The British Tajikistan Parliamentary Group has hold a meeting on April 1, 2014 in the House of Lords of UK Parliament.
The meeting gathered the members of the Group, diplomats, politicians and academics, representatives of business circles and mass media.
During the meeting, views were exchanged on current cooperation between Tajikistan and UK, in particular, interparliamentary collaboration.
In the context of bilateral economic relations, parties discussed issues of development of investment potential between two countries, new opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the light of Tajikistan accession to WTO, prospects of regional cooperation in the field of energy export.
ASLOV SIRODJIDIN MUHRIDINOVICH
Date of Birth: 17 February 1964;
Aslov Sirodjidin fluently speaks Russian, English and Persian languages;
From 14 August to 18 August 2013 London witnessed the first "Tajikistan Film Festival" which was organized by the Embassy of Tajikistan to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in cooperation with Organization "Payvand".
The festival which was held on the occasion of Tajikistan's 23rd Independence Anniversary aimed at raising awareness and promoting understanding of the rich and diverse Tajik-Persian culture among British people. As H.E. Erkin Kasymov, Tajik Ambassador noted:" this current Film Festival will build a bridge between Tajik and British nations, contribute to the development of the cultural ties between two countries and will also help local people to learn more about Tajikistan".
It took place in the Kensington Central Library and brought together representatives of UK governmental structures, diplomatic corps, universities, museums and British public.Also, it was well received by the Persian speaking societies and communities which urged the Embassy to repeat this festival in the future.
For this particular event, Embassy selected some of the best films of Tajik cinematography of different periods of Tajik history, that is to say chemistry of films of both Soviet and modern periods of history of Tajikistan were repsented during this three days festival: epic stories of Shahname (Book of Kings) Rustam and Suhrob, Legend of Siyovush, Fate of the Poet (Qesmate Shoir), award winning Qiyomi Ruz (True Noon), Ovora (wanderer),) and Qosh ba Qosh.
First Tajikistan Film Festival was well attended and according to the organizers around 300-400 people participated.
Competition: On introducing Identification Card and their issuing system for the citizens of Tajikistan
On July 9th, the holy month of Ramadan comes, the month of beneficence and charity, goodness and virtue, abundance and welfare, and mercy and forgiveness.
I in this connection from the bottom of my heart congratulate all the glorious people of Tajikistan and each of you, and in this blessed month of the year I wish you good health, happiness, patience and tolerance, steadfastness and godliness.
The purpose of our today's meeting with intellectuals, governors of regions, cities and districts, social-sector executive bodies of state authorities of regions, cities and districts, town and village jamoats (local communities), communities' committees, and the clerics of religious organizations and associations operating in our country first of all, is the better possible organization of works towards the protection of national and state interests, cultural and religious values to further strengthen the current stable situation and prevent any ambitions to destabilize the religious and the political atmosphere within the country.
As the most majority of the people in our country are Muslims, and given the very sensitive and intricate situation of the modern world, with all due respect to the sacred religion of Islam and its supreme values, I wish to draw your attention to some important issues of our public policy on freedom of conscience and national traditions.
Of course, it is a matter of pride and joy that just thanks to our national independence we have achieved the real worship of national and religious values, particularly the values of the holy religion of Islam and the revival of the best historical and cultural values.
It means that state independence created certain conditions for a comprehension and the reinforcement of national and religious identity, freedom and national pride.
In turn, the revival and protection of national values as the most important spiritual factor has contributed to the strengthening of state independence.
It is therefore, our society today takes an enormous interest to its own history, culture, customs and national traditions.
Due interest to the historical, cultural and religious traditions of the one or the other nation may not be a random phenomenon.
With regard to this issue, we, as supporters of the dialogue of civilizations and friendly relations of variety of cultures, reiterate that each culture has unique value, and it must be respected and protected. It is the right and the duty of every nation to develop its own culture.
National culture of the Tajik people was formed during the period of 1400 years in a conjunction with our religious values and our secular state refers to this period of history as an integral part of the history of the national culture.
Our Islamic culture, as a part of the national culture, has many valuable and vital aspects, proper and reasonable use of which may be used for the construction of a just society, the protection and promotion of international peace and security and the political stability of the country.
Over the past years, the state and the Government of Tajikistan has taken a series of measures aimed at development of Islamic culture in the society.
It is the state independence has given us an opportunity to revive our own national and religious values, to recognize and guarantee individual rights and freedoms, including the right to freedom of conscience as the highest value.
State sovereignty, along with the nation-state building, the revival of the national culture, peace, stability and national unity, had also contributed to the revival of religious values and the historic aspirations of the nation.
With a view to honoring the special role of the Hanafi mazhab of Islam (hanafis – followers of hanafi persuasion in Islam) in the development of national culture and the spiritual life of the Tajik people, solemn commemoration of the 1310 anniversary of the founder of this mazhab Imam A'zam and declaration of the year 2009 as a year of celebration of this great personality of the Islamic world, conduct of the International Symposium "Imam A'zam and the Modern World", celebration of historical dates, dedicated to the great religious and cultural thinkers and clerics of our nation, such as Mir Sayeed Ali Hamadoni, Mavlono Jaloluddini Rumi and etc. are among such important initiatives.
In addition, celebration of Ramadan (Eid ul-Fitr) and Kurban (Eid ul-Adha) as national holidays, the proclamation of Dushanbe as the capital of Islamic culture, establishment of the Center of Islamic Studies under the President of the country, awarding a state status to the Islamic Institute of Tajikistan and a number of other measures at the government level are a clear indication of a worship of our religious and faith culture.
A series of cultural, historical and religious events as an effective factor of nation-building, enabled us - ancient nation with a rich political, religious, literary, and moral culture - meet the diverse needs of modern society, and spiritually nurture the formation of national consciousness and self-identity of the people of Tajikistan.
State sovereignty has brought in conditions that, along with a revival of spiritual and religious values, to significantly protect and secure religious rights and freedoms of citizens in the democratic state and civil society, and establish free space for religious views and thought in the country.
On the instruction of the head of state, for the first time the Holy Quran was published in three stages in the Tajik language and more than 200.000 copies of that were distributed free of charge to people.
Tens of millions of somoni have been allocated from the public budget and the Reserve Fund of the President of the country to the publication of scientific, ethical, and religious books of Islamic culture, as a result of which hundreds of valuable historical works, which for centuries have remained forgotten, including "Saheh" by Imam Bukhari, "Musnad" by Imam A'zam, "Revival of Religious Science" and "Kimiyoi saodat" ("Alchemy of Happiness") by Imam Ghazzoli and other invaluable works have been published and made available to the Muslims of the country.
However, all this is not enough. Consequently, the Committee for Religious Affairs, the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, the Council of Ullema of the Islamic Center of Tajikistan are obliged to maximize the preparation and publication of the works of our great ancestors, including the valuable heritage of Imam A'zam, Imam Bukhari and other well-known clerics and personalities.
The number of mosques from 17 during the Soviet time has increased to more than 4 million, the number of pilgrims in the country increased from 30 to 200 thousand people, and Tajikistan ranks first among the countries of Central Asia on the number of mosques per capita.
Today, even number of mosques per each person in a certain region of Tajikistan exceeds the same indicators in the capitals of Islamic states.
For example, 1600 persons accounted for one mosque in Rudaki district or other districts of Khatlon region, while the capitals of some Islamic states have one mosque for 2000 to 5000 people. For the time being, the biggest mosque is to be built in the capital of our country with extensive use of our national architectural art worth more than 350 million somoni.
Moreover, today, all the necessary conditions are created for Ismailia followers to perform religious rites in the country. Dushanbe Ismaili Center operates in the capital – Dushanbe city and 83 caliphs of Ismailia course of Mountainous Badakhshan Autonomus Region freely worship in accordance with the requirements of acting legislation.
In the past, it was almost impossible to take any steps in these directions. This demonstrates the benefit of independence and dignity, respect and implementation of the principle of tolerance of Hanafi mazhab.
Of course, the increase in the number of mosques and religious organizations and associations is a clear demonstration of freedom of religion and the favorable conditions for the development of religious culture and morality.
At the same time, excessive deviation, construction of mosques and prayer without the need for the sake of self-promotion in every street and alley, and mahallas (local communities' offices) may increase the likelihood of unnecessary debate and controversy among Muslims to break the unity and stability of society, which is contrary to the substance, spirit and the uniting mission of Islam and other religions.
It is instructive to recall the precept of the Holy Qur'an on the event at the Ziror mosque at the time of the Prophet of Allah, and prevent a repeat of such provocations in the history of Muslim ummah.
The Holy Qur'an orders: And [there are] those [hypocrites] who took for themselves a mosque for causing harm and disbelief and discord among the believers and as a station for whoever had fought against Allah and His Messenger before. And they will surely swear: "We intended only what is good". And Allah testifies that indeed they are liars.
