Thirteen extremist Salafis jailed in Tajikistan

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Asia
Monday, 22 June 2015

A court in northern Tajikistan has convicted 13 Tajik citizens of membership in the fundamentalist Islamic movement Salafia, which has been labeled as extremist by the Tajik authorities, the country's Supreme Court said in a press release on Friday.

The trial was held in the Sughd Region, 310 kilometers north of the capital Dushanbe.

The 13 Tajik citizens, aged 20 to 30 years old, were found guilty of "acting as an organized group to publicly incite ethnic, racial or religious hatred", as well as "participating in a political party, a public or religious organization labeled as extremist by the country's court", according to the press release.

Five of these persons were each sentenced to two years in prison, while the others were each ordered to pay a fine of 60,000 somoni, or $9,600.

Previously, Tajik courts imposed tougher penalties on Salafia movement supporters, sentencing them to up to six years in prison. But the country's authorities asked courts to be more lenient toward them because, the Tajik government said, lengthy prison terms handed down to Salafia members would only serve to exacerbate the problem of radicalism in Tajik society.

In 2009, Tajikistan's Supreme Court branded Salafia as an extremist movement and banned it from operating in the country.

The Salafi movement emerged in the 18th century. It promotes the interpretation of Islam "in the way the Prophet saw it," denying any changes made to the religion during contacts between Islamic states and the western world. The Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is banned in Egypt, is a Salafi movement. Salafism is the state religion of Saudi Arabia.

In secular countries, specifically in Central Asian countries, Salafism is considered an extremist movement due to Salafi's intolerance of non-Muslims and Muslims who they believe have the wrong interpretation of Islam.

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