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Tajikistan: Could Showdown With Popular Cleric Backfire?

How much religious and political tolerance exists in Tajikistan? (Photo: David Trilling)

With a court order to close one of Tajikistan’s most popular mosques, President Imomali Rahmon’s administration is stepping up its campaign to neutralize both Islam and the last vestiges of any political 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. But the closure is also “part of a larger campaign against unofficial Muslim life in all its forms,” said John Heathershaw of the University of Exeter, an expert on Islam in Tajikistan.

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Tajikistan: Could Showdown With Popular Cleric Backfire?

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