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Tajikistan's Chief Mufti Issues Fatwa Against Government Critics

Tajikistan's chief mufti Saidmukarram Abdulkodirzoda

Tajikistan's top Muslim cleric has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against criticizing the regime of President Emomali Rahmon.

Chief mufti Saidmukarram Abdulkodirzoda, the state-selected head of Tajikistan's Muslims, told reporters on September 27 that "criticism of the ruling powers will be judged a great sin."

"Criticism undermines trust in the authorities," he added.

Abdulkodirzoda issued the fatwa during his Friday sermon at the main mosque in the capital, Dushanbe on September 26.

Tajikistan's opposition Islamic Renaissance Party said the fatwa was "dictated by the authorities."

Tajik authorities are alarmed at what they see as the radicalization of young Muslims amid widespread unemployment.

Over the past three months, some 10 Tajiks have been reported killed while fighting on the side of the opposition in Syria.

With reporting by AFP