three broad categories of Internet communication (1) communication, (2) interaction, and (3)
information. These categories are often used as complimentary. By this I mean that one may be
simultaneously interacting, communicating and gathering information on the Web. Additionally,
Internet communication can be utilized individually or shared as a group experience (c.f. Black
et al. 1983).
[6] Internet communication often leaves a number of artifacts as evidence of an on-going flow
of information. For example, an e-forum, which is basically an Internet discussion group,

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
produces sets of messages on different (often related) topics – e-threads. There are other e-
artifacts, such as Web pages and Listserv discussion lists. These artifacts can be further
examined and analyzed by a researcher. The interpretive construal of these and other artifacts
depends on the goals of the study. The goal of this study is to understand the role of the new
media in culture change. More specifically I will attempt to create a theoretical bridge between
(1) the messages propagated by the Party of Liberation (Hisb-ut-Tahrir) as they are represented
on the Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s website and discussed on the list serves and group e-mails and (2) the
activities taking place in the region. Consequently, the units of content analysis for this paper are
as follows:
(1) Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s website, more specifically the web pages that constitute the website
(2) Several e-threads from Ali Shariati e-forum
(3) Personal e-mail messages
(4) Transcripts of Hisb-ut-Tahrir Listserv
(5) Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s leaflets
(6) Transcripts of e-news
[7] Content analysis often is thought of in terms of conceptual or thematic analysis (Smith
1992). In the latter, the analysis involves quantifying and totaling the presence (or absence) of an
examined concept or a category and additionally may focus on looking at the implicit or explicit
occurrence of selected terms (or categories) within a text (see the units of analysis above). The
data used in this paper is gathered through the following steps:
Steps 1. Finding code for a concept (category)
I used three categories for this content analysis political, economic, and socio-cultural.
Step 2. Finding what would qualify as an implicit form of this concept (category)
The implicit and explicit forms of the following categories are qualified by the following

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
“Does it contribute more to a (1) political-ideological (2) economic, and (3) socio-cultural
change? In what ways?”
Step 3. Coding the units of analysis for existence or/ and frequency of this concept
I hand-coded the units of analysis.
Step 4. Deciding on a level of generalization
For example, such words as “political, politics, politician, politicized,” and their synonyms
(government, political views, etc.) constitute political-ideological category.
Step 5. Deciding on translation rules – interpretation and its criteria.
I had to concentrate on the aforementioned categories, consider historical context around
the postings and leaflets and thus interpret the data.
Step 6. Rejecting irrelevant information
I had to reject all the irrelevant information such as the books prohibited and permitted by
the Hizb (the Party), and e-threads that had promotional or personal notes, which did not
include any political discussions.
Step 7. Analysis of the data
I analyzed the data as I went through the process of writing and plan to review the analysis
when time permits.
[8] Content analysis has its advantages and disadvantages. In terms of its advantages content
analysis (1) focuses on the central aspect of social interaction by looking directly at the texts or
transcripts; (2) allows for both quantitative and qualitative operations; (3) provides valuable
socio-cultural and political insights over time through analysis of communication; (4) provides a
venue for an unobtrusive means of analyzing interactions; and (5) provides insight into both
cultural models that underline the practice and practice itself through an analysis of language
use. The disadvantages of content analysis are as follows. It is (1) extremely time consuming; (2)
subject to error during interpretation; (3) too liberal to draw meaningful inferences about the
relationships among the actors of the study; and (4) inherently reductive. Most importantly, it
often disregards the context of the text. In order to overcome these limitations, I also utilized
ethnographic analysis and extensive review of the relevant literature.
[9] 2. Ethnographic paradigm: I carried out a five-week ethnographic pilot-study in the
Ferghana oblast’s (Summer 2001). An oblast’ is an administrative unit which is smaller than a

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
region but larger than a county. I met more than forty families, extended and nuclear, and over
two hundred individuals during this pilot-study. Some of these individuals, i.e., about sixty, are
the members of the aforementioned families. Others (about one hundred and forty) were either
consultants or experts in such areas as Islamic beliefs and practices, medical practices or
reproductive health. Although the methodology applied in that study was constructed to enable
me to learn more about an Islamic approach to reproductive health, some of the data, which I
call, residual data was related to Hisb-ut-Tahrir activities in the area.
[10] In order to carry out an efficient research, my methodological framework consisted of the
following ethnographic methods:
(1) Through the application of participant-observation, I both participated in and observed
religious practices, individual religious rites and rituals such as qirq (a ritual performed on the
day after the funeral), or duba (feasting and crying at the gravesite). I also observed and
participated in interactions among local religious leaders and local populations, among male and
female religious leaders, and among religious leaders and non-locals (such as migrants and
foreigners). While staying on the weekends in the individuals’ homes, I tried to systematically
observe their everyday lives. Sometimes I took part in domestic chores pertaining to different
times of the day, in the social interactions surrounding them, and in religious rites and rituals
performed at home. Thus, participant-observation allowed me to gain an insight into the
domestic chores, religious rites, religious celebrations, family gatherings, intra-family and
communal conflicts, debates, inconsistencies and compromises in families’ everyday lives (e.g.
Lamb 2000).
(2) Structured interviews. Structured interviews were used in the early stage of the project.
They included a preconceived set of questions regarding religious practices and beliefs, religious

