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Tajik Say Traditional Muslims Not Being Excluded

GHARM, Tajikistan -- Officials in Tajikistan's eastern Rasht district have rejected suggestions that people who wear traditional Islamic clothing or beards are being discriminated against for public functions, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Rahmonali Saburov, a leading member of the Islamic Renaissance Party in Gharm, the district capital, claimed to RFE/RL that participants at the latest meeting of the district council were instructed by government officials to exclude bearded individuals and those wearing skullcaps and white shirts from official posts.

Saburov said that information came from eyewitnesses who were present at the session.

Kamol Bekzod, a local government spokesman, said the local governor and other officials are available two days each week for local residents to meet to discuss personal issues and that if such pressure were being directed against specific groups, then a huge majority of the public would have to be excluded from such meetings.