Expert, Center of Islamic Studies
under President of Tajikistan
In 2015, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan was banned by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tajikistan as an terrorist – extremistic organization. Experts have written articles on the reasons of such decision regarding Extremist-Terroristic Organization of Islamic Renaissance Party (ETOIRP). The author of this article wrote about this issue too. Due to impossibility of explaining all the reasons of ban of the ETOIRP by the Supreme Court in one article, therefore, we tried to disclose and explain one of the reasons based on the works conducted by the ETOIRP in order to explore to the defenders of the ETOIRP in European countries and Commission for Human Rights of the UN who denounce and blame the Republic of Tajikistan for restricting religious freedom and violating human rights.
Tajikistan is a secular state, and its law guarantee to protect the rights and equality of all nations and followers of different religions. The article 8 of the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan states: “The ideology of any party, public associations, religious group or movement cannot be recognized as state ideology … Religious organizations are separated from the state and cannot interfere in state affairs.
The establishment and operation of public associations and political parties that propagate racial, ethnic, social, and religious hatred are prohibited”. Further, the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan states that: “All people shall be equal before the law and the court of law. The state shall guarantee the rights and liberties for every person irrespective of his nationality, race, sex, language, religious beliefs, political persuasion, knowledge, social and property status. (Article 17)”, “everyone shall have the right freely to determine his position toward religion, to profess any religion individually or jointly with others or not to profess any and to take part in religious customs and ceremonies (article 26)”. Owing to such legal protections, all followers of various religions coexists peacefully in Tajikistan. The followers of all religions cooperate closely, support one another and participate in one another’s celebration or misfortune.
But intrigue political interference of the ETOIRP, which was closely linked to the geopolitical interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran, do not want to see the achievements of the secular state of Tajikistan. The ETOIRP has tried to implement Islamic Revolution (Iran’s type revolution of 1979) in Tajikistan with the financial and political assistance of Iran in the 1990s, but, the detrimental result is known to all nations. Unfortunately, not being regretted from the extremist and terroristic activities, under the patronage of Islamic Republic of Iran, the ETOIRP planned to change the status qua in Tajikistan and make Islamic Revolution to grasp power and underpin Shia sect of Islam in the community, even after the peace accord of 27 June 1997. Finally, in September 2015, the ETOIRP under the head of general Hojihalim Nazarzoda who was the member and nominee of the ETOIRP whom Tajik government trusted under the protocol of peace accord of 1997 and who had been appointed as a deputy Minister of Defense, unsuccessfully made a coup d’etat. This action was the clear violation of the peace accord which was signed under auspices of the OSCE.
We will put here one of the extremist and terroristic activities of the ETOIRP after the peace accord in 1997 as an example to show the true face of the party, which is totally contradictory to international human rights and laws. It is noteworthy to mention that Article 30 of the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan states that ” Propaganda and agitation, kindling the social, race, national, religious and language enmity and hostility shall be prohibited” which is fully correspond to International Law and to article 55 of the UN Convention of June 26, 1945. According to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan (Article 189), for the purpose of inciting national, racial, religious, and religious hatred, the criminal responsibility of the offender is expected to be imposed for a period of 5 to 12 years deprivation of liberty. However, the ETOIRP from the beginning of 1990s under the influence of Islamic Republic of Iran implemented geopolitical interest of Iran and marched in the squares under the motto of “Death to America” and “Death to Jewish” published several anti-Jewish and anti-Christian books to provoke Tajik people and persuade them to participate in “Jihad” against Jewish and Christians. For example, the book titled “Why did you turn from Islam” which was published by the Committee of culture of the ETOIRP consists full of animosity towards Jews and Christians and propagate and underpin Islamic revolution which is rooted in the teachings of Imam Khomeini and one is of the main political target of Iran. The first chapter of the book is titled “Judaism”, and the main part of it depicts the Jews as an evil nation. Further it claims that “no nation in the world can be found as evil as Jewish. History has no record worse than the evil actions of the Jews. The bad conversation that the Jews had with Prophet Moses and the betrayals that Jews had against Moses though who dedicated himself for the freedom of Jews, the sufferings that Moses experienced due to ignorance of Jews is the clear sign of this evil nation” (1:32).
In the further part of the text, Jews are described as offenders in human history. “The demand to see God, infidel practices, murders and thousand other evil activities filled human history” (1:32). Without any proves, Jews are blamed for the initiation of regional wars, World War I, World War II and religious sects such as Baha’i in Iran and so on (1:32). As we can see that the author of the book has simply ignored the wide proven causes of World War II and the tragedy of the holocaust. This is because, political priority of the ETOIRP is placed above all evidences.
All the anti-Jewish and anti-Christian activities of the ETOIRP is simply implementation of Imam Khomeini and the current leaders of Iran’s ideology, which can be used as an evidence to claim that all the anti-Jewish and Christian activities are heavily influenced under the geopolitics of Iran, that the ETOIRP wanted to propagate among Tajik people and underpin Islamic revolution. Imam Khomeini in his book “The Islamic State” has said: “Current world consists of two sides: in one side all the Muslims are gathered, in the other side all the enemies of Islam under the mask of imperialists, materialist, Jews, Christians and unjust creatures gathered to break Islamic rights, cheat and defeat Muslims” (2:29). Here, we can see that there is no big difference between the members of the ETOIRP and Imam Khomeini and current leaders Iran.
