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Tajik Policeman Detained For Propagating Extremist Form Of Islam

A Tajik policeman from the northern region of Sughd has been arrested for propagating a strict Salafi form of Islam banned in Tajikistan.

Captain Sharif Mirov, 40, is facing a charge of inciting ethnic, racial, and religious hatred.

Mirov's lawyer, Rahmonali Rajabov, told RFE/RL that his client had been arrested in the southern city of Kulob on May 6.

It is believed to be the first time that a Tajik police officer has been arrested for propagating the ideas of Salafi Islam.

Last month, the chairman of Tajikistan's Islamic Scholar's Council, Saidmukarram Abdukodirzoda, publicly expressed concerns over the "increasing number of the followers of Salafi Islam and Shi'a Islam" among the country's officials.

Ninety-five percent of Tajikistan's population of 8 million are Sunni Muslims, while 3 percent are Shi'a Muslims.