Shaving Beards – Creative way to stop Islam or not?

By Faye Higbee

Shaving Beards – Creative way to stop Islam or not?

Tajikistan is  a small central Asian county that borders Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It has around 8 million inhabitants. The police shaved 13,000 citizen’s beards, shuttered 160 clothing stores that sold Muslim garb, banned “foreign-sounding names” and women’s headscarves.

Extreme measures 

Tajikistan is a predominantly Muslim Country, but their leader, President Emomali Rahmon, has been trying to move the country toward a secular realm.  The country’s parliament has been trying to stop what they call “overspill” of foreign influences from Afghanistan.

The Police Chief of south-west Khathlon region told reporters on Wednesday that his men had been able to convince 1,700 women not to wear headscarves. It is his force that took care of the beards.

Last week the parliament voted to ban “foreign sounding names” and marriages between first cousins…

shaving beards

A Tajik carries potatoes… photo via worldbulletin

Al-Jazeera wrote,

Rahmon has ruled Tajikistan since 1994 and his current presidential term is expected to end in 2020.

In December, the parliament granted the president and his family life-long immunity from prosecution, giving Rahmon the title “Leader of the nation” and officially designating him “the founder of peace and national unity of Tajikistan”.

Cementing power

The President of Tajikistan was a state farm boss under Russian rule, and was president during the civil war from 1992-1997. Thousands of people- perhaps 50k to 100k-  died in that civil war. The country is still heavily dependent on Russia even though they were granted independence.

Rahmon is Sunni Muslim, according to the Washington Post, but wants to move the country away from the ‘radicals.’ (Shaving off people’s beards isn’t radical? Just sayin’). His methods may not be to the liking of most, as he even linked the wearing of a hijab to prostitution in one of his televised addresses.  He is attempting to cement his power also by calling for a law to allow him to run for president as often as he wants.

Back in September, their  Parliament banned the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, which was the nation’s only registered Muslim political party. They were in opposition to the President’s bid for more power.

At 63 now, when his term ends in 2020, he’ll be 67. Plenty of time left to create more havoc.

Estimates are that around 2,000 Tajiks have gone to fight with ISIS in Syria. Rahmon’s extreme measures may ensure the rise of the radicals he is trying to stop.