Historical mission of the Islam religion is the unity and stability of society, not incitement to discord among Muslims.
In this sense, it is said in the Holy Qur'an: "And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided". Or highlights in other chapter: "O mankind! Indeed, We have created you from male and female, and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another".
The call for unity and consolidation has been repeatedly emphasized in other scriptures, that understanding of its content in current circumstances is of paramount importance for the followers of all religions.
The reality shows that national independence has given a powerful impetus to the improvement of an atmosphere of religious freedom. But it is time to analyze what religious freedom and worship of this religion have given to the state independence, national self-knowledge and stability of the country.
Unfortunately, comparison and capturing the current state of development of a climate of religious belief is alarming.
Extremism, fanaticism, superstition, sowing the seeds of religious and sectarian enmity, hatred and discord, religious suicide actions and sacrifices and the abuse of Islam for the promotion of personal and group political interests and other negative actions that are now becoming a dangerous trend, forcing us to take decisive steps and actions in this direction.
As I have said it earlier, at a time when there was no any center of religious studies in Tajikistan and only two people annually were allowed to graduate from Bukhara madrassa, when the number of pilgrims and mosques could be counted on the fingers, unity and mutual understanding, respect for parents and elders, tolerance, education of the child in the spirit of love of science and other good deeds was much more higher.
However, today superstition, extremism and fanaticism are growing and even the most dangerous phenomenon of terrorism is recorded while there are 4 thousand mosques, 6 madrassas, one gymnasium and the Islamic Institute operate in the country, with more than 7.000 graduates of domestic and foreign religious schools and 200 thousand pilgrims live in the country.
According to reports, today, more than 80 families of our nationals are living in Waziristan province of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. You know very well the purpose for which people go there.
Moreover, some people who made pilgrimage commit offense and violate law, including extortion in various rituals and customs.
For example, only in 2012 and during the 5 months of this year, 50 pilgrims have committed crime.
We with the great expectations and bright hope have opened several madrassas and religious schools, that may our children have proper religious education, however dozens of them have committed crimes and acts of terrorism, parents sent their children abroad to study in Islamic countries, but brought the bodies of some young people from abroad, and some others of them charged on and prosecuted in foreign countries, as well as in Tajikistan for terrorist and extremist acts.
In connection with these cases, I want to remind one point: those are engaged in such heinous acts and abuse civil society system, should realize, that the government, along with the provision of the rights and freedoms is also required to monitor and ensure observance of the law.
Along with this, it should be noted that the religious culture in our country is not restricted to only Islamic culture. Today there are other religions and courses in Tajikistan and we respect the religious beliefs and cultural values of their followers.
Since, tolerance being a factor of the existence of civil society, the principle of our religious culture and the basis of the teachings of the founder of the Hanafi mazhab Imam A'zam is considered to be a proper ground for broad cooperation and inclusive dialogue among different religions and faiths.
Modern Tajikistan based on the Constitution and the constitutional norms of the secular state, as well as on the experience of tolerance of the Hanafi mazhab, has ensured respect for the right of existence of other religious views and opinions on measurements of universal values of freedom of belief.
Despite the fact that the followers of non-Islam religions are just over 1% of the population, there 75 non-Islamic religious associations have been registered in Tajikistan so far to meet the needs of the faith of their followers.
Today this indicator is much higher than in many developed countries all over the world. Tajikistan as a democratic and secular state and as a part of the law will further respect the followers of other religions. At the same time, it should be emphasized that they (non-Muslims) as full citizens of the country, along with the freedom of religion, are entrusted to carry a patriotic responsibility to comply with the laws that protect peace and stability, security and the national unity.
History suggests that the true Islamic civilization at all times of its development and enlargement has always been tolerant, constantly manifested its good and friendly relations and cooperation with other cultures and civilizations.
According to scientists of Islamic studies, it is constructive mutual-understanding, tolerance, relations of friendship, co-existence and interaction with other Islamic cultures for a long time represented the culture of Islam as a creative and progressive world civilization.
Alongside with this, the experience of many developed countries of the world proves one point: that the secular system creates conditions for a national culture along with religious values linked with the needs of society and people develop and allows people to freely worship traditions and rituals to satisfy their religious needs.
This process ultimately contributes to an expansion of world and would raise the spiritual level of the people.
Today, all the conditions are created for our Muslim nations to freely fulfill all devotional duties and practices. Nobody prevents them to go to the mosque and pray, keep the fast (in Ramadan) and make pilgrimage. That is, they are given the maximum freedom.
The people of Tajikistan after gaining an independence, based on the national culture and human values, has chosen the path of building a sovereign, democratic, legal and secular state, approved a reasonable relationship and fruitful co-operation of the secular state and religion, the legal basis of which is incorporated in the Constitution.
Beyond doubt, the proper definition of a stance of religion in the national culture and consciousness would remarkably contribute to strengthening political independence and the pillars of the state and to become one of the most important factors in strengthening national unity, stability, peace and security of society.
We therefore always perceive religious values as a key part of the national culture and relate to their development as an effective tool of moral education.
It is a source of pride that the ancient Tajik people along with other Muslim nations, made a worthy and notable contribution to the development of Islamic culture and civilization.
As you know, over 60% of adherents of sunna and Jamaat are the followers of Imam A'zam mazhab, who is the founder of the great school of Fiqh.
Khoja Muhammad Ismail Bukhari is known as the founder of Science of Hadith in the Islamic world, as his work "Saheh by Imam Bukhari" is considered the second most important book after the Holy Qur'an.
The noble sons of the Tajik nation like Muhammad Jariri Tabari, Zamakhshari, Moturudi, Qozi Abulais, Abuhafsi Kabir, Omar Khayyam, Shaikhurrais Abuali ibn Sino, Mavlono Jaloluddinin Rumi, Najmuddini Kubro and Bahovaddini Naqshband made a great contribution to the development of Islamic science, culture and civilization.
The world famous heritage of our well-known scientists is a valuable part of our wealthy national culture.
We therefore while implementing the policy of our independent state, along with other elements of national culture, give continued attention to the development of religious culture as well.
As, we, with our own distinct national and cultural appearance, want to attain our merit place in the world community and be its worthy part. We indeed have notable achievements in this direction and the fact that Tajikistan's international initiatives are widely supported by the international community, reflects our firm stance on the global stage.
However, unfortunately some groups and circles, incorrectly realizing this policy of our state, desire to restrict the rich and multi-faceted past and present culture of our people in the framework of religious values, or as completely oppose its religious values, which is absolutely not true.
These values in no way and case can oppose each other, on the contrary they should be developed in accordance with the call of the times and national interests.
It should not be forgotten that the Tajiks have proven more than five thousand years of history, they had even been a bearer of a high culture and the ancient tradition of public administration before the rise of Islam.
Although Tajik state for centuries was exposed to invasions and the pressure of strangers many times, but our ancestors precisely because of their language and an invaluable culture were able to hold the traditions of statehood or revive these traditions.
It is not for nothing that the European scientists included the pre-Islamic culture of the Tajik nation into the major cultures, which it had a profound influence on the formation and development of the cultures of other peoples and played a decent role in the promotion of Islamic culture.
Though our forefathers after the acceptance of Islam religion have joined the Islamic cultural environment, however, by means of their centuries-old language, culture and traditions have preserved a national mentality and via regeneration and protection of their language and national traditions they could create such states as Saffarids, Tohirids, then - the central state of Samanids and later the state of Ghurians.
Contemporary national state can exist on the basis of the protection and development of national values and national self-acknowledgement.
In a period of rapid globalization, we will be able to fully guarantee the safety of the state and society, national unity, peaceful life and firmness of the pillars of national statehood only if we continuously strive to improve the political culture and national self-knowledge, to seek to ensure that religious values serve development and the overall progress of our state and add new colorful paints into our spiritual life.
We should on regular basis inspire younger generations, who are the successors of the great and historic mission of statehood to stand aside from fanaticism, prejudice, religious extremism and narrow-mindedness.
We are also obliged to strengthen a sense of national pride and patriotism of our own children so that they can duly respect the rich and the multidimensional cultural values of the nation.
We upon this matter must also learn the best and positive experiences of civilized countries.
For example, most European nations prior to IV century AD, that is, before the reign of the Christian religion were following the Aryan-European polytheism.
Likewise, the Greeks and Byzantines had a rich scientific and philosophical culture and advanced civilization that among the Christian religion was the main basis of the Renaissance in Europe.
We today witness that the Europeans do not deny their pre-Christian culture, and do not seek to oppose the two stages of cultural development and evolution.
Before the era of the spread of Islam religion the ancestors of the Tajik people had an ancient culture, civilization, religion, traditions and literature. Therefore, we now do not have to cross out the golden pages of multi-millennial history of our people because of religious bigotry or ignorance and should not deny the historical past of the people.
According to observations, some deny or underestimate the great moral and ethical national values, which still play a decisive role in the formation and development of folk culture and do want to put them in front of religious values.
On the threshold of Navruz Day some people of groups claimed that this holiday is alien to our culture. Authors of such rumors should not forget that, on the contrary, Navruz is indeed one of the national and truly folk festivals of our people and has nothing to do to any religion and mazhabs.
Such a selfish and short-sighted attitude to national values which are historically centuries-old and important factor of self-consciousness of the people beyond doubt weakens the foundations of a culture of national state governance.
We should not forget who our nation was, and what it has made through its multi-millennial history. For, forgetting the glorious history of the nation, ultimately, leads to the disappearance of a spirit of the nation.
Prominent political scientists knowingly said: "In order to eliminate the nation, you have to tear it away from its historical roots, including those of its language and culture".
I always emphasize that disappearance of a language and the culture of the people leads to an extinction of state itself. History is littered with such examples.
In this regard, attitude to the history of culture, to the history of religious consciousness of the nation, national and religious customs and traditions is also part of the public policy in the field of religion and must be objectively considered in the framework of science and secular principles.
I have repeatedly stated in my speeches from the lofty rostrums of influential international and regional organizations, that we honor the sacred religion of Islam, as one of the major moral, ethical and spiritual sources, since Islam has become one of the important pillars of world outlook, philosophy, spirituality and morality in our society.
From this point of view, we have to protect the holy religion of Islam from splitters and conjunction with extremism, demonstrate its true spiritual and moral essence, nature and the tolerance to the people, in particular to our young generation, and apply Islamic values in the moral and ethical education of our children.
Unity of all people in the country, its formation and development an integrated national identity is a core basis of our modern state governance and an important factor for Tajikistan's progress.
Everyone knows that an overwhelming majority of the population of Tajikistan on religious faith is Muslims or link its cultural mentality with Islam.
We therefore cannot be indifferent with regard to issues associated with religion, freedom of conscience and beliefs, as well as the formation and development of the religious mentality of the people.
Especially at a time when we eyewitness an increasing politicization of Islam and ignition of the flames of historical and religious conflict in some Islamic countries, which threaten to expand throughout the Islamic world, we should cherish the purity of our faith and strengthen our political vigilance.
Our people should remember well what tragic and dire consequences for society may external intervention have in these processes. Therefore, the people should always be on the alert and vigilant.
Sacred religion of Islam encourages people to unity and consolidation, and condemns division and discord, considering them the fruit of hatred and malice, weakness and dependence of Muslims on others.
The Almighty Allah in the Holy Qur'an condemns the instigators, instructs His Messenger and the Muslim Ummah keep away from such dissenters.
Upon this matter, the Holy Qur'an says: "Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects – you, are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do".
It is also said in Hadith of the Prophet of Allah: "You ought to be united and avoid a division".
Honoring national and religious values is one of the primary guidelines of the public policy of Tajikistan. Along with this, we have to constantly improve a strategy of relationship between state and religion in the interests of the people of the country, rights and freedoms of people and most of all, to the cause of national security and sovereignty within the bounds of the Constitution.
Unfortunately, not all people correctly understand the wisdom and the essence of this truth. Some people and certain groups abusing democratic rights and freedoms want to justify their political ambitions by means of the power of religion.
They also claiming to protect the rights and interests of the Muslims, defending religious purity and identity are sowing the seeds of division and discord among the citizens of the country, having a negative impact on the minds of young people, jeopardizing social stability and national security, they even want to change the course of social development.
They act not only against the requirements of the law of the state and public morality, but are not aware of Qur'anic and divine teachings that "discord (fitna) is worse than murder".
These people interpret the tolerant policy of the state and the education of the national spirit by respecting the historic heritage and traditions of our people as reverence for ancestors and contempt for Islam.
Regrettably, some naive and gullible people fall victim to deceptive words of ill-wishers and enemies. The Holy Qur'an warns believers not to trust such immoral and hypocritical people.
As the Almighty Allah tells in verse 6 Surah Al-Hujurat: "O you who have believed! If there comes to you a disobedient one with news, investigate and verify the correctness of the message, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become regretful over what you have done".
I state with full responsibility that the Government of Tajikistan is respectful of all religions, but for the sake of security, peace and stability of the society will strongly suppress the manifestations of any kind of division and discord.
We should be well aware that a democratic and secular state recognizes and guarantees religious and personal rights and freedoms, however these rights and freedoms not exempt anyone from responsibility before the law and the state independence, the history of the nation and other interests of the people and the state of Tajikistan.
Neither right, nor freedom can go beyond the national shrines, which recognized by the Constitution and international legal acts.
This provision is set forth in the national legislation of most civilized countries and Tajikistan as a member of the international community and independent nation cannot stand off from this reality.
Fortunately, the vast majority of our population supports this policy, for it is well aware that it serves the interests of the nation and the state.
The Constitution of Tajikistan, recognizing the need for the principle of the separation of religious institutions from the state, considers its implementation as an important prerequisite of constitutional rights of individuals to freedom of conscience aimed at the prevention of interference of personal or group self-serving political interests in the issues of freedom of belief.
Artificial politicization of Islam throughout history has repeatedly been fraught with tragic consequences for Muslims and Islamic civilization. We know from history that the abuse of the religion of Islam for political ends and career became the cause of violent religious clashes and bloodshed.
Some people interpret the separation of religious associations from the state as a contradiction between the principle of secularism and religion, explaining the true essence of the issue for people to believe that the Government is pushing religion away from public life, which is absolutely wrong.
Although, state refers to religion as one of the essential foundations of national culture, not only displaces it from the public life of its citizens, but also maintains and nurtures a close interaction with religious organizations and associations in the fields of culture, ethical and social areas and this is one of the main features of our model of a secular state.
Sacred religion of Islam, along with development and enhancement of the cultural and spiritual system has had a significant impact on the attitudes of many peoples and nations.
But we should not forget that the moral and ethical values of Islam in the historical period of its existence have been threatened for many times under the influence of political factors.
However religious scholars and thinkers have always sought to instruct people on the right path and the actual perception of moderate Islam.
In this regard, our scientists and religious leaders have to using their intellectual capacity to ensure the security and stability of our country, to contribute to addressing current challenges, as in his time, the founder of our school of thought Imam A'zam and his disciples urged people to virtue, tolerance and stability.
Therefore I remind you that an implementation of serious researches about the place and the role of Islam in modern society are not solely a scientific issue, but have important practical significance.
Despite the fact that, this agenda at first glance seems simple, in reality it is a very intricate, complicated and sensitive. And, as we see, there still has not been done anything noticeable in this direction.
Therefore, the Centre for Islamic Studies, relevant Institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Departments of Sociology of universities of the country and all scientists should broaden the scope of research in this field and to present scientific and analytical works to people.
I want to re-emphasize that the question of gaining extremist features of some religious sects and movements today has become a serious problem of the Islamic world, an impact of which we feel in our own country.
During the five months of this year, 32 cases of extremism and terrorism are recorded in the country.
It is regrettable, that today the Islamic world is experiencing tribal, sectarian and ideological conflicts.
Geopolitical confrontation on the one hand, tribal and sectarian differences - on the other hand, have gained different religious colors in the form of political struggle.
Based on these confrontations, religious and political parties and movements are intensified in the Islamic world as a means of promotion of geopolitical and power-seeking interests of states.
I repeatedly said and I reiterate that extremism and terrorism have no religion, and nationality, mazhab, and associating Islam with these shameful phenomena is wrong. Fight against extremism, terrorism, and crime should not in any way be viewed as a struggle against religion.
It is important not to allow the use of Islam in such impure purposes, criminals and extremists must be brought to justice for crime they commit.
In this context, we have to remember the famous couplet, which says:
Islam is essentially blameless,
All the vices are in behavior of Muslims.
The major threats which undermine modern society are fanaticism, extremism, terrorism and artificial politicization of Islam for the sake of selfish ends of certain groups.
Protection of Islam from these negative effects is not only the duty of the government, but also is the main responsibility of religious communities, the Islamic Center of Tajikistan, the Council of Ullemas (Council of Religious Scholars) and every scholar of Islamic Sciences. Since, no one has the right to abuse our belief, religious creed and use Islam in their personal and political struggle.
Fanaticism and extremism in any form and manifestations are a great danger to every nation, state, religion and beliefs of the people. Nowadays it has become a common that nations associate extremism, fanaticism and terrorism mainly with unemployment, poverty and misery.
Of course, we do understand that poverty and unemployment contribute to the manifestation of extremism and terrorism in the world, but it should be noted that external intervention using low literacy and culture, lack of secular and religious knowledge, ignorance, and indifference towards the supreme national and religious values in the modern world has become one of the major factors of occurrence and escalation of extremism.
