JHU SAIS to Host Events on Islamic Extremism in Central Asia

The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will hold two events related to Islamic extremism in Central Asia on 04/11 and 13.

A daylong conference, "The Emergence of Religious Extremism in Central Asia and the Caucasus" will take place on Tuesday, 04/11 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Kenney Auditorium of SAIS' Nitze Building, located at 1740 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. in Washington.

The extent of Islamic extremism in Central Asia and the Caucasus has been much debated, but two recent and simultaneous events seem to show that it is a huge threat. The Russian province of Daghestan was invaded by Daghestani and Chechen Islamic fighters led by Shamyl Basaev and the "Wahhabi" Khattab-this invasion was the justification for the bloody war still going on in Chechnya. Almost simultaneously, about 1,000 fighters of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, apparently helped by the Taliban, invaded Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan.

Central Asians expect another attack in the spring. Osama bin Laden, who destroyed two American embassies last year, is a major supporter of extremist Islam in both areas. CIA Director Tenet has predicted that Chechnya will now become a magnet for Islamic terrorists. All these issues are drawing American public attention today.

Featured speakers include Vakit Akaev, a scholar from war-torn Grozny who is an expert on extremist Islam; the Imam of Ferghana city in Uzbekistan; "Hank" Kennedy, the president of the Pakistan Society of the U.S., Nazif Shabrani, an expert on Uzbek Islam; Vitali Naumkin, one of the foremost Russian ethnologists from Moscow, and Brenda Schaeffer, an Iran and Caucasus expert from Israel.

The second event, "From Deoband to Batken: Adventures of an Islamic Style," will take place on Thursday, 04/13 from noon to 2 p.m. in the auditorium of SAIS' Rome Building, located at 1619 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

Ahmad Rashid, a correspondent for The Far Eastern Economic Review and Daily Telegraph, is the foremost authority on extremist Islam in the subcontinents, Afghanistan and Central Asia. He will explain the aspects of the Deobandi School of Islam, a major influence on the Taliban and other radical Central Asian movements.

Both events, hosted by the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at SAIS, are free and open to the public, but reservations are

required. To register, contact (202) 663-7721 or crhill@jhu.edu. Members of the media who want to cover these events should contact Felisa Neuringer at the SAIS Public Affairs Office at (202) 663-5626 or fklubes@jhu.edu.

Date: 
Tuesday, April 4, 2000
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Contact Person: 
Felisa Neuringer Klubes
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(202) 663.5626