Muslim identities

Reluctant Monopolists: Religious Regulation, Politics, and Identity in Central Asia

By: Dustin Gamza

On August 28, 2015, on the outskirts of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, a 23-year-old student was detained and beaten into a coma by police who were trying to force him to shave his beard, which they saw as a sign of extremism. The student, Umar Bobojonov, later died, and on September 4, retaliatory attacks took place across Dushanbe, including at the police department. Nine police officers and 13 attackers were killed. The interior ministry blamed the incident on a “terrorist group,” but others claimed the attacks were led by individuals who were angered by Bobojonov’s death at the hands of local police and the government’s decision to ban the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP), which also occurred on August 28. 

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