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
networks and institutions (its members, fluidity of the membership, frequencies of their
gatherings), and their interconnectedness with other socio-cultural institutions in the area such as
political parties represented in the area. This method helped me to identify religious beliefs and
practices, and communal religious leaders, both male and female.
(3) Unstructured or open-ended interviews. Unstructured or open-ended interviews covered
such thematic topics as (1) religious beliefs and practices; (2) among the members of religious
networks. I hope that this open-ended method created a comfortable and safe environment
between the interviewee and interviewer, which was important in the process of building a
rapport. It also allowed for the discussion of such sensitive issues as Islam and politics.
[11] I also used other methods in the pilot study. They, however, are not immediately
important to the main subject of this paper. Thus, interpretations and suggestions put forward in
this report are not absolute. They are informed by my experiences in and of the peoples living in
the region during the duration of the project. In order to supplement the aforementioned methods
in this study, I also utilized discourse analysis. I want to clarify what I mean by discourse in this
paper. Discourse can be understood in two senses as linguistic and social. The former
understanding of discourse refers to “connected segments of speech or writing, larger than single
utterance” (Conley & O’Barr 1998: 6). In this linguistic sense, discourse includes, for example,
conversation, stories and interpersonal discussions (both actual and electronic). The study of how
the segments of speech are structured and how they are used in communication is discourse
[12] The second sense of discourse is as an abstract social phenomenon; “discourse in this
sense is the broader range of discussions that takes place within a society about an issue or set of
issues” (Conley & O’Barr 1998: 7).
In other words, discourse in its social sense is the way in

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
which something is talked about rather than act of talking itself; it is “a locus of power” and is
contested (Conley & O’Barr 1998:7). The dominance of a discourse in the social world is
constantly challenged by alternative discourses. Thus, a dominant discourse is always
negotiating with and competing against different resisting discourses and is neither ultimate, nor
inevitable (Conley & O’Barr 1998).
[13] Analytically, one might want to distinguish between discourse in the linguistic sense as
micro-discourse, and discourse in the social sense as macro-discourse. Yet, this analytical
distinction should not make one think that micro-discourse and macro-discourse are
disconnected. Discourse, as everyday talk, is an entry point into discourse as social phenomenon.
Alternative discourses - for example discourses of resistance - can also be accessed through
analysis of discourse in the linguistic sense. The data that are analyzed in this paper – e-
discussions – offer dissident commentaries on the dominant discursive and social representations
of both religious orthodoxy and state practices. These commentaries in part reflect the speaking
or e-mailing subjects’ various strategies of speaking and writing.
[14] I proceeded with discourse analysis of the data (identified above p.3) through the
linguistic into the social sense of discourse, extrapolating the sign-poles of political mobilization
and dissidence through attentive analysis of the themes and the order of messages in a thread. In
the body of the paper, I used some of the discursive vignettes from a Listserv and e-forums in
order to exemplify some of the theoretical points, but more importantly, to give a taste of and to
provide glimpses into the boardees’ participation in the reproduction and change of their
religious-political world via e-strategies.
[15] 3. I also made use of an additional literature about political communication and its
contemporary theorizing. I reviewed vast printed material about (1) other Islamic movements

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
(e.g. Hroub 2000), (2) critical discussions of Islam, as it is represented in the writing and public
media (e.g. Naficy & Gabriel 1993, Karim 2000), (3) the role of media in Islamic communities
(e.g. Curran & Park 2000), (4) the variety of Islamic sources on the Web (e.g. Lawrence 2002),
and (5) critical approaches to political communication (e.g. Eickelman & Anderson 1999).
domain of: [PRODUCTION]
[16] By the end of the XX century, Islam had conquered the Web. An overwhelming
diversity of Muslim voices is now represented by a variety of websites, Listserv-s, e-chat boards,
and e-magazines. As a result of the recent “media-sation of Islam” (Eickelman & Anderson
1999) one can find information about and presented by independent cultural associations (e.g.
Muslim Students Association []), governments (e.g. Saudi Arabia
[]), private individuals and small groups (Muslim
women []) surfing the Web. Thus, the Internet became a space and a tool that
both reproduces and challenges existing Islamic knowledge via e-debates. It also became a tool
in the on-going perpetuation of stereotypes about, a space for propaganda against (e.g. Accessed 3-June-02) and exotization of Islamic
communities worldwide (see numerous travel and entertainment websites).
[17] Islam is often spoken about not only as a body of religious beliefs and practices, but also
as a polity (Lawrence 2002:238). This is to say that in a Muslim community religious authority is
also considered being political authority (and vice verse). This amalgamation of religious and
political authority resulted in the Western media’s representation of Islam as a primary “Other”

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
(Karim 2000: 4). This Othering of Islam (1) informs the public perception of its religious beliefs
and practices and bears practical consequences (see the post effects of 9/11/01).
[18] The media coverage of the civil war in Lebanon, Palestine, and the Gulf War and the
images of the Islamic movements associated with these events have been primarily negative.
Karim (2000) argues that although a growing number of “Northern opinion leaders (journalists
included)” try to distinguish between the vast diversity of Muslim groups “the dominant
perspectives on Islam tend to subvert these alternative approaches” (p. 4). Not only are
politically active Islamic groups represented as a threat to Western civilization, but cultural
practices such as veiling and Islamic dress have also been perceived as a threat to the Western
way of life as well (op. cit., Lueg 1995:8). Seeing Islam as the threat, argue some scholars, “our
shortsightedness achieves exactly what it fears: the continued encouragement of Islamist
tendencies and their radicalization” (Lueg 1995: 15).
[19] Islamic parties/networks have always been a part of Islamic discourse (Lapuidus &
Burke 1988). These religious links play different roles within and outside Islamic communities.
Some states utilize Islamic links as a way of maintaining administrative control over their
citizens abroad. Others try to use these Islamic links as a way of extending secular political
interests (e.g. Uzbekistan, Egypt, and Turkey).
[20] Islamic networks expand beyond the state boundaries by building their networks abroad.
For example, the Jama’at-i-Islam of Pakistan (the Society of Islam, originated in India 1941), a
right-wing group with Saudi connections that has strong support among Muslims in Britain,
“organizes Pakistanis in Britain in support of campaigns both there and in Pakistan” (Halliday
1995:75). Such Islamic networks are modern movements, which “should not be seen as mere
reactions to modernism, but as a cultural and social product that is itself modern” (Bishara 1995:

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
85). Bishara, in the analysis of politico-religious movements in the Middle East, argues that these
movements “should not be confused with romantic aspirations to restore a lost harmony between
the individual and society or between society and nature...political religion should not be
confused with popular or folk religion” (p. 85).
[21] Finally, Islamic movements are simply the passive objects of media discussion. They
have gained a platform in different kinds of media, Internet included. Starting with posting
Islamic texts on-line in the 1980s, the so-called “technological adapts” (Anderson 2001) brought
Islam on the Web. The e-Holy Qur’an and e-Hadith of the Prophet prompted different responses
from those Muslims that had an access to the Internet and a specialized knowledge of Web
navigation. E-discussion groups, Listserv-s, e-forums sprung up on the fertile soil of digital space
over time, thus creating a foundation for a new public space on the Web.
[22] Since the 1980s, the contents of i-Islam expanded dramatically. Not only textual
representations of the authoritative Islamic writings but also alternative, often radical views
calling for cultural and political change in different social contexts joined the multivocality of the
Web (Anderson 2001; also see Gaffney 1995). Hisb-ut-Tahrir, the Party of Liberation, is one
these voices.
[23] THE CASE STUDY: The case study for this paper is Hisb-ut-Tahrir, the Party of
Liberation, and its website In the following sections of the paper I will
briefly review the production of Islamic knowledge by the Party, i.e. the contents of the website
(leaflets, news, Islamic literature, and its analyses of the current political developments globally).
The following analysis is based solely on the contents of the website and excludes additional
sources, such as the Party’s printed publications.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
[24] Following Hroub (2000), I suggest that Hisb-ut-Tahrir is an emerging actor of culture
change in Uzbekistan and elsewhere, and needs to be studied, analyzed and understood on its
own terms, i.e. the political sources put forward by the Party and the Party’s praxis. A half-
century history of Hisb-ut-Tahrir and the current empirical evidences from Uzbekistan signal a
critical deficit of understanding of this Islamic political movement. The Web on the other hand,
offers comprehensive material about the political agenda and ideological underpinnings of the
movement’s activities. This material, although available, is often ignored by the public and press
assessments’ of Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s activities. In the historical context of the year 2002, the banner
of Islam and Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s criticism of America’s and other European countries’ foreign and
national polities (see the Party’s criticism of the US Afghanistan’s campaign) often preclude the
readers from indulging into a critical reading and analysis of the Party’s ideological statements
and political methodology.
[25] THE PARTY: Hizb-ut-Tahrir is a political Party that claims to propagate Islam as its
ideology. The Party was established in 1953 (1372 AH) under the leadership of the scholar of
Islamic Law and politician, qadi (jurist, judge) in the Court of Appeals in al-Quds (Palestine),
Taqiuddin al-Nabhani. It was established primarily as a response to the founding of the State of
Israel. The political goals of the Party are to work within and (larger Islamic community)
towards the restoration of the Khilafah (Islamic State) ruled by the Shari’ah (Islamic Law): the
Party’s purpose is “to revive the Islamic from the severe decline that it had reached, and to
liberate it from the thoughts, systems and laws of Kufr [non-Muslims], as well as the domination
and influence of the Kufr states. It also aims to restore the Islamic Khilafah State so that the
ruling by what Allah (s.w.t.) revealed returns.”

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
[26] Hisb-ut-Tahrir defines an Islamic State as the Khilafah State, i.e. the state in which
Muslims appoint a Khaleefah (the Ruler, Guardian), listen and obey his orders on condition that
he rules according to the Book of Allah (Qur’an) and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah
(Hadith of the Prophet). The ruler is also expected to convey Islam as a message to the world
through da’wah (good deeds) and jihad (holy struggle through education). The revival of the
Ummah (global Muslim community) is to be carried out “through enlightened thought” (see the
section on the Party Culture
[27] In terms of its membership, the Party accepts Muslim men and women as its members
regardless of their nationality and ethnicity, colours (sic.) and madhahib (Schools of Islamic
Thought). The Party members are expected to adopt the thoughts and opinions of Hisb-ut-Tahrir.
The women’s part of the Party is separate from its males’ counterpart. The women’s part is
expected to be supervised by either women’s husbands, relatives who they cannot marry or by
other women.
[28] Hizb ut-Tahrir’s definition of the Party’s activities is limited by its political agenda and
exclusive of academic, educational or charity activities. By this I mean that Hizb ut-Tahrir does
not debate theological issues and is not concerned with a socio-educational agenda like other
Islamic movements (e.g. Hizballah in Lebanon or Islamic Renaissance Party in Tajikistan). It
aims at changing “the society’s existing thoughts… and emotions” (sic.) to “Islamic thoughts
…and emotions” (sic.) until Islamic thoughts and emotions will become the overwhelming
public opinion and feelings among the members of a community at question, who, then, will be
driven to implement and act upon these Islamic thoughts and emotions. By “Islamic” the Party
means everything that is pleasing to Allah (God): by “non-Islamic” – the opposite, i.e. that which
is detestable to Allah.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
[29] Finally, the Party works to change the relationships in the society until they become
Islamic relationships, i.e. social relationships that are in accordance with the Shari’ah (Islamic
Law). These actions Hisb-ut-Tahrir considers to be political actions, which are manifestations of
the Party’s intellectual and political struggle. Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s political struggle also includes
radical criticism of the existing governments in the Muslims communities worldwide: the Party’s
political activism “appears in challenging the rulers, revealing their treasons and conspiracies
against the Ummah , and by taking them to task and changing them if they denied the rights of
the Ummah , or refrained from performing their duties towards her, or ignored any matter of her
affairs, or violated the laws of Islam” (see
[30] Islam is a universal ideology, yet because of the linguistic, socio-cultural and political
diversity of Muslims globally; Hisb-ut-Tahrir finds it necessary to start working in one country,
or a few countries, until the Islamic State is established in these countries. Thus, the Arab
countries, according the Party’s agenda, “are the most suitable location to start carrying” its
activities. Later Hisb-ut-Tahrir expanded its activities into non-Arab Muslim countries as well
(e.g. Uzbekistan and Turkey). The criterion that marked this transition from the Party’s activities
in the Arab world into non-Arab Muslim countries is unclear.
[31] Using the Prophet Muhammad as an example, and especially the Prophet’s experiences
and practice in Makkah (a holy city in Saudi Arabia where Muhammad was first sent as a
Messenger), the Party’s praxis, its methodology for action, is based on the following stages
(cited directly from “The Party Culture” section http://www.Hisb-ut-
The stage of culturing to produce people who believe in the idea and the method of the
Party, so that they form the Party group.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
The stage of interaction with the member, to let them embrace and carry Islam, so that
they take it up as their issue, and thus work to establish it in the affairs of life.
The stage of establishing government, implementing Islam generally and
comprehensively, and carrying it as a message to the world.
[32] POLITICAL PROCESS: In the first stage, the current Party members approach and
make contacts with the members of the Islamic community at question, presenting on an
individual basis Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s goals and methods. Those who accept the basic goals of Hisb-
ut-Tahrir then undergo an intensive study in the circles of the Party “so that he became purified
by the thoughts and rules of Islam adopted by the Party and thus in the process became an
Islamic personality.” When a person reaches this stage, s/he becomes a member of the Party.
After the Party structure is formed out of a number of devoted members and a society at question
recognize it, the Party moves to the second stage. In this stage, Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s members start to
not only approach individuals, but also talk to the masses collectively, what Hizb calls “the
collective culturing of the masses.” Utilizing lessons, lectures, and talks in the mosques, Islamic
centers and other gathering places, whilst using all possible media outlets, such as books, press,
Listserv-s and leaflets, Hisb-ut-Tahrir confronts “the fraudulent concepts by exposing their
falsehood, defects and contradiction with Islam, in order to deliver the Ummah from them and
from their effects.”
[33] Thus, Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s political struggle against “the Kufr [non-Muslim, unbelievers]
colonialist states which have domination and influence on the Islamic countries” through
intellectual, political, economic and military domination involves exposing the plans and
conspiracies of the current “colonialist” regimes in order to liberate the Ummah (global Islamic
community). The rulers represent the colonialist regimes. Thus, Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s more specific

