11 July 2013, 14:47
Tajik opposition party criticizes proposal to ban word Islam in names of political organizations
Dushanbe, July 11, Interfax - Five representatives of the Tajik clergy said at a meeting with President Emomali Rahmon that they were opposed to using the word Islam in the names of political parties.
The opposition Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) of Tajikistan is the country's only political party that has this word in this name.
A party spokesman dismissed these remarks by the clergy as "a scenario prepared by the authorities in advance."
"IRP activists say that if you refuse to join the Islamic party, you are not a Muslim. But is it this party's ID card alone that defines whether we are Muslims or not?", one of the clergymen told the president at the meeting, which was broadcast live on Tajik TV stations on July 8. The names of the clergymen who attended the meeting have not been disclosed.
"On the whole, a political party should be engaged in politics instead of speaking on behalf of Islam," they said.
Rahmon only responded that "specialists will study this issue."
The president refused to support either side in the dispute.
"This proposal is an order. It is clear that the situation with this proposal at the meeting with the president is a scenario that was prepared in advance," IRP parliamentarian Saidumar Khusaini told journalists.
"One ought to remember that the IRP is a supporter of peace and stability in the country, and the party has always stood by the government since the National Reconciliation was achieved 16 years ago, during all of the difficult periods in the country," he said.
The Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan is the sole legal religious party in Central Asia. It is the only oppositional political party that is represented in the Tajik parliament. During Tajikistan's civil war of 1992-1997, the IRP was seen as the backbone of the Tajik United Opposition fighting against the Popular Front of Tajikistan, which subsequently brought President Rahmon to power in the country.
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