Dushanbe: Eleven adherents of the Salafi religious movement - an outlawed extremist sect - have been arrested in Khujand, the capital of Sughd province in northwestern Tajikistan, the Sughd interior ministry`s office said Monday.
Criminal proceedings have been instituted while an investigation is under way, Xinhua news agency reported citing the ministry.
On Jan 8, 2009, Tajikistan`s Supreme Court added the movement to its list of extremist religious groups prohibited from operating in the country.
The Tajik authorities are concerned that the extremist group would draw support from the country`s younger generations as most of the movement`s leaders in Sughd are in their 20s and early 30s, and came to Tajikistan after graduating from Islamic schools in Pakistan or Arab countries.
The Salafi movement, which takes its name from the term salaf -- "ancestors" or "early generations" in English -- advocates a pure form of Islam that is said to be similar to that practised by the earliest generations of Muslims starting with Prophet Muhammad.
Salafis do not recognise other branches of the religion, particularly Shiaism and Sufism.
The Salafis` rejection of Sufism has caused resentment among many Tajiks because Sufism has strong roots in Tajikistan.