Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Dushanbe has Successfully Driven Political Islam Underground But Not Defeated It, Khadyrov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 1 – In a major and heavily documented article, Ravshan Khadyrov, a Tajik political scientist based in Moscow, traces the history of political Islam in Tajikistan since the end of Soviet times and concludes that political Islam no longer poses an existential threat to the Tajik regime but that underground activities of this kind of Islam remain a serious problem.

            (For Khadyrov’s complete article including extensive footnotes, see cyberleninka.ru/article/n/evolyutsiya-i-deinstutsionalizatsiya-politicheskogo-islama-v-tadzhikistane; for a useful summary, see ia-centr.ru/experts/iats-mgu/evolyutsiya-politicheskogo-islama-v-tadzhikistane/.)

            His key words are the following:

“Has political Islam suffered a final defeat in Tajikistan?


“Since 2015, the majority of Islamic forces in Tajikistan have gone underground. The country's leadership finally ousted the structures of political Islam from the country's political space, seeing them as a threat to the stability of the regime.


“Currently, the authorities exercise strict state control over religious activities. In 2018, a conceptual understanding of the changes that have occurred and negative trends in the religious space was reflected in the Concept of State Policy of Tajikistan in the Sphere of Religion.

“The document states that the religious environment is the most vulnerable to the spread of religious radicalism and extremism, and Islamic parties and religious-ideological movements in Tajikistan have become a political tool of “sabotage circles.”


“The masses of modern Tajikistan have little faith in the compatibility of Islam and democracy - for the majority of Tajiks, political Islam will inevitably be realized in the form of a Sharia society and will lead to restrictions on rights and freedoms.


“For this reason, sociocultural barriers and government restrictions in the religious sphere are perceived by the population with understanding.”


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