The Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan: Episodes of Islamic Activism, Postconflict Accommodation, and Political Marginalization

In: Central Asian Affairs
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  • 1 Freiburg University

The parliamentary elections on March 1, 2015, mark a caesura for postconflict Tajikistan. With the exclusion of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (irpt) from Tajikistan’s parliament, the political elite has finally abandoned the principles of the 1997 General Peace Accord, which had ended the country’s Civil War (1992–1997). Since then, the irpt has distinguished itself as a credible oppositional political party committed to democratic principles with an almost imperceptible religious agenda. By shifting the irpt’s attention to issues of democratization and socioeconomic development, its chairman, Muhiddin Kabirī, opened the irpt to a younger electorate. Continuous defamation campaigns and persecution, however, have worn down the irpt’s activists and its electorate. The party’s electoral defeat did not come as a surprise.

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    In September/October 1991, the irpt forged an alliance with the secular opposition in Tajikistan, the Democratic Party of Tajikistan and the civil associations Rastokhez and Laʿli Badakhshon. But the “radical-religious” alliance was short-lived: Internal dissent, personal animosities, the deepening political polarization, and eventually the outbreak of violence in May 1992 fragmented the opposition.

  • 36

     See Johan Rasanayagam, Islam in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan: The Morality of Experience (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 122, 144–153.

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  • 38

    Alexandre Benningsen, “Unrest in the World of Soviet Islam,” Third World Quarterly, 10, no. 2 (1988): 778–779.

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    Tūrajonzoda, Miyoni, 23.

  • 56

    In 1991, the qozikalon Tūrajonzoda agreed on an exchange program with the International Islamic University in Islamabad (IIU) and over the past decades several Tajik ulamo graduated from the IIU, including one of the most popular contemporary religious authorities in Tajikistan, Hojī Mirzo Ibronov, the former imom-khatib of the Hiloli Ahmar Friday Mosque in Kūlob.

  • 77

    Rahim Masov, “Emomali Rahmon: “The Architect of Peace”,” Diplomatic World, no. 36 (2012): S. 64–68.

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