03 May 2012, 16:06
"Helpers of Allah" banned in Tajikistan
Dushanbe, May 3, Interfax - The Tajik Supreme Court has recognized the Jamaat Ansarullah (Community of the Helpers of Allah) extremist group as a terrorist organization and has officially outlawed its functioning in the country.
Jamaat Ansarullah was recognized as a unit of the al-Qaeda international terrorist organization along with the earlier banned terrorist organization Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Members of the banned group have been accused of attacking pro-government forces in eastern Tajikistan in the summer and autumn of 2010, staging a suicide attack on the Regional Department for the Fight against Organized Crime in Khujand in the north of the country, where three police officers were killed and several others were injured, as well as plotting terror acts in the capital Dushanbe.
The court's ruling was supported by the leadership of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, the only religious party acting in Central Asia legally.
"Organizations such as Jamaat Ansarullah can be created with the help and support of forces interested in discrediting the Muslims in the eyes of the international community," the party's Deputy Chairman Saidumar Khusaini told journalists.
"A lot of organizations have emerged in the world in recent years, calling themselves in Arabic and declaring something on behalf of Islam. However, those who know Islam must understand the essence of such organizations and distinguish them from followers of traditional Islam," Khusaini, who is also a member of the Tajik Parliament, said.
In 2011, Tajik courts convicted 168 people of extremism, including religious extremism. Of them, 135 were residents of the country's Sogd Region.
A total of 158 people were found guilty of extremism in Tajikistan in 2010, and 37 in 2009.