Unfortunately, officials of the government agencies and religious principals and those who have religious knowledge not always seriously address this issue and even sometimes show inaction or an absolute indifference to these deficiencies.
Our society is an integral part of the global community, and we feel an influence of the latter-day extremist movements on the minds of some of our uninformed young people via the Internet and other media sources.
Some young people by following these extremist ideas, based on their narrow views even announced the national values a blasphemy and heresy.
The experience of developed countries shows clearly that development of modern science and technology is the foundation and most important term for social and political progress and improves the level and quality of life of the people.
Therefore, we need to pay special attention to the economic and technological progress of our country, to the development of science and education and personnel training and the maximum introduction of state-of-the-art technologies and equipment.
In this regard, it should be emphasized that religious institutions, along with religious education, have to also be engaged in the study of foreign languages, in the development of information technology and training of wide range of other professions.
I in this connection wish to draw your attention to another critical issue of society.
In the Muslim culture of the peoples of Central Asia, intelligent, pious and educated man is known as "Mullah" (religious cleric). However today, anyone who wears religious clothes, regardless of level of his literacy and piety, is known as "Mullah".
As the point of clothing of religious leaders is concerned, I want to emphasize one point. I think the time has come to Imam Khatib of mosques, who bear a huge responsibility in the religious and moral education of the people to be an example and a model for behavior, appearance, and of course, in terms of education, knowledge, ethics and spirituality in society.
Today it has become a usual, that some of our mullahs, once reach this status commit such acts, which are considered an offense and a crime, defaming the name and status of a religious man and a Muslim.
For example, a crime was recently committed in Bokhtar district of Khatlon region by Abdurahmonov Jabbor known as "Mullo Jabbor" that he (Mullo Jabbor) misled the 7 young people, saying that he enchants law enforcement officers, and allegedly no one will know about the deeds committed by criminals.
As a result of several criminal offenses committed by this young astray people, who led by the mullah, have stolen a property of citizens in the amount of nearly 2 million somoni and perpetrators of the crime awarded Mullah in the amount of 200 thousand somoni as a reward.
A few years ago, 34 years-old Sobir Giyoev, resident of Vose' district who is known as "Mullo Sobir" got married to a woman, and the years later marries to her under-age 12 years-old daughter who was 27 years younger than him, thus committing crime. An inquiry is now in progress on this crime. His wedding ritual (nikah) with under-age girl was conducted by imam-khatib of a mosque of Navobod village of Vose' district Khujamov Qurbonnazar.
Another case of committing shameful crimes by Haji in Rudaki district is that he fraudulently attracted underage in his home to drinking of alcohol, in a state of alcoholic intoxication, committed a gang rape of a Tajik woman. Chaste woman was disgraced as a result of this heinous act.
In February 2013, Ardaboev Sobir known as "Shaikh Sabir" (an active member of the IRPT) was detained in Rushan district, who together with a man convicted two times in the past, ferried 20 kg of drugs from Afghanistan to Tajikistan.
Another example, Ahrorov Mirghiyos - resident of Istaravshan - presented himself as a folk healer and during the fraudulent "treatment" committed lewd acts with respect to the sick woman, for which he was imprisoned under the Criminal Code.
Or, another resident of Istaravshan - Sultonov Dilshod also introduced himself as a religious doctor and made lewd acts with respect to the sick woman, who was 20 years younger than him. As a result of this act he was fined 18.000 somoni.
Citizen Ashurov Musayam - a resident of Rasht district was engaged in illegal underage training in unsanitary conditions in his apartment building in Dushanbe, chastised his student for academic failure by burning him with iron.
Or, Pardaev Sherali, resident of Yovon district a man convicted first for drug trafficking and drug-addiction, and second time for fraud, after being released from prison has become a Mullah in Vahdat and Faizabad district and introducing himself as a healer of many diseases, including treatment of blindness, impotence and etc. engaged in fortune-telling and witchcraft, and misappropriated a huge amount of people's money, although he himself suffers of drug-addiction.
In connection with the abovementioned matters, Committee on Religious Affairs and Islamic Centre of Tajikistan are obliged to pay serious attention to the purity of moral and spiritual aspect of religious leaders and at the same time to develop and adopt a model clothes for khatibs of mosques with an embodiment of the elements of national culture by the end of the year, and to establish skill-improvement and qualification courses for khatibs by involving religious scientists and scholars within the country and abroad.
Mullah in any case, if he is literate and pious, should not use religion for material gain and make religion a craft of his own life.
The Holy Qur'an clearly says that a model of true devotion to every Muslim, especially for leaders of mosques is the execution of the mission and religious precepts, the prayer in the name of Allah and the reward for it is also in the hands of the Creator.
The Almighty Allah in Surah Hud, verse 29 says: "And O my people! I do not ask you for it any wealth. My reward is not but from Allah. And I am not one to drive away those who have believed. Indeed, they will meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people behaving ignorantly".
In Islam, to earn a living through honest work is the tradition of the prophets and the supreme example of following the great glory of piety.
Islam considers honest labor as the supreme principle and value. Most importantly, Islam associates honor, dignity and human generosity with labor, and encourages humanity to seeking a decent profession. The gift of God is associated with the desire of God's servants.
In Islam, one need to have a profession; only work provides a person's life, eliminates begging, makes people independent of each other and at the same time increases their collective strength, ability and might.
All the prophets and great religious leaders had any profession and craft, and lived off the honest labor. Prophet David during a meeting with a shoemaker said, "Oh, man! Work and eat, since God loves those who works and eats". A great prophet, the messenger of Allah at the beginning was a shepherd, and then engaged in trade, and Imam A'zam was also a trader.
We know from the lives of these outstanding individuals, that they at the expense of their honest earnings and fair incomes have helped thousands of people in need.
The fact that Mavlono Yaqub Charkhi engaged in farming and Imam Ghazzoli taught at madrassas - each of them is the great school of hard work, purity and honesty in our days. Therefore, religious leaders must, along with getting religious knowledge, learn a certain craft to ensure a decent living.
Along with giving attention to the education of professions and crafts from the point of view of Islam, we should not forget that the Imam Khatibs of mosques in our country in the same row with different sectors of society play an important role in the spiritual and religious education of the people of Tajikistan.
The experience of Muslim countries historically recognizes and provides for their government's financial support.
In this regard, the Ministry of Finance and the Committee on Religious Affairs in cooperation with other relevant agencies are entrusted with a task to set formal wage for Imam Khatibs of mosques of the country from January 2014.
Imam Khatibs and religious scholars, above all, must themselves be an exemplary, regularly upgrade the level of their own knowledge, and advocate progress and development, be the initiators of the good and constructive actions for the prosperity of the motherland. For, as it is today, that is, in the era of space science and technology progress, we observe from the life in some Islamic countries, no nation can develop and improve the life of the people without studying the science and technology.
On the contrary, religious and spiritual people in each of their conversation and instruction need to encourage young people to observe good human morals, study science and knowledge, attain modern professions and crafts, learn foreign languages, enhance the sense of patriotism and promote an overall progress and prosperity of the country. It is part of their religious mission and is the human duty of religious clerics.
For, if our young people will as much is educated and enlightened, skilled and knowledgeable, our motherland will become prosperous and the state becomes powerful in future.
Likewise, it should be recalled, that Almighty Allah requires every Muslim, man and woman, to study science.
One of those close associates to the great prophet says: "The desire for science - is the worship, the repetition of science - is a prayer, teaching science to those need education – is a charity, to devote oneself to science – is closeness to God. Way to study science - is the way to heaven ... ".
Imam Ghazzoli in his book "Revival of the Religious Sciences" wrote: "What distinguishes a manind from animals - it is a science".
In the beginning of the new century of the third millennium the world changes and humanity every day makes new discoveries, invents unmanned planes and cars, however we are focusing on what how turban should look like, how coat should be worn, as if there are no any other problems in the world.
We should not forget our past history, that smattering and ostentation have impeded the Muslim Ummah from progress, and prosperity, and made Muslim-inhabited countries vassals of other developed nations. Though, educated and trained Muslim has to be guided by an essence of divine teachings on studies, education, knowledge, protection of borders, and promotion of the homeland's progress by means of inventions and discoveries.
We have to also recall that Islamic civilization has brought up dozens of great and outstanding scientists in mathematics, natural sciences, physics, astronomy and etc.
Moreover, we should not forget that the very first ayat the Almighty Allah has commanded to His messenger commences with the word "read", "read in the name of your Lord who created the universe".
In this regard, I recall and emphasize thoughts that I have suggested earlier, that the remnants of fanaticism, extremism and obscurantism are ignorance, and they only bring misery to the people of Tajikistan and nothing more.
The main reason for these negative factors is the illiteracy and remoteness from science. Therefore, referring to all religious leaders, scholars and Islamic clerics, I reiterate that do not interfere with the school-studies and science-learning of young boys and girls.
