Tajikistan to install metal detectors, cameras in mosques

Ex-Soviet Tajikistan today said it plans to install metal detectors and surveillance cameras in more than 70 mosques in the capital Dushanbe over government fears of extremist attacks.

AFP| Updated: Mar 29, 2016, 19:20 PM IST

Dushanbe: Ex-Soviet Tajikistan today said it plans to install metal detectors and surveillance cameras in more than 70 mosques in the capital Dushanbe over government fears of extremist attacks.

A spokesman for Dushanbe's city administration told AFP the measure was meant to "guarantee security and order while preventing the emergence of undesirable trends".

The equipment will be installed at the expense of the mosques and their congregations, the spokesman explained.

The secular government of this Central Asian country, which looks to former master Russia for security guarantees, is renowned for its anti-Islamic rhetoric and policies.

The government is currently trying members of the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) on an array of charges including attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and organising a criminal group.

Authorities have accused party members of fanning a wave of unrest that killed dozens of people last year.

A number of international organisations and Western countries have raised concerns that Tajikistan is using the threat of international terror as a pretext to clamp down on the opposition.

The Tajik parliament in January voted to ban "foreign names" for babies as the popularity of Arabic names in the Persian-speaking country has grown.

Tajikistan says more than a thousand of its citizens are fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, including women and children.

The interior ministry's special forces chief last year made a shock defection to IS and appeared in a propaganda video criticising the government's harsh anti-Islam policies.