News / Asia

Tajikistan Imposes More Restrictions to Fight Radicalism

Over 1,000 worshippers gather at Dushanbe's central mosque for Friday prayer, Tajikistan, September 30, 2011.
Over 1,000 worshippers gather at Dushanbe's central mosque for Friday prayer, Tajikistan, September 30, 2011.
James Brooke

As fundamentalist violence spreads in Afghanistan, neighboring Tajikistan is moving to control Islamic practices and to curb foreign influence.

First, women were banned from mosques in Tajikistan. Then, a few weeks ago the government banned children under 18 from mosques.

Tajikistan’s population is 98 percent Muslim. But it shares a long border with Afghanistan. The Russian-backed government here wants to keep out radicalism.


Zafar Adullayev, a blogger here, supports the new restrictions. He says the government is taking a middle road between the religious repression of the Soviet era and modern day Islamic fundamentalists who want imposition of sharia law in this traditionally moderate nation.

To limit foreign influence on traditional Islamic practices here, the government last year called home 2,000 Tajik students who were studying in overseas religious schools.

In addition, the government discourages men from wearing beards and women from wearing the tight fitting hijab. Instead women are to wear Central Asia’s traditional, loose fitting, head scarves.

At Dushanbe’s main mosque, Abu Bakr, a 28-year-old bank worker, agrees with the new laws.

Recalling his own youth, he says teenagers are often immature hooligans. He says wisdom comes with age.

But Muhiddin Kabiri predicts government restrictions will backfire. He leads the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, the only Islamic party legally registered in the former Soviet Union.

He says that government controls will push Islam underground, away from moderation and toward “Talibanism.”

With mosques closed to teenagers and most neighborhoods lacking Koranic schools, Kabiri says curious teenagers will learn about Islam through the Internet.

Once on the web, he says, young people easily end up on sites maintained by extremists.

Fifteen years ago, Kabiri’s followers lost a civil war against the secular forces of Emomali Rakhmon, Tajikistan’s Soviet-trained president. Today, Rakhmon is still president, and he is not letting his guard down.

In October, he broke ground here on what is to be the largest mosque in Central Asia.

Largely financed by Qatar, this $100 million mosque is to hold 115,000 worshippers - about one half of the capital’s adult male population.

To channel the faithful into this official mosque, President Rakhmon’s government this year started to close hundreds of neighborhood mosques and madrasahs, or Koranic schools.

Adbullah is the Imam of one neighborhood mosque. He supports the president’s position that parents should be society’s main teachers of Islam.

He says: “Our respected president, Emomali Rahmon said on television that there should be a Koran and a copy of the Constitution in every house.”

But, with more Tajiks living in Afghanistan, than in Tajikistan, the threat is always real of destabilization coming up from the south.

Last month, a Tajik-speaking man dressed in Afghan clothes claimed credit for Tajikistan’s first suicide car bombing, an attack that took three lives last year.

As terrorism spreads in Afghanistan, time will tell whether Tajikistan’s tactics will help - or hurt - in the fight to curb religious radicalism.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs