Existing threat assessment analyses of crime and terrorism rely on a series of indicators, first and foremost violence. However, these approaches tend to neglect local specificities. In Central Asia and especially in the Fergana Valley, there are radical groups that do not necessarily commit violent behaviour, but yet represent a threat for both their operational areas and the international community. How can the threat of radicalisation be assessed when violence is not a characterising element, and what processes and structures should be taken into consideration to this end? Based on primary data collected during field research, this article challenges conventional threat assessments and the crime–terrorism nexus by looking at how the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb-ut-Tahrir have infiltrated indigenous social structures. This analysis suggests that the nature of security threats in Central Asia needs to be reconsidered by focusing on the informal institutionalisation of radicalisation, and it proposes the use of alternative threat assessment indicators.
Islamist movements in the Fergana Valley: a new threat assessment approach
29 December 2014
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