Furthermore, do not forget one important point: when the nation is illiterate, the society will be dominated by the darkness and the people will be in a state of ignorance. In this regard, do not forget the statement of the Prophet of Islam, who said: "Whoever is on the way and is looking for science, God prepares the way for him to Paradise".
I therefore emphasize once again: do not impede the aspirations of young people for knowledge, do not break their fate for bright, enlightened future. If our young people do not acquire science and profession, who will run the state then and who will govern the development in future? Who will build the roads and power plants? Who will build factories? Who will make discoveries and inventions? Who will manage and promote education, health care, culture, industry, agriculture, and the whole state and public life?
I in this regard, would like to recall that, after the collective construction of mosques we should now build schools, hospitals, clinics, tunnels, roads and industrial enterprises, that is, we have to further our country's development and improve the living standard of the people.
I seizing this opportunity, would like to draw your attention to one of the most important ethical issues an implementation of which is recognized by sacred religion of Islam and the other world religions and from the obligatory religious and humanity prescriptions of their followers.
It is a matter of charity and support for those in need. Islam in line with its five pillars recognizes paying Zakat, and Sadaqah (charity) and Fitr (alms) of Ramadan to orphans and indigent people as one of its principals and third pillar.
The propertied Muslim must annually donate to the needy a certain part of his property as a sadaqah. However, payment of sadaqah and zakat for the poor is not obligatory.
The ayat 18 of Sura(h) al-Hadid with regard to preaching charity says: "Verily, those who give Sadaqat (i.e Zakat and alms), men and women, and lend Allah a goodly loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and theirs shall be an honorable good reward (i.e. Paradise)".
However, in order to regulate sadaqah and donations, particularly to deliver donations of Muslims to indeed needy people, religious clerics, ullemas and employees of the country's mosques should be involved in learning and benefiting from the experience of other Islamic countries, to seek Shariah-compliant ways and means to guide people on the path of good deeds.
In this regard, it should be emphasized that the support of the needy, especially orphans being a religious duty, guardianship over orphans is honorable and good deed. Allah through his Prophet, to such trustees says: "Whoever custody of his/her own and another orphan, he and I, as well as these two, can be in paradise".
The ayat 60 of At-Tawba sura(h) of the Holy Q'uran says, that sadaqah is only for the poor and the needy and for those employed for it and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah.
Prophetic hadiths have identified sadaqah for the poor, needy, orphans and the disabled.
Today there are 102,000 young orphans, 3,800 orphan children (has neither father nor mother) and 200,000 low-income families live in the country, that they all belong to the group, to whom giving sadaqah is defined by the Holy Qur'an.
I think it is right time that religious communities in cities and regions have to take drastic measures to revitalize the proper promotion of giving sadaqah (charity) and donations, and through generous and noble people take orphans, the disabled and low-income families under their guardianship.
With the view of promoting the right and purposeful use of sadaqah from religious points of view, Islamic Centre of Tajikistan, grand and regional mosques have to be attached to orphans, to the needy and poor families.
Special bank accounts have been opened in the name of orphans in all cities and regions. In this connection, it is necessary to ensure that charity and other financial donations and material aids are transferred to their bank accounts.
Governors of regions, chairmen of cities and districts, heads of village and rural jamoats, standing committees, the Committee on Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education, as well as khatibs of mosques and religious ulemas are obliged to jointly establish coherent cooperation and streamline financial support.
I would also like to recall that the agitation, propaganda and explanation of the population, especially young people and adolescents on healthy lifestyle, prevention of crime and violation of law, preclude of the people from dangerous ways, especially from drug abuse and other acts detrimental to the gene pool of the nation are also civil and professional duty of religious scholars and clerics.
Pilgrimage to Hajj is one of the main pillars of the holy religion of Islam. It should be noted that thanks to our national independence there has been provided all conditions for the worship of religious obligations, including pilgrimage to Hajj that more than six thousand citizens of our country annually visit the holy shrines of Islam.
Along with this, it should be highlighted, that some people made the Hajj ritual as a mean of ostentation and smattering and without any reason commit Hajj more than five-six and even more times.
Judge yourself, what is the logic and what kind of substances does their action have? I think that if wealthy people instead of ostentation and smattering will help the orphans, disabled, indigent families and needy people or provide villages and streets with water, and build schools or classrooms or improve the roads, they will gain more blessings. Our great and outstanding ancestors said in this regard as follows:
Win a heart, that it is like visiting the Hajj,
Since winning a heart, is better than thousand Kaaba.
Tajikistan respects the Hajj ritual as one of the five pillars of Islam and pays a special attention to this aspect, but it is necessary to observe its requirements and substances which were defined through the Shariat regulations. And [due] to Allah form the people is a pilgrimage to the Hajj – for whoever is able to find thereto a way, as it is said in ayat 97 of Ali-Imran Sura(h).
Unfortunately, we know many cases that despite their poor, and improper living conditions and their needy relatives, our citizens visit Hajj not once or twice, but many times.
Even, sick people for whom pilgrimage to Hajj is not necessary try by any means and ways commit this ritual.
Therefore, the Committee on Religious Affairs, Islamic Centre and scholars and religious leaders need to carry out explanatory activities in this direction to raise awareness of the people.
Six years ago, in order to streamline some of the folk customs and traditions, to protect the material interests of citizens, increase the culture awareness in the organization of events and ceremonies, and to reduce poverty for the first time national law - the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan "On regulation of traditions, celebrations and ceremonies in the Republic of Tajikistan" was adopted in the country.
While time as the chief justice has proved that the adoption of such a fundamental law was timely and necessary initiative, contributed to addressing existing deficiencies and the elimination of difficulties people facing with, and protected the interests of the people of the country whilst the planet experiences globalization, continued harsh financial and economic crises, global warming, droughts and water scarcity, systematic increase in food prices and etc.
The correctness of our initiative was proved as some time after the adoption of the law, it became the subject of imitation and repetition in some countries.
We, as a social state aim to seek ways to address the challenges of the people, took advantage of the free atmosphere of civil society, and supporting the legislative right of the people in a democratic country, adopted such a law, which by essence is indeed national.
Historical experience shows that the attraction and fascination for pomp, self-promotion of individuals and groups have repeatedly laid a heavy burden on the shoulders of civilizations and states.
Therefore, religious, and literary and moral sources of civilized and progressive people, promoting savings and thrift for a better education of mankind, condemn profligacy and ostentation. All the heavenly books - the Holy Qur'an, the Gospels, the Torah and the Bible teach thrift and instruct humanity to a peaceful and orderly life.
It is said in the Holy Qur'an in ayat 185 of Sura(h) al-Baqarah: "Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship", that means the Almighty Allah created you not to have a life of full of intricate and hardships.
Great personalities and outstanding figures of our science and literature Rudaki, Firdausi, Ghazzoli, Sanoi, Attori, Saadi and Hafiz, Nosiri Khusrav and Mavlono Rumi, considering waste, excessive boasting, and pride for the material wealth as the negative acts, called modesty, good deeds, virtue and donations to those in need as the best humankind and faith acts.
As some time ago I have explicitly mentioned in my statement in Sughd region, according to the UN database, one out of every seven inhabitant in the world suffers hunger every day, and about 20 thousand children under the age of five die from lack of food or hunger daily. Now more than 1 billion of the world's population regularly suffers from hunger.
The Tajik government has chosen this path, based on past experience and taking into account the realities of life, that is, to eliminate abuse among the population and to ensure the present and future peaceful life in the country.
The national legislation of the country, first of all, has created favorable conditions for the conduct of rituals and ceremonials. Within a short span of time, marriage increased by 2 times, thousands of young men and women who because of lack of material conditions could not tie the nuptial knot, got marries and have built families.
Marriage which in 2005 and 2006 was reaching 50 thousand every year, this indicator in 2008 reached 107 thousand, and in the subsequent year exceeded 100,000.
Implementation of the law has also created favorable conditions for the accumulation of funds in the Banks throughout the country.
During the 6 years of an implementation of the law, monetary accumulation of people in banks increased by 20 times, people seized a tradition of taking loans from banks for weddings, the number of private vehicles over this period of time has increased manifold, and the use of information and mobile services increased by two times.
Citizens got the opportunity to improve living conditions, build houses, and decorate and well arrange their homes, and most of all, to invest in the education of their children.
In connection with the process of an implementation of the law, I want to emphasize one point. Compliance with national law mostly depends on the activities of religious leaders and scholars of the country. For, most of the funeral rites which are held in the form of remnants and waste, cannot take place without the participation of the clergy of the country.
The Holy Qur'an, counting the "spenders brothers of Satan", forbids wasteful or unnecessary spending. Therefore, the governors of regions, chairmen of cities and districts, heads of village and rural jamoats, and local committees, the Committee on Religious Affairs, the Standing Commissions on regulation of traditions, celebrations and ceremonies, Islamic Centre of Tajikistan, the Council of Ulema, the Imam Khatibs of mosques and religious scholars, as well as Attorney General's Office and law enforcement agencies need to systematically take measures to foster a culture of savings and frugality among the citizens and to take decisive actions against the perpetrators.
