Media reports say more than 70 Muslim Brotherhood suspects have been detained in Tajikistan this year.  The detainees reportedly include university professors, imams, and government officials.

A reliable source within the Isfara police department says five residents of this city, including  Firdavs Rahimzoda, the newly appointed head of the Isfara state-owned property management agency, have been detained this month on suspicion of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood.  

Firdavs Rahimzoda, had previously worked as the head of the Chorkuh village council, was reportedly detained in early January.

“We received information about the Muslim Brotherhood suspects from the Sughd organized crime control directorate.  We detained five persons, including Firdavs Rahimzoda.  Besides, one resident of Konibodom was detained on suspicion of being follower of the Muslim brotherhood movement,” said the source, who wanted to remain unnamed.       

A teacher at Tajik National University, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that several teachers of Tajik University had been arrested on suspicion of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood.  

“Yet, it’s true, several teachers have been detained.  They say that more than ten teachers, mostly teachers from the Faculty for Oriental Studies, hav been detained.  I know about detention of two teachers – Fathullo Latipov and Tojiddin Yoqubov,” the source said. 

We applied for comments to the Interior Ministry.  “The information that they have been detained by police officers is groundless,”  Nusratullo Mahmadzoda, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said.  

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on January 20 that arrests of suspected followers of the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement are going on.  At least 70 Muslim Brotherhood suspects were detained this month in dozens of raids as Tajik authorities uncovered an alleged Muslim Brotherhood cell operating in Dushanbe as well as in the Sughd and Khatlon provinces. 

Referring to its sources, the Prague-based website has identified the names of 18 detainees.  Among them are Ikromsoh Sattorov – senior teacher at the Institute of Languages; Merojiddin Safarov – Doctor of Sciences in Philology, employee of radio; Tojiddin Yoqubov – Candidate of Sciences in Philology, department chair at Tajik National University; Abdulvahhob Abdumannon -- doctoral student at Tajik National University, former teacher at the Islamic University named after Imam Azam; Ismoil Qahhorov (Mullo Ismoil) – theologian, poet, member of Tajik Writers’ Union;  Muhammadjon Ibrohim – head of the Medical examination Center “Rukhafzo” at the Qariyai Bolo Hospital in Dushanbe; and others.

Recall, Tajikistan banned the Muslim Brotherhood as an extremist group in 2006 and it faces a similar ban in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is not banned in Kyrgyzstan.

It is considered a terrorist organization in Tajikistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia but not in the United States or other Western countries.

In 2016, about 20 imams were arrested in the Tajik northern province of Sughd for allegedly being members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. They were accused of receiving funds from abroad and of spreading the movement’s ideology in Tajikistan, ultimately seeking to overthrow the secular government in the country.