Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Rahmon and Turajonzoda's Mosque

Tajikistan's President Imomali Rahmon is targeting a key symbol of the Islamist opposition:
"The May 28 ruling to close the Muhammadiya Mosque – run by the family of Haji Akbar Turajonzoda, a popular theologian and charismatic leader during the country's civil war in the mid-1990s – marks the latest confrontation between the authorities and the powerful family...
"After 2005, when Rahmon demoted him from the cabinet to the senate, Turajonzoda became a critic of the president, and was sacked in 2010. Since then, he has made headlines for making disparaging comments about the president. In addition, he has reportedly mended fences with the IRPT, apparently fueling government fears of a resurgent Islamic opposition...
"Certainly, the Turajonzoda family is a powerful force. Their mosque in Vahdat regularly draws 15,000 men for Friday prayers. The sermons given at the mosque are sold on compact disks around the country."
The article explains both that there has been a series of moves against the Turajonzoda family going back several years, as well as attempts to limit Muslim religious life in the country and bring it under strict government control.  The official reason for closing this mosque is an accusation that it hosted Shi'ite rituals.  The fact the government of a president named "Imam Ali" finds that objectionable is rather peculiar, though the state's official religion is Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school.  Perhaps the regime doesn't want competition for this megamosque now under construction?



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