At the beginning of the new century, the world community, along with many financial, economic and environmental challenges faced serious threats, including the continued growth of extremism, terrorism and transnational organized crime.
As you are aware from the media in recent years, Islamic countries in many cases, are mentioned as a cause of many challenges and threats.
In such circumstances, we must always be ready to protect the public from the adverse effects of any kind of threatening elements, to defend peace and stability, promote national unity, political stability and strengthen the security of the state and the people.
I am confident, that in such a sensitive situation, the sacred religion of Islam with its supreme values, as a unifying force of the nation and society, will serve, including in educating people in the spirit of tolerance, promote stability and peace. It will play an effective role in the upbringing of the young generation in the spirit of self-knowledge, national identity and patriotism.
At the same time, in the ever growing complexity of the situation in the region and the world at large, mission of the religious leaders consists of building on the national traditions of their ancestors and the teachings of the sacred religion of Islam and instruct society on the right path towards unity, mutual understanding, protection of the safety and stability of society, prosperity and development, and to notably contribute to the realization of lofty objectives of our independent state, its sustainable socio-economic development, improvement and progress of our beloved homeland, and not to be indifferent with regard to peace and stability in the society, development of the state and the nation.
The primary task of every leader and person concerned, active members of society in the country, especially governors of regions, cities and districts, heads of village and rural jamoats, local committees, parents, teachers and educators, scholars, writers and intellectuals in general, as well as religious leaders and every honest man is to systematically promote the supreme values of our national and religious culture - the good and virtue, justice and honesty, nobility and generosity, support for orphans and the needy - among the population, not least among the young people.
All we have to, first of all, by being examples of patriotism, instructing the population to prosperity and progress of the motherland, to prevent the worship of strange and betrayal of national and state interests of Tajikistan, constantly feeling the sanctity of national and state interests be always vigilant and love our homeland.
We should not forget that the Almighty Allah has laid happiness of every people to him/her and the prosperity of each country on its people.
Every nation that is trained, knows, strive and work hard, will certainly develop and prosper, for the Holy Qur'an says: "Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves".
So, we need to change and improve our own nature referring to self-knowledge and patriotism.
I am convinced, that duly understanding these issues, all of you, dear those present, and all the glorious people of Tajikistan will further perform your sacred duty to strengthen national unity, reinforce the power of the state and facilitate the progress of society, and shall direct all your aspirations and efforts for the prosperity of Tajikistan.
In conclusion, I wish all the glorious people of Tajikistan good health and every success, and pray to the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth to forever protect the security and stability of our country, lasting peace and genuine the well-being of our society, the welfare of every citizen of our beloved homeland.
May the Almighty teach and guide all of us to the right path, preserve our country from disaster and grant an abundance of wealth to our region.
May the people of this country live in peace and harmony, may the Almighty Allah protect the young people and bestow His blessing on the life of our nation!
Official Ceremony of launching the construction of Turkmenistani section of Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Turkmenistan took place in Atamurod city of Turkmenistan which was attended by the Presidents: E.Ramon of Tajikistan, H.Karzai of Afghanistan and G.Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan.
The ceremony of official launching began with the demonstration of video footage on the process of construction of railways of Turkmenistan in the independence period of this country.
During the speeches of heads of states, it was in particular reminded that according to the plan the Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Turkmenistan railway should be built and commissioned in the distance of more than 400 km at the expense of over 400 million USD in 2 next years.
As it was informed, the Turkmenistani section of the railway will be constructed at the expense of Turkmenistan itself and Tajikistani and Afghanistani sections of this railroad will be erected with attraction of investments of international financial institutions.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, President of Turkmenistan, stated in particular that "this railway will not only have a great importance for our three countries but also for the whole region".
Afghan President Hamid Karzai named the implementation of this important regional and international project "as a step towards a happier and more developed future" and added that Afghanistan will take its consistent efforts for commissioning this railway. He, referring to constructive regional policy of the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, expressed confidence that "Tajikistan will also launch the construction of this railway in its territory in the nearest future".
Head of Tajik state Emomali Rahmon stressed that "indeed we should also launch the construction of this railway as soon as possible, as this road of friendship will actively facilitate an unprecedented expansion of economic, trade and cultural ties between these three countries and the whole region".
The construction of this railway was officially launched through unveiling the memorial board by the heads of three states and laying the first rail of this road of friendship, brotherhood and strengthening of exemplary neighborly relations between Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon met on the occasion of the Youth Day with more than 2200 leading and active youth of the republic in the state complex "Kokhi Borbad".
During his speech head of state Emomali Rahmon first of all congratulated the audience and the people of Tajikistan, particularly the youth of the country on the Youth Day.
The main goal of the meeting was to analyze accomplished works for implementation of youth policy and to identify future tasks and their solutions.
Head of state Emomali Rahmon named the youth "a huge constructive power" and expressed encouragement that over 5 million people or 70% of the country's population consists of youth aged under 30.
As it was noted, 1500 comprehensive schools, including 37 gymnasiums, 49 lyceums and 37 boarding schools have been constructed and commissioned with modern designs and all necessary conditions at the expense of 2,7 billion TJS from 2001 to 2012 for gifted pupils, for worthy education of younger generation of the country.
According to head of state, a remarkable progress is also seen in the sphere of higher education. As it was mentioned, 156 thousand students are studying in 36 institutions of higher education for 300 specializations. It was reminded for comparison that totally 13 higher education institutions were operating in Soviet era in Tajikistan, including one university and 12 institutes, where only 82 specializations were offered.
With reference to increase of contribution and role of youth in the Tajik society, it was in particular noted that 40% of public administration officers make up youth.
The President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon attended the 38th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank, which is being conducted during the recent days in the city of Dushanbe.
It should be reminded that more than 740 high-ranking guests from almost 80 countries of the world and numerous regional and world organizations have come to Tajikistan to take part in this great forum.
Head of state Emomali Rahmon during his speech referred to crucial role of Islam as a means of enhancement of political ties, development of science, culture, trade and economy, and invited the Muslim countries and members of IDB to constructive cooperation, particularly to support of socio-economic progress of developing countries in the Muslim world.
Ahmad Muhammad Ali, President of Group of IDB, speaking at the meeting, noted that currently in Tajikistan numerous projects for development of social sphere and infrastructure are being implemented at the expense of 320 million USD of allocated funds of the Islamic Development Bank.
According to Ahmad Muhammad Ali, the Islamic Development Bank is well aware of priorities of socio-economic development of Tajikistan, including on the construction of railways and automobile roads, power stations, power transmission lines, enhancement of different sectors of agriculture, processing industry and others and will further render its assistance in the implementation of such projects.
President of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon met with over 2200 active women and young girls of the republic on the occasion of Mother’s Day in state complex Kokhi Borbad.
The Head of State Emomali Rahmon congratulated the audience and all mothers and women of the republic on Mother’s Day and stressed that the celebration of Mother’s holiday in the first days of spring season and on the eve of Navruz has an ancient thousand-year history.
It was noted that for enhancement of women’s status in the society, education of initiative women and active girls in the society and their promotion through governing positions in state and social bodies 18 normative and legal acts have been adopted, that protect rights and freedoms of women, gender equality between women and men and social status of the women.
According to statistical analysis of the Head of State Emomali Rahmon, which was announced from the tribune, since 2006 every year businesswomen are allocated 40 grants, the total amount of which for 7 recent years has reached 5 million 300 thousand TJS. From these funds 96 business structures of women and 170 private businesswomen have enjoyed and organized their fruitful activities in trade and small production.
A particular attention was paid to the role of women and mothers in worthy education of children and, in general, new healthy generation. It was also highlighted that women can play an important role in fruitful implementation of Laws of the Republic of Tajikistan “About responsibilities of parents in the education of their children” and “About regulation of traditions, celebrations and rituals”.
On March 8, 2013 has gifted six facsimiles of the Oxus Treasury to the National Museum of Tajikistan for its Opening Ceremony which is due in coming days.
The leadership of the Museum handed over 6 facsimiles of the treasure to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland H.E. Erkin Kasymov.
During the meeting, issues related to establishing bilateral cooperation between Museums of Tajikistan and British Museum were discussed, with particular focus on further collaboration on assisting newly established National Museum of Tajikistan with training its personnel.
"The Oxus Treasure in the British Museum is one of the most important collections of objects of precious metal belonging to the period of the Achaemenid Empire of the sixth-fourth centuries BC and found in the nineteenth century within the modern territory of Tajikistan.