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
objective is to struggle against the rulers in the Arab and Muslim countries, “by exposing them,
taking them to task, acting to change them whenever they denied the rights of the Ummah or
neglected to perform their duty towards her, or ignored any of her affairs, and whenever they
disagreed with the rules of Islam, and acting also to remove their regimes so as to establish the
Islamic rule in its place.”
[34] Hisb-ut-Tahrir, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad, commits itself to the
non-violent activities: “…the Party restricted itself to political actions alone and did not exceed
them by resorting to material actions against the rulers or against those who opposed its da’wah
(faith), following the example of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) who restricted himself in
Makkah solely to the da’wah and he (s.a.w.) did not carry out any material actions until he had
migrated to Madinah.” Yet the Party does not restrict its members to fight in defense of their
respective homelands: “whenever the disbelieving enemies attack an Islamic country it becomes
compulsory on its Muslim citizens to repel the enemy. The members of Hizb ut-Tahrir in that
country are a part of the Muslims and it is obligatory upon them … to fight the enemy and repel
them. Whenever there is a Muslim amir [ruler] who declares jihad [holy struggle] to enhance the
Word of Allah (s.w.t.) and mobilizes the people to do that, the members of Hizb ut-Tahrir will
respond in their capacity as Muslims in the country where the general call to arms was
[35] THE WEBSITE: Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s website is multilingual. The material is presented in
eight languages Turkish, Arabic, Dutch, Russian, English, French, Danish, and Urdu. Some of
the e-pages of the site that correspond to the aforementioned languages are still under
construction. The main page brings out a multilingual menu that
consists of the table of multilingual pages. After choosing the language of the page, one is

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
prompted to the menu of the pages’ contents. There are eight hyperlinks in the English version of
the site with the immediate connection to the Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s publications, recent news
discussed in the leaflets, the Party’s analyses of the current political issues globally, and
approved and disapproved Islamic literature. Finally, one can contact the Party by sending a
message to the site administrator Unfortunately, I was not able to get any
response from the site administrator in time for the completion of this project.
[36] THE LEAFLETS: Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s leaflets represent a special interest to this project.
They are posted monthly in the “Wilaya Publications” section and address the most current
political issues. For example, the April 2002 leaflet denounces George Bush’s position towards
the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which Hizb (the Party) considers to be “the third
crusade against Muslims” ( Accessed 10-Jun-
02). In the December 2001 leaflet Hisb-ut-Tahrir rhetorically attacks American incursion into
Afghanistan and calls on Muslims to mobilize public criticism of their governments’ positions on
this issue in their respective communities.
[37] For the purposes of this project, I reviewed and analyzed Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s leaflets that
address issues in Central Asia and in Uzbekistan specifically. As I have identified in the previous
section of the paper the Hizb’s political activities include radical criticism of the existing
governments and rulers through “revealing their treasons and conspiracies against the Ummah,
and by taking them task” for violating the laws of Islam (see “the Party Culture” section).
Neither Uzbekistan’s government and country’s social structure nor its president Karimov escape
this radical criticism:
Karimov the president of Uzbekistan does not care about this [Muslims] strong desire for
Islam; instead he slaughtered this desire and transformed the county from the authority of

