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Tajik President Puts State Body In Charge Of Religious Affairs

The committee oversees the registration of mosques, among other duties.
DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has reinstated the State Committee on Religious Affairs to oversee the country's religious organizations, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Rahmon appointed Abdurahim Kholiqov on May 12 to lead the committee, which will take over duties previously carried out by the Culture Ministry. Kholiqov previously worked as an official in Rahmon's administration.

Tajik religious-affairs analyst Saidahmad Qalandar told RFE/RL that the control and regulation of religious organizations in the country has become increasingly important, which is why the duty has been removed from the Culture Ministry and given to a specific body.

Saidibrohim Nazar, an activist in the Islamic Renaissance Party, agreed that the committee is important in regulating religious affairs, but he said Kholiqov is not a well-known person in this regard.

The Culture Ministry's directorate of religious affairs, which previously controlled matters of faith in Tajikistan, had responsibilities including sending people on the annual hajj, the registration of mosques and churches, and regulating the import of religious literature.