Friday, June 21, 2024
 
 

Tajikistan arrests suspected members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood

EPA-EFE//OLEG NIKISHIN
Tajik men pray in a mosque in the capital Dushanbe

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The former Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan is one of the world’s poorest nations and a hotbed for radical Islamic groups that operate in the country’s rugged and isolated Pamir Mountains. In late January and early February, Tajikistan’s authorities detained 113 people who were suspected of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical terrorist group that was banned by the Tajik government in 2006 and labelled an extremist organisation.
Tajikistan’s Prosecutor-General Yusuf Rahmon announced that detained were members of the clergy, teachers, and employers of various universities.
“The group’s goal is to forcibly overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state. It (the Muslim Brotherhood) has already been banned as a terrorist and extremist organisation in many countries,” Rahmon said.
The mass arrests took place before important parliamentary elections in Tajikistan, which are due to take place in March and presidential elections later this year. Political observers suggest that the government is trying to put pressure on religious leaders who deviate from the official line regarding Islamic religious practices.
The Muslim Brotherhood itself was first created in 1928 in Egypt and only later spread across the Arab Middle East before making some head roads in Central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
Tajikistan is itself, no stranger to acts of violence by radical Islamist groups. In 1992, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a civil war erupted in Tajikistan, a country that borders equally volatile Afghanistan. Over 30,000 people lost their lives during the five years of fighting between former Communist government forces and Islamic militias.

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