14 April 2011, 10:27
Tajik parents sending children to Islamic schools abroad will be prosecuted
Dushanbe, April 14, Interfax - Tajik parents who send their children to religious schools abroad will face up to two years of imprisonment, said Tolibjon Azimov, Assistant Prosecutor of the Khatlon Province in southern Tajikistan.
Eight fathers have already been arrested for sending their children to foreign religious higher-education institutions. These children did not want to study abroad, but their fathers insisted on their religious education, prosecutors said.
"Criminal charges have been brought against these parents under Article 164 [obstructing the process of receiving principal compulsory and/or general nine-year education] of the Tajikistan Penal Code," Azimov told a press conference in Dushanbe.
Under the Penal Code, those found guilty under Article 164 will be penalized either by a fine between $17,700 and $35,700 or a prison term of up to two years.
The Khatlon Province is the country's most populated area.
School teachers in the province now have to look for students who are skipping classes on Fridays to go to the mosques, when the majority of Muslims are performing Friday prayers, Khatlon Province's education officials said last Monday.
In December 2010, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon initiated a nationwide debate of the bill on "The parents' responsibility for their children's upbringing."
In late August 2010, Rahmon expressed serious fears over Tajiks studying at religious schools abroad and returning home as "terrorists and extremists." He urged parents to immediately get their children back to the home country.
After this, around 1,400, or two thirds, of such Tajik students returned home.