The group has thrived and shows signs of expansion. In the last year there have been more reports of its leaflets appearing in northern Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and in several Russian republics, including Tatarstan, where Mr. Dzhalilov boasted that he recently had clandestine meetings with Russian members.
"It is a fact that they have become more active," said Sumar Nasiza, a spokesman for the prosecutor general of Kyrgyzstan.
In all, the party claims to have operations in more than 100 nations, and it has found fertile ground - and recruits - in the combination of endemic poverty and resurgent interest in Islam in Central Asia since the last years of the Soviet Union. The size of its membership is uncertain, with estimates ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands in Central Asia alone. "I do not think even the S.N.B. knows," said Mr. Nasiza, referring to Kyrgyzstan's successor to the K.G.B.
Those who have followed the group cite several concerns about its activities, and they are divided over the best course for limiting its influence.
Just how hard it has been to monitor and manage is evident here in Kyrgyzstan, where the group is nominally banned but has a large enough following that it has come partly into the open. Its members are not hard to find.
Four members interviewed by The New York Times said a ban in Britain would only help the party's work, by drawing attention to it and giving it greater credibility among Muslims disappointed with their station in life.
"Blair's ban is our victory," Mr. Dzhalilov said.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
In today's paper, C.J. Chivers seems perplexed after a person-to-person visit with a Hizb-ut-Tahrir activist in Kyrgyzstan. It seems they really are serious about their Islamist extremism: