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Tajik Madrasah Leader, Students Detained


The Tajik government has become increasingly nervous about what it sees as the threat of radical Islam in the country.

The Tajik government has become increasingly nervous about what it sees as the threat of radical Islam in the country.

DUSHANBE -- The leader of a madrasah and dozens of his students at his religious school in southern Tajikistan have been detained, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Tajik officials said Mavlavi Abduqahor, who is also a religious leader, was detained over the weekend along with the students at the school in the Rudaki district south of the capital, Dushanbe.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullah Asadulloev told RFE/RL that Abduqahor was arrested for teaching without a license, charging tuition to his students, failing to adhere to school health and hygiene regulations, and for teaching children under 7 years of age -- which Asadulloev said is the worst offense.

Abduqahor's relatives told RFE/RL that his madrasah takes on additional students during the summer break.

They said Abduqahor and several students were arrested once before, a few weeks ago, but were later released.

The Interior Ministry said the detentions were carried out under the auspices of Operation Madrasah, which aims to ban all illegal religious schools in the country.

Some Tajik-based analysts say officials are trying to control all religious schools in an attempt to prevent the rise of radical Islam.
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