Dushanbe Islamic Center (RFE/RL)
August 8, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Three opposition lawmakers in Tajikistan have released an open letter to President Emomali Rahmon objecting to the closing of mosques by Tajik authorities, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.
Tajikistan, which has started a campaign to reregister mosques, has closed and destroyed a number of unregistered places of worship.
The letter, signed by Muhiddin Kabiri, Mohammad Sherif Himmatzoda, and Khodzhi Akbar Turadzhonzoda states that many mosques remain unregistered due to bureaucratic problems.
Two mosques were destroyed last week and many more were closed down in Dushanbe’s Sino district for functioning without a license.
There are some 300 mosques in Dushanbe. Most of the buildings are used by local people as community centers for all kind of social gatherings as well as for prayers.
Authorities have been blaming some imams for illegally using these buildings for prayers.
In the latest move placing pressure on religious institutions, authorities in Dushanbe have ordered hundreds of local imams to take a special test of religious knowledge to prove their fitness for the job.
(with material from agency reports)