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
godless, Kaafir [unbeliever] communism into the authority of Kaafir capitalist United
[38] Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s criticism of the existing regime in Uzbekistan is constructed along three
lines: political, economic, and socio-cultural. In terms of politics – the Party denounces the
current government’s national and international relations and policies as well as its political
structure. The leaflets are particularly concerned with the government’s policies against
practicing Muslims and members of Hisb-ut-Tahrir. The leaflet of 01-Jun-2001 is constructed as
a list of “torments and tortures carried out against members of Hizb-ut Tahrir (sic.) in prisons of
Navoi, Qarshi and Zarafshan of the Republic of Uzbekistan.” It recounts the human rights abuses
that the members of the Party are experiencing while in detention and presents excerpts from the
testimonies of the detainees and their relatives.
[39] Hisb-ut-Tahrir also finds the Uzbek economic system to be inadequate. While the current
system benefits the government, ruling elites in particular, and international corporations (e.g.
Newmont Mining Corporation, headquarters in Denver Colorado, produces 17 tons of pure gold
per annum in Uzbekistan and it at 50% stock share with Uzbek government)
, the majority of
Uzbekistan’s population, according to the leaflet of 16-Sep-2000, struggles to make both ends
meet. The root of Uzbekistan’s politico-economic problems, argues Hisb-ut-Tahrir, is in its
social structure, namely in the disintegration of Islamic Ummah into separate nations (Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan). This systematic effort to undermine the
unity of Islamic Ummah is obscured by the government’s affirmation of independence,
nationalism and patriotism.
[40] Finally, the Constitution and laws of Uzbekistan trigger Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s criticism as
well (see the leaflet of 07-Dec-2001). The Constitution adopted in December 1992 by the
Supreme Council of Uzbekistan contradicts Islamic doctrine that establishes Qur’an as the law.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
According to Hisb-ut-Tahrir “the major law of the state, that defines the basic construction of the
society and state, the system of state laws, rights and obligations of citizens” should be Shari’ah
(Islamic Law). Hence, the solution advocated by Hisb-ut-Tahrir is the struggle against colonial
Kaafir rule (whether it is Russia, America or Britain) and unity of the Ummah (here the Muslims
of Central Asia) under one Khaleefah (the ruler).
[41] The Party propagates these and other messages via their representations on the Indeed, “the encounter between Islam and the transnational
technologies of communication [is]…as multifaceted as the religion itself” (Mandaville 1999:23
cited in Lawrence 2002). Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s encounter with the Web, through its utilization of this
technology of communication, is one of the existing representations of Islam on the Internet. The
Party’s platform and e-activities, on the one hand, reinforce conservative Islamic Orthodoxy by
accepting only the Qur’an and the Hadith as authoritative literary sources and by excluding any
contestation of its ideology both theologically and spatially. Theological elimination of any
debate is reproduced through grounding Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s politically ideology in the Qur’an and
the Prophet’s Muhammad activities, and these are unchallengeable and unquestionable sources in
Islamic discourse. The spatial elimination of the debate is reproduced through a lack of e-space
for discussion of the Party’s doctrine, activities, and publications.
[42] On the other hand, although the site’s construction and theological underpinnings
preclude the receiving side from participating, it does provide alternative and critical assessments
of the current socio-political and economic issues in Central Asia and elsewhere. It serves as a
channel of communication for a broad transnational audience, which experiences interactivity
and discussion of the Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s information elsewhere: the lack of public space on the site
is regained by the receivers through their utilization of other e-spaces on the Web. Hence, this

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
media channel both constrains and enables public participation (op. sit., Hanson 1998). Indeed,
the digital space acquires secondary agency (cf. Gell, 1999), by providing other public spaces for
those ruled out of participation at the site. The following sections of the paper will analyze how
and where the information presented @ is then discussed in the
[43] Following Lawrence (2002) I want to start this analysis with the recognition that one’s
participation on the Web is predicated on one’s technological knowledge (one’s ability to surf
the Web), linguistic competency (one’s performance of spoken and written language), and one’s
economic condition (whether or not one has resources to access and utilize cyberspace). Thus,
the expensive and seemingly expansive technology of the Web is not “as democratic in access as
it is global in scope” (Lawrence 2002:241).
[44] Furthermore, considering social power and control exercised by site administrators and
some governmental institutions (e.g. Echelon surveillance on the US Web,
or Saudi
sponsorship of majority of Islam-related websites e.g., one
might want to question the Net global scope. Finally, e-censorship does not need to have global
or country parameters. It takes place on individual e-forums and in individual e-mails:
Hossein on October 28, 2001 at 05:00:27 (Ali Shariati e-board):
Surprisingly there is censorship in this site too.
Through this site, I was trying to reach my soul mate, which could be one of the people in this line of
thinking. This message was deleted. I would like to say, if this site is just for talk and talk… that is
fine, but it is to serve the follower of Dr. than, I can not see any reason to delete those messages.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
[45] E-political participation is also immediately connected to the users’ “day –to-day reality
which informs and is the broader context for their communications” (Hanson 1998). This is to
say that one’s socio-cultural context with its particular cultural models (cf. Rubinstein 1999) of
and for public participation will frame one’s communication on the Web.
These and other
factors result in a process of pre-selection and filtering of e-massages, e-boardees, i.e., those
discussing issues on e-forums and chat rooms, and e-debated political issues.
[46] Following Kinsey and Chaffee (1996), I suggest that in order to understand the role
of the Web in socio-cultural change one has to consider various channels of political
communication including interpersonal discussions on two levels (1) interpersonal oral
discussion and (2) electronic discussion on the Web. For the purposes of this paper, I will first
consider e-interpersonal discussions. There are different forms of e-interpersonal discussion such
as personal and group exchange of e-mails, Listserv-s, e-groups, e-forums and e-chat rooms.
[47] Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s e-activities, although not discussed on the site, are talked about in
other e-spaces on the Web. These spaces are e-mails among those who are familiar with the site
and the issues raised on it, Listserv-s (e.g. the leaflets distributed via e-mail by Hisb-ut-Tahrir),
e-forums (e.g. Ali Shariati forum and Islamic WeBBS), and e-groups (e.g. Hisb-ut- In the following sections of the paper I will exemplify and analyze
some of the issues raised on an e-board of one the e-forums that participate in these e-
interpersonal discussions.
[48] E-FORUMS: E-forum is a collection of related topics. The forum site contains a number
of pages, the first page often being a listing of current topics discussed in that forum. Each topic
contains the original message and, if applicable, replies to that message.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
[49] E-interpersonal discussions of Islamic issues and polity often involve intended and
unintended audience (Hanson 1998) i.e., the audience that chooses to either be anonymous or use
fictitious characters to represent itself. This choice of self-representation in the e-forums may be
predicated on one’s choice to control the flow of communication by choosing unilateral (without
expecting or accepting a response) instead of dialogical form of discussion. On the Ali-Shariati
e-forum a message such as “you are all dead wrong – Islam is the great Satan” exemplifies a
unilateral form of interpersonal discussion posted by an anonymous boardee; whereas messages
posted by Hisb-ut-Tahrir include the identical characters in the return address and the message
title, thus inviting but not promising a response.
[50] E-forum also provides a space for debates of issues about relationships between
Islam and other religious traditions and discussion of theological conundrums internal to Islam,
such as what are the boundaries of Islamic membership, should members of other than Sunni
Islamic communities be considered Muslims. For example one of the recent discussions sprung
out of the on-going debate about whether Ismaili Muslims are included in Islamic Ummah
(global Muslim community). Here is an example of a message posted by “Sali” (sic.) on
February 27 on Ali Shariati e-board:
Salaam! No one is given the right to judge others. Islam being the religion of peace and tolerance,
accepts everyone regardless of race, origin, previous beliefs, etc. How can such a widely accepted
religion be monolithic? everyone has to have their own ways of interpreting islam in its context. We
ismaili muslims believe in one God, All the prophets, all the imams and ALL the holy books to be
sacred, and render no disrespect to anyone with a belief in God. That is what a muslim is! Not just
practicing what has been taught through generations (sic.).
[51] The discussion of Hisb-ut-Tahrir and its activities was also raised on Ali Shariarti e-
board. “Enlightened Muslim” posted the first message about the Party on October 12, 2001. The
massage was presented in a form of political comment – a leaflet - about Islam and the West.
This posting became an impetus of an on-going exchange of opinions about the Party and

