Islam Abduganievich Karimov (also transliterated as Islom Karimov) (born January 30, 1938) is the President of Uzbekistan (since 1991).
Karimov was born in Samarkand and raised in a Soviet state orphanage. After studying engineering and economics in Tashkent, he became an official in the Communist Party.
He came to power as the party's First Secretary in Uzbekistan in 1989. On March 24, 1990 Karimov became President of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. He declared the independence of Uzbekistan on August 31, 1991 and won elections held on December 29 of that year with 86% of the vote. In 1995, he extended his term until 2000 through a widely criticized referendum, and he was reelected with 91.9% of the vote on January 9, 2000. The United States said that this election "was neither free nor fair and offered Uzbekistan's voters no true choice". The sole opposition candidate, Abdulhasiz Dzhalalov, admitted that he had only entered the race to make it appear to be a democratic contest and that he had actually cast his own vote for Karimov.
Karimov's record on civil rights and press freedom has met with considerable criticism in the international community.
Karimov is fighting against Islamist rebels trying to overthrow his government, and who are believed responsible for terrorist bombings that occurred in late March 2004. He had sentenced Tohir Yuldashev and Juma Khodjiev (also known as Juma Namangani), the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), to death in absentia. Namagani is said to have been killed in Afghanistan, but Yuldashev, who is said to have merged the IMU into the Islamic Movement of Central Asia by 2003, is still at large.
Karimov is married; his wife Tatyana Akbarovna Karimova is an economist. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.