Mosque, State, and Tajik Society

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Dushanbe, Tajikistan — Tajik researchers indicate that structural poverty, entrenched corruption, and growing tensions between the Rahmon regime and opposition parties contribute to widespread public resentment. These conditions also provide a foil for radical Islamist groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), which sees the imposition of Shari’ah law as the cure for Tajikistan’s malaise.

Addressing these socio-political challenges is unlikely to curb the rapid Islamization of Tajik society, however. As several of my local sources noted, Tajikistan ranks first among the Central Asian republics in terms of religiosity. Yet even modest reforms could shape the ongoing religious revival in a more constructive manner. The more the Tajik government embraces accountability and transparency, the more it will undermine the pointed critiques that give movements like HuT social and political traction.