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
relationships between Islam and politics. Recently, April 2002, a discussion about the Hizb
began again by one of the members of the e-forum inquiring about the nature and political stance
of Hisb-ut-Tahrir. The message was followed by a reply, which contained a brief definition of
the Party and the table of the web sites that provide additional information about Hisb-ut-Tahrir
and its political agenda and praxis. This initial stage of communication, an acquaintance with the
organization and its political stance, will possibly be followed by an e-discussion of the Party
and its political agenda in the future. Below I provide an excerpt from the Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s
discussion in 2001. I preserved the original spelling of the messages:
Pharaoh on October 15, 2001 at 19:44:21:
In Reply to: Political Comment by Hizb ut-Tahrir posted by “Enlightened Muslim” on October 12,
2001 at 15:03:54: muslims do this, all muslims do that...
why is it that all christians, or budist or etc. don't?
is it because you folks have no sense of individuality?
All muslims...attack, never mind where they are from, what culture they belong to, never mind all
that just follow the leader
And look how far that thinking got you, show me one advanced muslim country, may be Talibans???
give it up dude.
Posted by “Sammi” on November 09, 2001 at 02:15:18:
In Reply to: Re: Political Comment by Hizb ut-Tahrir posted by “Pharaoh” on October 15, 2001 at
Waco - Christian cult
Oklahoma bombing - Christian loon
IRA - Christian terrorists
Easy to say muslims suck..better to accept that some butt-plugs in the name of religion do things that
goes against the very idea of what they are fighting for. Bin Laden should be strung up along with
the frigging taliban and Al-Queda and hizb-ut-tahir and muhajiroon and all the other so called
'muslim' asses out there....
They bring shame on the rest of us...
[52] To conclude: First, following Giddens (1984) I suggest the human beings participating
in e-interpersonal discussions are knowledgeable agents, whose knowledge of the world is
partially bordered by the unacknowledged conditions and unintended consequences of their
actions. By this I mean that the political e-activities of Hisb-ut-Tahrir intended as a tool of
political and ideological mobilization occasionally bring about e-discussions that not only

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
question the very nature of Hizb political activity, but also vehemently oppose a polity of this
Islamic Party (see the message posted by Pharaoh).
[53] Second, what gets to be discussed on the Web is limited by certain constraints.
These constraints are associated with both structural properties of the system, the Web, and
social systems within which e-boardees are situated. On the one hand, e-surveillance, e-
censorship and self-censorship exemplify some of the constraints on individual political
participation in the e-discussions. On the other hand, economic, political, linguistic and socio-
cultural factors (such as gender and age) constrain individuals from participation in these e-
discussions in their respective socio-cultural systems.
[54] Third, power and its unequal distribution and contestation on the Web are some of
the primary considerations in a study of the role of e-media in social change. Power is a means to
an end, and hence is directly involved in the actions of every discussant. For example, e-boardees
participating in an e-forum are situated in what Foucault calls panopticon, i.e., a spatial
arrangement that makes individuals feel as if they were being watched even in the absence of an
observer (Foucault 1983). It represents the actual power and control of those who observe those
being observed and induces the subjects’ “compliance with the discipline of the institution even
in the absence of the overt surveillance or force” (Surber 1998:214).
[55] Fourth, e-boardees’ everyday sociological knowledge feeds into their e-behavior. They
have reasons for holding to their e-positions. Hisb-ut-Tahrir has ideological and sociological
reasons behind their political e-activities: some of those reasons are stated in the Party platform,
others - need to be further investigated. The knowledge of the boardees’ interactive context will
help to understand the reasons behind their e-positions.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
domain of: [REPRODUCTION]
[56] In some counties (e.g. Yemen, Iran) the governments use all possible media outlets
in propagating religious ideals as political ideology. In contemporary Uzbekistan, however, it is
the governments’ opposition that utilized some media technologies to propagate religious ideals
as political ideology, thus immediately creating the governments’ resistance towards these
oppositional movements: Hisb-ut-Tahrir is one these movements. The fear of opposition and the
challenge to the existing system of social order and control resulted in the production of anti-
religious stance by the current Uzbek government, which is manifested by a growing number of
arrests and limited freedom of expression in the country.
[57] The context of day-to-day interaction, where interpersonal discussions about Hizb-
ut- Tahrir’s political agenda and activities take place, is another extremely important area of the
research. I want to raise two questions regarding this area: (1) What are the channels through
which the leaflets are transmitted and interactive spaces that are discussed? (2) What are the
consequences of these discussions?
[58] Lawrence (2002) defines the Web as a print-auditory-visual-tactile medium.
Following Lawrence (2002), I take the Web to be a medium which not only allows for a physical
contact between the medium and an individual receiver, but also a medium that includes
multiple outlets of information dissemination via visual, audio and printed material. Thus, any
piece of information posted on the Web can possibly be reproduced through the aforementioned
info-outlets: a website can be printed out, consumed aurally via a sound bite, reproduced as
photographic material or as a real-time streaming, quick time video, etc.

