EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

War on Terror Tajik-Style: Shave Those Beards

Posted by Info on 22/10/2010

If you wear a beard in Tajikistan, you must be a terrorist. At least, that’s what some authorities appear to believe. In their latest effort to stamp out expressions of Islam in the country, police have begun detaining bearded men, according to local press reports.

Though the chairman of the State Committee for Religious Affairs has denied the existence of any injunction against beards, a recent article by Dushanbe’s Asia-Plus news agency documents testimony from several men detained for having beards. Muslim men often grow beards out of reverence for the Prophet Mohammed.
One (formerly?) bearded Dushanbe resident described his detention:

“[Police] explained that [my detention] was connected with anti-terror measures. Is it normal to see a terrorist in every bearded man? Logically, a terrorist would not wear a beard to avoid attracting attention, knowing how such people are being treated nowadays. However, what should we do, we who have no extremist views and are just fulfilling the sunnahs [following the practices of the Prophet]? For me the beard is a sunnah, which I want to and should fulfill. When I tried to explain that, they said that I could live in Pakistan, for example, if I am not satisfied with the laws of this country.”


Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev confirmed that a campaign against men with long beards had begun. But he said it was only against suspected followers of Salafism, a strict form of Islam.
Asadulloev added that all “suspicious men” detained during the campaign would be freed after they were questioned, listed, and fingerprinted.

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