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Dushanbe Says Many Studying Illegally At Foreign Madrasahs

  • RFE/RL's Tajik Service

Tajikistan's government has expressed concern over young Tajiks receiving education at Islamic religious schools abroad.

The head of the State Committee on Religious Issues, Abdurahim Holikov, told reporters on January 6 that at least 158 Tajiks are currently studying illegally at madrasahs outside the Central Asian nation.

Holikov said that the majority of them were attending madrasahs in Iran and Pakistan without obtaining the required permission from Tajik authorities.

Holikov said Tajiks studying at some madrasahs abroad can be easily radicalized and recruited into extremist or militant groups.

Tajik authorities launched a campaign to return young people from foreign madrasahs in 2010.

Hundreds of Tajik students have been forced to quit their studies at religious schools in Iran and Pakistan and returned home.