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
[59] Hisb-ut-Tahrir utilizes different media technologies for its political activities. The e-
form of leaflets is posted on the Hizb website, is e-mailed simultaneously to the subscribers of
Hisb-ut-Tahrir Listserv, posted on different e-forums, exchanged among individuals via e-mail
messages and printed out. This hard form of leaflets is often photocopied and distributed among
the Party members in different communities or used as propaganda tools in the process of the
Party planting, i.e. acquiring new members.
[60] The social networks in the Ferghana Oblast as their modes and methods of
ideological formation utilize these leaflets. By providing a copy of a website in Turkish and
Russian, Hisb-ut-Tahrir makes the first step to what some called localization of the new media
(Eickelman and Anderson 1999). By localization, I mean that the Party makes the content of
their website available to individuals that populate this Central Asian region, and provides a
leaflet template in regional languages, which can be photocopied and distributed on the first
stage of the Party’s political mobilization, i.e. making information about political corruption and
the possibility of an Islamic state available to the regional Muslims via printed leaflets.
Furthermore, these leaflets provide information about a number of socio-political issues that are
later debated and discussed in the interpersonal meetings among family members (within kin
networks) and friends (social networks, Uzb. gaps). In light of the government’s growing
repression of these and other public (open) discussions labeled as anti-government and extremist,
interpersonal discussions become the only safe space where the political action can take place in
the form of religious-political debates among the confidants.
[61] Thus, in addition to the printed media – the printed and copied leaflets – in the study
of media and culture change in the region one has to consider orality and face-to-face interaction.
These play an important role in reproducing a feasible connection between the messages and

Page 26
Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
their content and human action in regard to Hisb-ut-Tahrir e- and actual activities. It is these
discussions that take a place in a safe and trustworthy environment that “form the basis for local
civic action …” in Uzbekistan (J. White 1999:163).
[62] During my pilot ethnographic project in the Ferghana oblast’ (June-July 2001) I
have observed and participated in a couple of social gatherings at individuals’ homesteads where
governmental and religious criticisms were raised, and the appearance of the leaflets in the
region was discussed by the confidants. I was attentive not only to what was discussed but also to
what topics were left out of the discussion or postponed until a later time, when the space
became “safer,” certain members either left, or were preoccupied with other activities.
[63] The results of the ethnographic research are not sufficient to make any conclusive
judgments about the Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s regional practice, i.e. how the members of the local
communities in the Ferghana oblast’ act upon the messages presented in the leaflets. The
ethnographic project (Summer 2001) was not primarily concerned with this question and thus, I
was equipped to neither adequately gather nor analyze this residual data. Yet, I consider this
question to be an important venue to pursue in the further ethnographic research in the region
[64] The lack of ethnographic data is, to an extent, supplemented by the printed materials
that bear witness to the political unrest in the region related to Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s political practice
in the region. Hereby I cite some of the sources that provide news about the growing political
activities in the region. These sources do not provide unbiased and impartial information. Their
contents are to also be questioned in terms of the reliability:
CENTRAL ASIAN NEWS ( (Accessed 05/16/01) in the article “Askar
Akaev: Islamic extremists know our weak points” by Anatoli Shapovalov, a reporter for the Russian
Gazette, report Akaev, the president of Kyrgyzstan, to say the following: “Religious extremists
consider Kyrgyzia to be a transitory country. The Ferghana Valley, an Islamic expansion and even a
creation of an Islamic State in the region, are the guerrillas’ main goals. They also expect a support

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
from the locals in the Valley. They also account for an overwhelming poverty and social problems.
The Ferghana Valley historically is a region, whereby the strongest form of Islam is abiding.”
“Force is not the way to meet Central Asia’s Islamist Threat,” this comment by Gareth Evans was
published in the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, 10-11 March 2001: “Islam reasserted
itself in Central Asia as the Soviet Union collapsed. This was tolerated initially but the ruling elites
in the new states, little changed from Soviet days, soon concluded that independent Islamic activists
threatened their power. They cracked down heavily on any religion-related activity not controlled by
the semi-official religious administrations established in Soviet times. The governments justify
repression by pointing to real enemies, especially the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which
pledges to over throw the region’s strongest government and operates on the territory of all
three…All three governments profess concern about Hisb-ut-Tahrir, a movement that wants to
restore the Caliphate (sic.) the religious state which once united Muslim lands…But the evidence
suggests that the threat is being overstated. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has only 1000
fighters. A senior Uzbek official admitted privately that claims of a partnership between the
movement and Hisb-ut-Tahrir are propaganda. Ethnic differences prevent much cooperation the
movement and the Taliban, with which regional governments are making their own
accommodations… what is evident, is growing repression of all Islamic activity not under tight
government control. Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s claim that 50000 to 100000 Muslims are in Uzbek
concentration camps is unconfirmed, but the government acknowledges camps. And International
Crisis Group’s fieldwork indicates that arrests have been occurring on a large scale.”
“Uzbek police Detain Members of Banned Religious Movement” an article located on (Accessed 04/27/01) makes the
following remark: “As a result of urgent measures taken by officers of the republic’s Ministry of
Internal Affairs, a leader of the banned Hezb-e Tahrir (sic.) religious extremist movement in
Uzbekistan, Fayzullah Aghzamov, who had been on the police wanted list since 1998, his envoy for
the Yunusobob district of the city of Tashkent and Tashkent district of Tashkent Region Husniddin
Hikmatov, and other persons who had also been on the police wanted list for printing and
distributing Hezb-e Tahrir literature, namely Abdurahim Rasulovv and Rusam Muradov, were
detained. After an investigation was launched into the case a secret printing center was discovered.
The place was used for publishing various kinds of pernicious literature belonging to the Hezb-e
Tahrir religious extremist movement. A big consignment of new literature prepared for distribution
and special printing and copying equipment were confiscated as material evidence. Criminal
proceedings have been instituted.”
[65] These and other sources indicate Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s political presence and activity in the
region via printed leaflets and interpersonal discussions. They represent the kinds of cultural
changes that the Party activities bring about both nationally and internationally. The discussions
of the leaflets in the region exemplify the former and the e- and printed discussions of the
regional political life – the latter. Finally, the government’s reaction to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s
political activity in the region is reactionary to the Party’s political goals and praxis that are