These objects were discovered over the space of three or four years, between about 1876 and 1880, at the archaeological site now called Takht-i Kuwad which lies on the north bank of the Amu dar’ya. This site and traditional ferry-point across the river lies close to the confluence of the rivers Vakhsh and Pyandzh, and the collection soon became known as the Oxus Treasure after the ancient name of the Amu dar’ya.
The objects were sold by local villagers to a group of Bukharan merchants who passed through in May 1880. While they were travelling between Kabul and Peshawar these merchants were attacked and taken prisoner by local robbers. News soon reached the British authorities and Captain Francis Burton, a political officer in the Kabul region, rode in pursuit and succeeded in negotiating the release and safe passage of the merchants. In return they presented him with a magnificent gold armlet with griffin head terminals originally been encrusted with coloured inlays. When the merchants reached Rawalpindi they sold the remainder of the treasure. An unknown number of pieces remain dispersed but many were rapidly bought up by Major-General Sir Alexander Cunningham, then Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India Department of the Government of India, who presented some and sold the remainder to Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, a curator in the British Museum. Franks bequeathed his entire collection, including the Oxus Treasure, to the British Museum when he died in 1897. The Oxus Treasure was soon afterwards placed on public display where it remains a centrepiece of the new permanent exhibition in the Rahim Irvani Gallery for Ancient Iran.
The Oxus Treasure consists of over 180 objects, almost all of silver, gilt silver or gold. These fall into several quite different types of object. The largest group, totalling 51 pieces, consists of thin gold sheet plaques with engravings mostly showing male (rarely female) dedicants grasping offerings, flowers or bundles of twigs resembling the barsom sticks of Zoroastrian ritual. All of these plaques appear to have been previously folded or rolled and this is very common for ex-voto offerings left by worshippers, in this case perhaps left in a temple and a small number of fragmentary gold-covered iron rods from the same collection have been interpreted by one Russian scholar as symbolic barsoms. The second largest category consists of personal adornments, including bracelets, armlets, torcs, beads and clothing appliqués. Many of these are incomplete, missing their original coloured inlays of semi-precious stones and glass, or cut and twisted. When the pieces were first published in 1905 it was suggested that this damage was the result of the robbers attempting to divide their spoils, but the possibility remains that some may reflect ancient recycling before the treasure was hidden.
There are some individually spectacular pieces in the Treasure. There are gold and silver tablewares, including bowls, a jug and a hollow fish-shaped flask which resembles a variety of carp still known from the region. There is also a gold chariot model with the front of the chariot decorated with the head of the Egyptian dwarf-god Bes who was very popular across the Persian empire as a protective figure. A decorated gold scabbard belongs to a type of short sword commonly depicted on carved stone palace reliefs at Persepolis (Takht-i Jamshid) in Iran and known in ancient times as an akinakes. There are also a small number of gold and silver statuettes, some in Persian or Median dress, and occasionally clutching barsom sticks as on the plaques. These support the idea that some objects had been made specially to be dedicated as symbols of personal belief to an important temple. The remainder were worn or used as personal items and therefore might have been offered not only because they were private possessions but also because of the value they held by being made of precious metal.
A large number of the objects in the Oxus Treasure have been examined scientifically to see how they were made. The gold items were made using native alluvial gold to which a small amount of copper had been added. Although gold cannot be sourced there is a strong possibility that some of these objects were made in Bactria and the exploitation of gold-bearing sands (as well as lapis lazuli from Badakhshan) from the upper Amu dar’ya is hinted at in the “Foundation Charter” of the Achaemenid ruler Darius I from Susa:
“And gold from Sardis and Bactria was brought, that which was worked here. And the precious stones which [were] lapis lazuli and also carnelian, which were worked here, from Sogdiana were brought”.
However, a few items are of non-Achaemenid style, including a pair of bracelets and a brooch which are similar to the “Animal Style” art of the Scythians and others are likely to have been imported from other parts of the Persian empire. Further research is planned on these and other objects in order to throw more light on this very important collection.
The Oxus Treasure is more than simply a collection of beautiful objects. It is the largest single group of precious metal objects other than coins to be found within the territories of the Achaemenid Persian empire and it provides a wealth of evidence for the high level of craftsmanship and contact at this period."
by Dr St J. Simpson
Assistant Keeper (curator for ancient Iran & Arabia) Department of the Middle East ofthe British Museum
On 17 January 2013 a joint ceremony of presentation of the book titled “The Tajik Golden Heritage” authored by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country Hamrokhon Zarifi was held at the initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in the United States of America in the grand hall of the Jefferson building of the U.S. Congress Library in Washington D.C.
The event was attended by the guests and high-ranking representatives of state, private and cultural structures of the United States, including Jeffrey Payatt – First Deputy Assistant of the U.S. Secretary of State, Ms. Roberta Shaffer – Deputy Director of the U.S. Congress Library, Dr. Frederic Starr – Director of the U.S. University named after John Hopkins, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad – former U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN and Ambassador of this country to Iraq, Dr. Ahmad Karimi Hakkak – professor of Iranology section of the University of Maryland state, Glen Howard – President of Jamestown Foundation, John O’Kif – Executive Director of Open World Leadership Center, Gerard J. Jenko – President of EurAsia Center, Marina Barnett – representative of Carnegie Foundation, Victor Shiblie – chief editor of Washington Diplomat magazine, Dan Davidson – President of American Councils for International Education, John Quinn – ABC TV channel and NewsChannel 8 correspondent, Jen du Plein – head of Cultural Tourism DC company, as well as high-level representatives of Congress, scientists and researchers, ambassadors of Central Asia and CIS countries, leaders of Tajik diasporas, compatriots and U.S. mass media.
The activity was opened by the Head of Middle East and Africa section of the U.S. Congress Library Mary-Jane Deeb, who thanked those present for their participation in the presentation of a new edition of the book “The Tajik Golden Heritage” in the Congress Library.
During her speech the Deputy Director of the U.S. Congress Library Roberta Shaffer expressed joy that the presentation of this unique book is being conducted in the U.S. Congress Library. In her view, the holding of such events allows to strengthen the cooperation with Tajikistan. She noted that the development of mutual partnership is important for enrichment of the Library’s resources, as more than 60% of its material represents the languages, cultures and nations of the world.
Then Roberta Shaffer informed that the library’s materials related to Tajikistan date back to the beginning of the USSR period and the resources are kept in different forms, such as newspapers, tapes, monographs, dictionaries, grammar, maps, photos, audio-recordings, etc. This great collection is accessible to all the people of the world.
She added that the resources of the library include the collection of magazines of Tajikistan’s Union of Writers from 1954 and over 124 works of the Tajik authors, published with Arabic script. “We also have Tajik language-related literature in Russian, English, German and French. Existing manuscripts are exponents of national Tajik traditions and they are very interesting. We believe that we satisfy the needs of scientists and students in this direction”, - she said.
In his report Jeffrey Payatt – Deputy Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State noted that “I am proud to attend the ceremony of presentation of the mentioned book in the Congress Library. The book reflects the great history of the region and highlights that the Great Silk Road is not a new concept for us. The initiative “New Silk Road” which was proposed by us three years ago proceeds from this historical tradition. I would like to acknowledge that the book by Hamrokhon Zarifi “The Tajik Golden Heritage” is a memory from the rich treasury of Tajiks and merits to be kept in this great house of our cultural heritage – Congress Library”.
He added that today the United States and Tajikistan have strong bilateral relationships. “We take a pride in the fact that the United States were among the first countries to officially recognize the independence of Tajikistan”.
He also stressed that Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad attends the event who is well informed about the history and constructive role of Tajikistan in the region. J.Payatt highly commended the contribution of Tajikistan in ensuring economic progress and stability in the neighboring country and stated that the role of Tajikistan in the development of Afghanistan is remarkable.
Ambassador of Tajikistan to the U.S. N. Shamsov, with reference to achievements of Tajikistan in the domain of development of national culture and art of Tajiks over the independence years, stated that political leadership and the Government of the country taking into account the significance of this subject consistently takes efforts to protect material and spiritual heritage of the Tajik people and to further develop it.
The President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon during his annual address to the country’s parliament highly evaluated the status and traditional role of art and culture among the Ефошлы and stressed its important role in the development of social life of people and formation of national spirituality. Opening of new National Library, continuation of construction of National Museum and establishment of several scientific-cultural institutions clearly demonstrate the care and consistency of the Tajik Government in developing ancient art and culture of Tajiks.
Afterwards, Ms. Jasmine Khan – researcher of the U.S. Congress Library spoke substantively on the process of cooperation between the mentioned institution and the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan in the area of study of manuscripts and scriptural legacy of Tajiks.
Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN and the Ambassador of this country to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad noted during his interview to the journalists that “Today was a good day for me, as a book on the civilization of Tajikistan was presented in Washington D.C. in U.S. Congress Library. I personally enjoyed this civilization and really Tajikistan’s civilization is a golden element of the civilization of the region.
