Tag Archives: islamic education

Tajik Authorities Impose Heavier Restrictions on Islamic Education

With little discussion, Tajikistan’s parliament recently approved a number of government-proposed amendments to legislation. These amendments impose additional restrictions on religious education for Tajik nationals both at home and abroad. Young Tajiks seeking to study Islam abroad will now find it increasingly difficult or impossible to do so, and their options for studying religion at home will be limited to a few government-sanctioned schools. As a result, people wishing to learn more about the religion will have little other choice but to seek such education from clandestine groups.

BACKGROUND: On May 25, the lower chamber of Tajikistan’s parliament approved changes to the 2009 Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations, most commonly known as the “Religion Law”. The changes introduce two mandatory requirements for Tajik citizens wishing to study religion abroad. The first requirement is to graduate from a similar level school offering religious education within Tajikistan. The second prerequisite is permission from the country’s Ministry of Education and Committee for Religious Affairs (CRA). These restrictions effectively bar young Tajiks from foreign Islamic schools because few people in the country would be able to meet both requirements.
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Filed under Authoritarianism, Education, Islam, Radicalism, Tajikistan

Bill Banning Children from Mosques Adopted in Tajikistan

On June 15, the lower house of the Tajik parliament voted to approve a controversial parental responsibility bill, which has been heavily criticized by local religious communities. Only two deputies from the opposition Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) voted against the bill in the 63-deputy house (www.news.tj, June 15). The bill must now be approved by the upper house and signed by the president to become law, but this is seen as a mere formality.

The law was initiated by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon during his meeting with the country’s academics and teachers in December 2009. Rahmon described the initiation of the law as an attempt to define the responsibilities and key roles of parents in raising and educating their children. In December 2010, the Tajik president presented a draft bill for public consultation in an effort to ensure broad support for the initiative. According to the president’s press service, the nationwide discussion of the bill resulted in more than 8,000 comments, most of which were incorporated in the final draft. On April 16, Rahmon sent the bill to the parliament (www.news.tj, http://www.khovar.tj, April 16, 2011).
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Mosques and Islamic Education Under Increasing Scrutiny in Tajikistan

The Tajik government has recently taken steps to put the country’s mosques, imams (prayer-leaders) and madrasahs (Islamic schools) under greater centralized control. Speaking at the country’s Security Council meeting on February 10, President Emomali Rahmon urged more decisive measures against the unchecked proliferation of mosques. According to official estimates, 3,700 mosques have been registered with the government to date, while another 1,250 mosques continue to operate without a license (www.avesta.tj, February 10). The authorities believe that 5,000 mosques is too large a number for the country, compared, for instance, with only 3,800 schools.

Tajik officials view unregistered mosques with suspicion because they have no control over what is preached there. According to Rahmon, some mosques are used for fomenting religious radicalism and “recruiting young people to the ranks of extremists.” The Tajik president also asserted that such mosques had served as a starting point for the “events in Rasht,” referring to the recent conflict in the Rasht valley. The conflict claimed the lives of at least 80 government troops, becoming the most serious episode of violence in the country since the late 1990’s (www.news.tj, February 11). The government closed and demolished dozens of unregistered mosques in recent years. In 2011, only 10 mosques have so far been shut down in the country (www.regnum.ru, January 10).
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Filed under Authoritarianism, Education, Islam, Radicalism, Tajikistan