A self-styled expert on religious matters in Kyrgyzstan with a penchant for talking up the threat of Islamic radicalism has been attacked by unknown assailants, local outlets have reported.
Kadyr Malikov, who advises government policymakers on all things Islam, was reportedly knifed in the 12th micro-district of the capital, Bishkek, on the evening of November 26.
According to Vesti.kg, citing confirmation from police sources, eyewitnesses saw Malikov running down the street, bloody-faced and screaming “ISIS wants to kill me” following a heated exchange with the driver of a BMW that was blocking his car.
Citing an interview with a doctor, Russian agency Sputnik reported Malikov was being operated on and had suffered deep knife wounds to his face and neck.
Malikov lives in confirmed fear of an attack from the Islamic State group.
The director of the Religion, Law and Politics analytical center, said in January that the Islamic State group was “ready to pour $70 million into Kyrgyzstan to destabilize the situation in the south.”
That figure, which Malikov never substantiated, was repeated this week by a former deputy head of the national security service at a roundtable titled "Extremism and Terrorism in Kyrgyzstan. Tablighi Jamaat: A Threat or Stability for the Future of the Country?"
The roundtable’s long-winded question referred to the proselytizing, but usually apolitical, Muslim sect that has built up a notable following in Kyrgyzstan. Malikov, incidentally, has himself said in the past that there is no basis to ban this particular group.
The attack on Malikov comes amid government hysteria about Islamic radicalism in a year that has seen two violent confrontations between security services and groups billed as extremists. The clashes have left more than a dozen dead and sparked a multitude of questions about the provenance and motivation of the would-be militants.
Police have so far given no indication that the “young people” that attacked Malikov were Islamic radicals. But whatever the truth, it may prove a narrative too compelling to resist.