When Europe was in the middle age, this region was the center of civilization of the whole world. But, unfortunately the world’s population does not have enough information about the culture and history of this region. It is a good opportunity for the American people and all those who need this Library for composition and collection of information to use this book. I felicitate this day and this book to H.E. Mr. President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, Tajik people and the whole region, which share single culture and civilization”.
The Director of the University named after John Hopkins Dr. Frederic Starr during his interview, referring to the book “The Tajik Golden Heritage” said in particular that “Today’s event is a celebration of holiday of ancient civilization of Tajiks. The event is not a part or relation to something, but a strong demonstration of development of national self-consciousness, great treasury of Persian-language people’s civilization and legacy of Eastern Iran which has the history of 3-4 thousand years. The book covers the works of Islamic and Pre-Islamic civilizations and reflects the elements of everyday life and culture of Tajiks. This book is unique and rare and it is worth to be presented, as it is a good symbol of enhancing relations between Tajikistan and the United States in 2013”.
Professor of Maryland University, Ahmad Karimi Hakkak expressed his opinion on the mentioned book in the following way: “I am very glad to witness the holding of ceremony of presentation of a really golden book of Tajikistan today in the Congress Library. It is a very appropriate and suitable place for Tajikistan and Congress Library. I congratulate the entire Tajik people and Mr. Zarifi who worked hard on this book and with whom we have a close friendship. Tajikistan that is newly represented to the world community, has not still occupied its worthy place in the minds of the world population. But those steps, such as this book makes high steps are very comprehensive and I congratulate all Tajiks that have such cultural heritage”.
Ambassador and founder of Open World Leadership Center O’Kif stated that “the book authored by Mr. Zarifi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is extraordinary. One of the important subjects reflected by the book is the influence of great culture of Ефошлы in the region. Presence of this culture in scientific circles, big museums of the world is an exponent of spread of Tajik culture in the world, which appears everywhere. Tajiks should be proud of their great and rich history”.
After the end of official part of the event, a slide-show and an official ceremony of handing of copies of the book to the U.S. Congress Library have been conducted. The leadership of the Library announced that comprehensive information on the book “The Tajik Golden Heritage” and video film on today’s joint event will be placed in two websites of the Library for the use of numerous readers.
At the end of the event the guests were presented with copies of “The Tajik Golden Heritage” book and a diplomatic reception was held on the occasion of its presentation.
It should be mentioned that this book has been published in Tajik, Russian, Persian, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and German languages. More than 500 rare items are proposed to the readers in this book, a part of which is kept in historical museums of Tajikistan, another part – in foreign museums and a part at the disposal of private collectioners. 16 ancient exemplars are taken from the collection of the author, which are mainly family legacy, and the author himself has added to this collection some pieces.
The chapters of the book “The Tajik Golden Heritage” are devoted to the Oxus Treasure, the Silk Road, painting, the art of the miniature, jewellery, visual arts in architecture, pottery, national costumes, embroidery, and musical instruments of the past centuries and many other exemplars of the Tajik arts and crafts.
The author of the book also stresses the role of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in the revival and development of national arts and popular crafts, particularly in their practical use in the training of relevant specialists.
The book by Hamrokhon Zarifi composed of over 400 pages has been printed in 21 thousand copies in the respected publishing houses of the world – The Ethnic Publishing House of China, Wostok Verlag of Germany, Big Media Group of Belgium and IMAK of Turkey. Moreover, up to date the presentation of the book “The Tajik Golden Heritage” has been held in China, France, Belgium and Germany.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Hamrokhon Zarifi has presented the readers with a book titled "The Tajik Golden Heritage" which has gathered the unique exemplars of Tajiks arts and crafts from the most ancient times to the present.
The book has been published in Tajik, Russian, Persian, Arabic, Chinese, English, French and German languages. Over 500 pictures of rare museum valuables presented to the readers are both in the historical museums of Tajikistan and in the foreign museums, as well as a part of them is taken from the gatherings of private collectors. 16 ancient exhibits are from the family collection of Hamrokhon Zarifi.
Although "The Tajik Golden Heritage" has also been published in Tajik, the book is mainly focused on the world community.
Hamrokhon Zarifi, the author of "The Tajik Golden Heritage" highlights in the foreword to his book that this work reflects a deep view on the culture and history of Tajiks and shows the role of Tajiks in the world culture. "I tried my best for the world community to acquire better notion of the ancient Tajiks and the Tajiks of nowadays, I tried to show the links and ties of the world civilization with the Tajik culture".
The chapters of the book "The Tajik Golden Heritage" are devoted to the Oxus Treasure, the Silk Road, painting, the art of the miniature, jewellery, visual arts in architecture, national costumes, embroidery, and national instruments of the past centuries and many other exemplars of the Tajik arts and crafts. The Oxus Treasure is a collection comprising 1300 coins (the most ancient of which dates back to 200 century B.C.), 177 golden and silver items – pottery, statuettes, bracelets and other items which date back to the period of rule of the Achaemenid (Hakhamaneshi) dynasty and Greco-Bactrian reign. These legendary treasures were found in 1877 in the ruins of an old city beside the stream channel of Amudarya river, on the territory of ancient Bactria (current Tajikistan). A part of this important cultural discovery is kept in the British Museum. Several years ago Great Britain passed copies of this unique finding on to Tajikistan, but currently the copies of some exhibits of the Oxus Treasure are being prepared for the National Museum of Tajikistan.
The author of the book also stresses the role of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in the revival and development of national arts and popular crafts, particularly in their practical use in the training of relevant specialists. According to him, during the recent years a number of colleges and training centers have been established in Tajikistan, which play an important role in the protection of valuable legacy of ancestors and discovery of new styles of handicrafts.
The book by Hamrokhon Zarifi composed of over 400 pages has been printed in 21 thousand copies in the respected publishing houses of the world – The Ethnic Publishing House of China, Wostok Verlag of Germany, Big Media Group of Belgium and IMAK of Turkey.
Last month the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova took decision to decorate the author of the book with a golden medal of UNESCO for a worthy contribution to promotion of ancient culture of the Tajik people.
WTO: 2012 NEWS ITEMS
10 December 2012
ACCESSIONS WTO approves Tajikistan’s membership The General Council today (10 December 2012) paved the way for Tajikistan’s membership of the WTO by approving its accession package. Tajikistan would have to ratify the deal by 7 June 2013 and would become a WTO member 30 days after the ratification “Once Tajikistan completes its domestic ratification procedures, it will become the 159th member of the WTO family. For Tajikistan, a small and landlocked country, WTO accession is a road leading to the world economy. For the WTO, it is another step towards universality and a sign of confidence in the values and benefits of the multilateral trading system,” said Director-General Pascal Lamy. Tajikistan’s President, Emomali Rahmon declared “Today constitutes a landmark in Tajikistan's history and lays solid foundations for further promotion of sustainable social and economic growth. Applying for WTO membership 11 years ago was the right step forward for Tajikistan as it transforms itself into a market economy. Tajikistan will use its WTO membership as a means of fostering future economic growth and prosperity”. WTO members congratulated Tajikistan for completing its accession process. Tajikistan applied for WTO membership on 29 May 2001 and the Working Party concluded the negotiations on 26 October 2012. Tajikistan’s accession package contains the Working Party report outlining its reformed trade regime and its commitments as a WTO member, its market access schedules on goods and services, the General Council Decision and the Protocol of Accession.
The President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon arrived in Geneva, Swiss Confederation for his working visit.
During his visit he will attend and speak at the meeting of the General Council of the World Trade Organization on the issue of accession of the Republic of Tajikistan to WTO.
It should be recalled that today 157 countries are the members of the World Trade Organization and after the accession of the Republic of Tajikistan the number of its member states will reach 158.
The contribution of the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon to accession of Tajikistan to WTO has been crucial. The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, with consideration of necessity and significance of membership in this organisation, sent a request letter to the Secretariat of the WTO for membership in the World Trade Organization in 2001. The WTO General Council in its session proposed observer status to the Republic of Tajikistan and a Working Group on the review of issue of accession of the Republic of Tajikistan to WTO was established. Since 2001 the Republic of Tajikistan has been actively participating in the WTO General Council meetings as an observer state.
Historic event – ceremony of accession of the Republic of Tajikistan to the World Trade Organization will be held on the 10th of December current year at the WTO headquarters in Geneva.
It is scheduled that the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon will have a tete-a-tete meeting with WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy in the framework of the General Council session
In his trip Emomali Rahmon is accompanied by the First Deputy Prime-Minister Matlubkhon Davlatov, State Counselor of the President on foreign policy Erkin Rahmatulloev, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sharif Rahimzoda, the Chairman of the Committee on energy, industry, construction and communication of the Majlisi Milli (upper chamber of parliament) of Majlisi Oli of the Republic of Tajikistan Amir Kataev and other officials.
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