HC Deb 19 April 2004 vol 420 c337W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Allairs what assessment he has made of the statement by the authorities in Uzbekistan that terrorist attacks in late March were linked to Hizb-ut-Tahrir; and if he will make a statement. [165691]

Mr. Rammell

The Uzbek authorities have yet to conclude their investigations into the terrorist attacks in late March. Their preliminary findings appear to suggest that the perpetrators received training in camps outside Uzbekistan, and may have been influenced by the radical Islamist propaganda of Hizb ut-Tahrir. However, while we believe that this is certainly a possibility, we have yet to see convincing evidence that Hizb ut-Tahrir as an organisation advocates violence or terrorism. Nor are we aware of any co-operation between it and A1 Qaeda.

We strongly believe that a proportionate response is necessary in combating terrorism in order to avoid alienating wider sections of the population, and that permitting free expression of religious belief is the best means of combating the attractiveness to some of the more radical and extremist ideologies.

In a press release issued on 30 March, 1 stated that "We condemn these appalling acts of violence and send our condolences to the families of those innocent victims. Terrorism is a menace which we face in common with countries around the world, and must combat in common. At the same time it is necessary to ensure that our responses are measured and proportionate, so that the disease is isolated and eliminated rather than faced with conditions where it is possible to spread further."We remain willing to receive additional information from the Uzbek authorities as their investigations continue, particularly concerning the alleged role of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

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