(NBC4) The suspect in yesterday's terrorist attack in New York City that left eight people dead and at least a dozen injured came to the United States from Uzbekistan, but the country should not be seen as a hotbed for terrorism, experts say.
Uzbeks have been involved in other terrorist acts, but most of the perpetrators appear to have been radicalized after they left the region, according to professors who study Central Asia.
The country, north of Afghanistan, is 88 percent Muslim, though relatively secular because its previous leader, Islam Karimov, cracked down on what he considered "extremist" Islam. Karimov served as president from 1991 until his death last year. […]
After Sept. 11, Uzbekistan volunteered to assist the U.S. in the "war on terror," said Scott Radnitz, an associate professor of Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington.
"The government saw Islam as a threat to the regime and was happy to help repress its opponents," Radnitz said. "There was no serious threat internally from Islamic organizations, despite what some reports may say. The government exaggerated these groups but actual evidence of their activities is scant or nonexistent."
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