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Tajikistan To Recognize More Mosques In Dushanbe

Worshippers gather for Friday Prayers during Ramadan in Dushanbe's Central Mosque
Worshippers gather for Friday Prayers during Ramadan in Dushanbe's Central Mosque
DUSHANBE -- Tajik officials say that more than 50 structures in Dushanbe will soon be officially registered as mosques, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

State Committee for Religious Affairs official Solehjon Zavqiev told RFE/RL on September 13 that Dushanbe municipal authorities have asked the committee to register 57 "public places" as mosques.

Zavqiev said his committee inspected the sites in question and ruled that 52 meet the necessary sanitary and other requirements to be registered as mosques.

In 2009, Tajikistan passed a new law on religion that international organizations criticized as "restrictive." The law required all religious communities to reregister with the State Committee for Religious Affairs.

Many mosques, some churches, and other non-Islamic places of worship were denied reregistration at that time. Some of those locations were built as venues for weddings or funerals and never had the formal status of mosques, although they were sometimes used as such.

There are currently some 3,823 mosques and other places of worship in Tajikistan.

Forty of them are central Friday Prayers mosques. There are also a total of 74 non-Islamic places of worship, including churches.

There are also thousands of smaller neighborhood mosques open for daily prayers.

The 2009 religion law requires the registration of neighborhood mosques in districts where there are between 1,000 and 5,000 worshippers.

Mosques in Tajikistan are administered by the State Committee for Religious Affairs, while other "public places" are run by local councils.