The closure of the IRP may lead to radicalization of Islam in Tajikistan, says expert

30/07/2015 16:19
Avaz Yuldoshev
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DUSHANBE, July 30, 2015, Asia-Plus -- The closure of the Islamic Revival Party (IRP) may lead to radicalization of Islam in Tajikistan, Tajik journalist and expert Nourali Davlat told Asia-Plus in an interview.

“Statements by the IRP members about their departure from the IRP do not mean that they have given up ideas propagated by this party,” said Davlat.

According to him, the closure of the Islamic Revival Party will drive the majority of its members underground or make them join illegal radical religious organizations.

We will recall that in an appeal launched to the guarantors of the inter-Tajik peace agreement on July1, the IRP, in particular, notes that pressure on the party may lead to increase in level of radicalization of the population and put security of Central Asia under threat.

The IRP board considers that these actions of the authorities not only contradict the Constitution of Tajikistan and the General Peace Agreement but also pose threat to stability and security in Central Asia.

“Thousands of people, giving up hope for justice and opportunities of free political and economic activities, left the country while others joined radical groups,” the appeal notes.

Founded in October 1990, the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan is the only Islamic party officially registered in former Soviet Central Asia.  The IRP was registered on December 4, 1991.  It was banned by the Supreme Court in June 1993 and legalized in August 1999.  According to some source, the IRP now has some 50,000 members.

Since 1999, the party has reportedly been the second-largest party in Tajikistan after the ruling People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan.

In the 2005 and 2010 parliamentary elections, the IRP won two out of 63 seats in the parliament, but in the 2015 parliamentary polls the party failed to clear the 5 percent threshold needed to win parliament seats.

The party leaders said the elections were not fair and alleged fraud in vote-counting.

The IRP's leadership has blamed its current crisis on “government pressure” that has reportedly helped lead to the closure of the party regional offices one after another across the country.

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