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Tajikistan Detains Eleven Alleged Extremist Salafists

  • RFE/RL's Tajik Service

Tajik authorities say they have detained 11 people on suspicion of being adherents of a banned branch of Islam.

The Interior Ministry said on February 9 that the 11 men were detained in the northern province of Sughd.

Investigators said they are followers of the Salafi branch of Islam, which was branded as extremist and banned in Tajikistan in 2008.

In December, a Tajik court sentenced four men to prison terms after convicting them of being adherents of Salafi Islam.

Salafists follow a strict form of Sunni Islam and do not recognize other branches of Islam, such as Shi'a and Sufism. It is frequently referred to as Wahhabism, although Salafis reject this as derogatory.

The overwhelming majority of Tajiks are followers of Hanafia, a more liberal branch of Sunni Islam.

With reporting by and Interfax