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
manifested in interpersonal discussions that challenge the current Uzbek government and its
ruling elite.
[66] In this paper I set out to investigate the role of new media in culture change. Using Hisb-
ut-Tahrir’s (the Party of Liberation) website as a case study of new media technologies, I argued
that in order to understand the role of the new media in culture change one needs to consider
three main domains (1) production, i.e., representation of the messages on the Web, (2)
reception, i.e., reading and discussion on the Web or/and within a community at question, and (3)
reproduction, i.e., practice prompted by ideological statements during and after their discussion.
In this paper I considered both Muslim e-community and Muslim communities in the Ferghana
oblast’ (Uzbekistan) regarding interpersonal discussions of the site’s contents and the content of
the leaflets. My main goal was to create a theoretical bridge between processes of production via
reception to reproduction of Hisb-ut-Tahrir’s political activities. In other words, I attempted to
establish a correspondence between the communicated messages on the Web and the practices
regarding political mobilization and relations with the state within a particular community – a
community of practicing Muslims of the Ferghana oblast’ (Uzbekistan). In the above analysis I
traced the relationships among these seemingly unrelated domains.
[67] Eickelman and Anderson argue, “the new technologies of communication facilitate
distinctively modern sense of religious and political identity that, rooted in specific local
contexts, are also systematized on a translocal horizon opened by new forms of communication”
(1999:5). Indeed, a practicing Muslim community in the Ferghana oblast’ and elsewhere
receives an increased amount of political information via the new media technologies, such as

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Lana Peshkova
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Syracuse University (NY). Anthropology Department (Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship), and
Television/Radio/Film Department (Newhouse School of Communications). Spring 2002
the Web, photocopy machine, and telex-fax not only locally, but most often, globally. Hisb-ut-
Tahrir leaflets are reported to travel from Jordan, Pakistan, via Tajikistan to Uzbekistan with
human carriers as well as via different media outlets (personal communications, July 2001).
[68] Yet in order to understand the role of these technologies in on-going socio-cultural
transformations in the region we also need to seriously consider “the ties that bound” (Qur’an
31:22 as cited in Eickelman and Anderson 1999:7). These are the ties of kinship, language, and
national and relational affinity that contribute equally to the reproduction of existing institutions
and creation of an impetus to the dispersion of authority and public space from the intimate
discussions at the social meetings, to telephone, to Internet, to leaflets, to e-discussions, to
interpersonal discussions again. E-leaflets is only one example of educational material utilized in
multiple, overlapping, international conversations, that have a potential to start these political
discussions and expand a public space in a community at question.
ANDERSON, JON W. 1999. “The Internet and Islam’s New Interpreters.” In New Media in the
Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere. Edited by Dale F. Eickelman and Jon W.
Anderson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999. pp. 41-56
_______________ 2001. “Muslim Networks, Muslim Selves in Cyberspace: Islam in the Post-
Modern Public Space” Published on the Web working paper. Prepared for a panel on Public
Spheres in Muslim Societies Today: gender and New Media, Conference in the Japan Islamic
Area Studies Project on “The Dynamism of Muslim Societies, “ Tokyo, October 5-8, 2001. (Accessed 06/10/02)
BARON, NAOMI, S. (1984). “Computer-mediated communication as a force in language
change.” In Visible Language, 18(2), 118-141.
BLACK, S., LEVIN, J., MEHAN, H., & QUINN, C. N. (1983). Real and non-real time
interaction: Unraveling multiple threads of discourse. Discourse Processes, 6(1), 59-75.
CONEY, JOHN, M. AND WILLIAM M. O’BARR. 1998 Just Words. Chicago and London:
University of Chicago Press.

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For more information see ID=6 (Accessed
on 3-Jun-02).
ii ID=6 (Accessed on 3-Jun-02).
This sense follows Foucault (1978, 1985).
The model, which underlies the process of becoming a member of the Party, is build of the Muhammad’s
experiences and practice in Mekkah, where during first three years of his leadership he individually presented to the
members of Mekkahan community the revelations of Allah. He gathered together secretly those who believed in him
on the basis of this ideology. He continued to teach them “until he had melted them with Islam.” Eventually, the
faith in Islam spread in Makkah, “and people started to talk about it and began to enter Islam in groups.”
This inability to interact with the content providers may in fact decrease the number of either followers or aspiring
Muslim, who are interested in becoming members of the Party.
See also (Accessed on 11/06/02)
For more discussion of Echelon see (Accessed on 11/06/02)
For more discussion on cultural models see Hinton 1998, Quinn & Holland 1987.