In Garmchashma area of Ishkoshim district, more than 40 khatibs and imam-khatibs from various cities and districts of the republic, the Ismaili caliphs, representatives of the Christian and Protestant churches, scholars, representatives of media, khukumats and international organizations gathered for a free discussion. The topic of the discussion was “Unity as a factor of solidarity and peace in society”.
Faizullo Barotzoda, Director of the Center for Islamic Studies under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, proclaimed the unity an important factor of the order and development of society. He noted that in the face of an increase in the number of radical groups in Afghanistan, particularly in areas adjacent to Tajikistan, the threat of extremism and terrorism to the region remains serious. He also noted the importance of strengthening of control over this threat, the escalation in propaganda of unity and tolerance, respect for each other’s beliefs.
Barotzoda critically responded on “compulsory addiction to alien to our nation’s cultural and religious values”, referring to the European scholars’ opinion and noted that Tajikistan has a unique opportunity to develop the concept of national unity based on the protection of Central Asian Hanafi and Ismaili values and should take advantage of it.
Sulaymon Davlatzoda, chairman of the Committee of Religion, Regulation of Traditions, Celebrations and Ceremonies under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, noted that according to the Constitution, no ideology can be declared national and the state has provided all possibilities for a free activity of religious associations. However, “in order to preserve civil order, the state is obliged to control the situation; the control and regulation does not mean human rights restriction”.
Davlatzoda noted that state ensures there is no excessive use of the religious platforms, and that there are no intra-religious conflicts. He added that all conflicts start with one group beginning to declare that they “are right and all the others are wrong”. It is important that the society is educated in the spirit of tolerance and the state has a constructive relationship with religion.
56 People from GBAO Joined Radical Groups
Nosir Nafasbekov, representative of the regional prosecutor’s office, noted during his speech that 56 residents of the region, including 4 women, joined radical groups; 52 of them are from the Vanj district and 4 people are from Darvoz district. Most of these people were brainwashed in labor migration, where they were brought into membership in banned parties and movements.
Parvona Farrukhzod, a representative of the Ismaili Jamatkhana Development Committee, spoke about the need to protect the coexistence and unity of the followers of the Hanafi and Ismaili Islam in Central Asia. He noted that unity consists of the pluralism and integration of different religions representatives and added that intra-religious contradictions, in particular, the growing contradictions between the Hanafi and Shafi’i people, in the past led the Mongols to capture Central Asia very quick.
He noted that Tajikistan provides religious freedoms for religious minorities and the launch of the Ismaili center in the country is a vivid example of the state’s constructive attitude towards religious minorities.
Khoji Husayn Musozoda, the chief imam-khatib of the Sughd region, noted that both Hanafi and Ismaili religious leaders represent Islam for the people and the religious leaders by their behavior, their attitude to others should be an example to follow and should call for unity. “We have good relations with the Ismaili center in Khujand and we explain to people who the Ismailis are with a kind word.”
Father Roman: We Consider Navruz as Our Holiday
The representative of the Christian church, Father Roman, also noted that the Orthodox have a rich experience of cooperation with the government and religious associations. He was impressed that he visited Badakhshan for the first time as part of such delegation and took part in a free dialogue.
He added that it was surprising for him when one of the Muslims in Dushanbe told him that he did not consider Navruz as his holiday. He himself and the Christian worshippers of his church, along with other holidays, consider Navruz as their holiday and perceive its celebration as a tribute to the culture of the Tajik people.
According to Tatyana Samieva, a representative of the Protestant church in Dushanbe, unity is the perception of a person as he is, without seeking him to accept your convictions. She witnessed such an interpretation of unity during the round table and travels of representatives of different religions to Badakhshan.
Marambek Marambekov, Secretary of the Center of Islamic Studies under President of the Republic of Tajikistan, emphasized that the religious majority is responsible for the protection and peaceful life of the religious minority. As followers of the Hanafi sense are responsible for the protection of minorities practicing other madhhabs in other regions of the country, the Ismailis of Badakhshan are responsible for the protection and ensuring the peaceful life for the fellow followers of other madhhabs; imam-khatibs and caliphs should pay attention to this issue.
He added that, unfortunately, literature of extremist nature is still published in the country and named one of the books, which denies the possibility of the simultaneous coexistence of Islam and the nation.
Abakhon Sultonazarov, Director of IWPR Central Asia, noted that this organization is one of the leaders in implementing initiatives to prevent the threat of terrorism and extremism. Recently, the organization has embraced with trainings more than 200 representatives of the clergy, who then began to spread their knowledge among the local population, which contributed to the spread of the idea of tolerance in society.
The free dialogue was initiated by the Committee of Religion, Regulation of Traditions, Celebrations and Ceremonies under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Executive Authority of the GBAO Government in collaboration with IWPR and CABAR.asia.