January 27, 2010
A new documentary argues that radical Islam was a myth in Central Asia – until the region’s leaders started fighting it.
[Danish journalist and filmmaker Michael Andersen has spent years reporting from Central Asia, notably on repression in Uzbekistan under Islam Karimov. His 2008 documentary Andijan: A Massacre Foretold, Forgiven, Forgotten chronicled the violent government crackdown in that city in 2005 and the American and European response. Andersen’s latest film, Breeding Discontent: The Myth of Extremism in Central Asia, which recently aired on Aljazeera English, explores Islamism in Central Asia and the uses to which the terrorist threat is put by governments in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. He discussed the film, and its contention that the region’s regimes might now face an Islamist threat of their own making, in an interview with the Moscow-based news agency Ferghana.ru.]
Ferghana.ru: Why did you decide to make this film?
Michael Andersen: For many years, I have observed how the dictators in Central Asia are using this “threat” from this so-called “extremism” to oppress anybody who disagrees with them. Just by labeling them “extremists” or “terrorists.” And how Western politicians are buying the propaganda of people like the Uzbek dictator, Islam Karimov. That is why I decided to make the film and call it The Myth of Religious Extremism in Central Asia.
Michael Andersen on the double standards behind US support for the brutal Uzbek President, Islam Karimov
The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border