Thursday, July 05, 2012

Rahmon's 2013 Preparations

In Tajikistan, President Emomali Rahmon's crackdown on non-governmental Islam continues:
"Muhiddin Kabiri, the Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) leader, led a group of politicians who raised concerns about the new legislation, noting that under the current law the Muslim Brotherhood is among the 14 banned Islamic groups. 'Tomorrow, for example, suppose that the leadership of our country were to meet with the presidents of Egypt or Tunisia, or that an ambassador or minister were to visit. How could an official of the Tajik government meet with a representative of this organization when it, according to Tajikistan’s Supreme Court, is designated as a terrorist organization?' (, June 20). Given the rampant corruption in the security apparatus, it is also feared that the power to seize assets of the accused would add further financial incentive (to the already considerable political incentive) for the government to seek prosecutions.
Additionally, the parliament recently passed amendments to the 'Code of Administrative Offenses' that would fine citizens 2,000 to 4,000 Somoni ($420-840) for 'violation of the rules of getting religious education abroad' and would also fine Tajikistan’s religious organizations 1,200 to 1,600 Somoni ($250-335) 'for maintaining international relations with foreign religious organizations without notifying related national structures' (Asia Plus, June 6). Opposition parties were quick to criticize the amendments, citing the vague language and sweeping mandate of the legislation. They also complained of a dearth of religious education opportunities in the country and the over-regulation of existing state approved madrassas."
As explained by Mark Vinson in the linked article, the most likely reason is Rahmon's fear of Islamic or Islamist groups as a source of opposition ahead of the 2013 elections. Rahmon is particularly concerned in the wake of Iran's 2009 protests and, of course, the 2011 Arab Spring. Something similar undoubtedly lies behind his moves against the Turajonzoda family, which could serve as a high-profile rallying point for hypothetical protestors.



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