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(Forum 18) – “Purges are already underway – religious organizations have immediately fallen under suspicion,” Protestants in the capital Tashkent who preferred not to be named have told Forum 18 News Service, following the Uzbek government’s bloody suppression of a popular uprising in the Fergana Valley. “Local authority and secret police officials are visiting and inspecting churches, and checking up on documentation,” Forum 18 was told. Such visits have taken place throughout Uzbekistan , not just in the Fergana Valley . “Almost weekly there are new cases of fines or interrogations – this is merely business as usual,” Forum 18 was told. The official reason given for the uprising – “Islamic radicalism” – is widely disbelieved, but as long as Islam and other faiths remain highly restricted, fundamentalist Islam is seen as a valid alternative to the current political structure. Some fear the Uzbek crackdown will complicate the situation in neighboring Kyrgyzstan .