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Well-Known Tajik Islamic Cleric Abdurahmonov Reportedly Detained

Eshoni Sirojiddin, pictured in 2010
Eshoni Sirojiddin, pictured in 2010

DUSHANBE -- A well-known Tajik Islamic cleric, Eshoni Sirojiddin, also known as Sirojiddin Abdurahmonov, reportedly has been detained at his home in Dushanbe.

One of the cleric's relatives told RFE/RL on November 13 that Abdurahmonov was detained after police searched his house and confiscated his computer and books.

It is not clear why the Islamic cleric, known as a leader of the followers of the banned Salafi branch of Islam, was detained.

Dushanbe police department officials told RFE/RL that they do not have information about the case.

Sources close to law enforcement told RFE/RL that several of Abdurahmonov's followers were detained as well.

In 2009, Abdurahmonov was sentenced to seven years in prison after a court in Dushanbe found him guilty of inciting hatred. He was released in 2013 after the Tajik government announced a mass amnesty.

In April 2019, Abdurahmonov issued a 18-minute long video on YouTube where he called the Internet "the century’s plague" while claiming that it leads to "debauchery and adultery and provokes cheating."

However, he has used YouTube on a regular basis to answer questions from practicing Muslims regarding Islam.

Sources suggested that Abdurahmonov’s detainment might have been spurred by the belief that he continues preaching Salafi ideas.

Tajikistan banned the Salafi branch of Islam in 2009, labeling it extremist.

Salafists follow a strict form of Sunni Islam and do not recognize other branches of Islam, such as Shi'a Islam and Sufism.

The majority of Muslims in Central Asia are followers of Hanafi, a more moderate branch of Sunni Islam.

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