In the second part of the book, Islamic perspective about the prophet Moses and Christ are reflected and was claimed that Christian approach pertaining these issues are meaningless, thus, rejected. For example, Biblical teaching regarding God was considered as illogical, and God of Christians was seemed as if He was regretted from His deeds, human-like, visible to the eye and incapable (1:42-43). It is widely believed that Christianity is among the oldest monotheistic religion and according to the Biblical teaching, the spirit is seemed having no beginning, no ending and unchangeable in his rulings, justice, grace and truth and one God is presented in the trinity and has all attributions of one God. However, the ETOIRP rejected the claim of Christian monotheism and blamed the religion of Christianity with infidelity. According to the claim of the ETOIRP members: “Christians after departure of Jesus, accepted the trinity and association of it with God from the infidels and changed pure religion of Jesus” (1:47). In brief, the ETOIRP through this kind of explanation, considered Christians as kafirs – nonbelievers. The reason for judging the Christians as kafirs was mainly done to legalize jihad – holy war, against Christians.
In the book, the issue of recognition of prophets from the Christians’ perspective is also criticized. The ETOIRP recognizes and affirms all the prophets based on the Islamic teaching, but nullifies the Biblical teaching about God messengers. From the Christian perspective, prophets viewed as alcoholics, adulterers, and liars (1:48-50). The ETOIRP members’ views about Christians’ views of prophets is driven basically from the Old Testimony which criticizes prophet Noah and Solomon. Nonetheless, the main source of Christianity is New Testimony, which consists of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s Gospels, and the point that the ETOIRP uses to criticize Christians is very debatable. According to the thinkers of the ETOIRP, Christian missionary agitated among the Muslims to show and convince that prophets themselves were alcoholics, adulterers, and liars” (1:51) Why did you turn from Islam? publication of Committee of Cultural Affairs of the ETOIRP. Here question might arise, how Christians can dare to blame and criticize their religion? Doesn’t it look funny and offensive?
In the book “Why did you turn from Islam?” the proponents of the ETOIRP has compared Jesus in the gospel of John and Koran and claimed that in Koran Jesus was blessed “but Christ which is in Bible was not only disgraced but was condemned” (1:54). This is because, according to the ETOIRP members, the original Bible was amended and changed by the followers of Christianity. In sum, the current Bible is “unauthentic book” (1:55).
Moreover, in this book, some Christian religious festivals are criticized. For example, Christian religious rite of Eucharist – drinking wine and eating bread, was assumed as ridiculous and nonsense, which is very rude judgment.
Furthermore, the ETOIRP members heavily criticized “salvation” and described it as a paradise selling. To illustrate, “a man from Isfahan origin came to the Pope and bought hell and got the assurance of the Pope and approached people and shouted”: Good news and assurance!” (1:58). When Christians started to listen to him, “Isfahani man” said: “the greatest news for Christians is that that none of the Christian should go to the Pope and ask/buy paradise due to fear of hell, I bought hell for the sake of you and I don’t allow any of the Christians to get hell!” (1:59). The author of the book continues to say that after that incident, people stopped visiting Pope and the church, thus, Pope and church faced financial deficiencies. Hence, Pope came to “Isfahani man” and took back the assurance from him and from that time Pope and church again started “selling paradise” (1:59).
It is noteworthy to mention that the author’s hero in this argument is an Iranian man through which the author not only condemns Christianity but elevate and introduces the Shia teaching and tries to awaken Tajik people to pursue “Islamic revolution”. According to Imam Khomeini teaching, Islamic revolution should spread all over the world and turned into political revolution and become victorious over kafirs – non Islamic religions (2:27).
Worth to note that “Why did you turn from Islam?” was written especially against those Muslims who converted to Christianity or other religious beliefs and the ETOIRP members described them as “murtad-returners”. However, these claims cannot be evidence to nullify Jews and Christians and their holy books. Here, the main targets of the ETOIRP members are to promote the Islamic revolution. Through advising murtads – returners, the ETOIRP members plotted to implement the politics of Iran and associate Christians and Jews with infidels and affirm that the punish for murtads is death (1:120). Of course, the repercussion of this type of call, plays important role in the mind of Tajiks, especially youths and incentivize them to hate other religions which then brings to instability and chaos in Tajikistan. For instance, in the 1990s when the ETOIRP openly politicized their activities, majority of Jews and Christians fled the country. They got fear and the sense of Islamophobia mainly due to demonstrations, attitudes and behavior of the ETOIRP members. Thus, in today’s world, for the revise of Islamophobia, the ETOIRP members played and plays role. Even though, the role of Jews and Christians were very high in the development of industry, education culture of Tajikistan, the ETOIRP members destroyed everything in the 1990s.
It also should be noted that the killing of the UN officers in Tavildara in 1997 and the killings of cyclists in July 29, 2018 in Dnaghara, Tajikistan, who were mainly Christians were committed by the ETOIRP members. In addition, the initiator and leader of terrorist attack of July 29, 2018 in Danghara, Tajikistan “Abu Usama Noraki” was among those who was studied and trained in Iran. Some of the ETOIRP members are actively participate in Syria and Iraq wars, and they can be found in the terrorists groups in Afghanistan. Accomplished and organized activities of the ETOIRP, reminds one about the acts of fascist of Germany. The fascist killed people in the gas container, whereas the ETOIRP members killed the people in the container leaving them hungry.
In brief, the ETOIRP members’ activity is fully matches with fascist, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-international law and human rights. The double standard activities that many Western countries plays against sovereign states and the presence and support for the ETOIRP members may downgrade the status of Commission for Human rights of the UN and the OSCE in Muslim countries. Thus, the ban of the ETOIRP by the Supreme Court of Tajikistan was very crucial and natural which is fully in line with international law and the OSCE principles. Therefore, the Commission for Human rights of the UN and the OSCE authorities’ recognition of the ETOIRP as a terroristic organization is very crucial and vital for the stability and security of international community.
- Why did you turn from Islam? Publication of cultural committee of the ETOIRP, 1999.
- Khomoini R. Principles, sociaux et religuex. Paris,1979.