DUSHANBE, January 22, 2014, Asia-Plus -- Tajik authorities have reportedly installed video cameras in all Friday and central mosques across the country.

“There are 365 Friday and central mosques in Tajikistan and video cameras have been set up in all of them,” Solehjon Zavqiyev, the head of the department for religious associations, the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Government of Tajikistan told Asia-Plus in an interview.

“In Dushanbe, all the registered mosques for daily prayers (“five-time" prayer mosques), Friday mosques (larger facilities built for weekly Friday prayers) and central mosques have been provided with video cameras,” said Zavqiyev.  “In the rural areas, the “five-time” prayer mosques do not have enough opportunities, and therefore, in the provinces, we have still  set up video cameras only at Friday mosques.”

In the near future, the “five-time” prayer mosques in rural areas will also be provided with video cameras, Tajik official added.

We will recall that Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev in 2012 instructed police to set up video cameras at each mosque, to prevent underage people from attending mosques.

The Parental Responsibility Law that went into effect in August 2011 bans most children under the age of 18 from attending regular Friday Prayers in mosques.  

The controversial law holds the parents of underage children attending Friday Prayers legally responsible for allowing them to do so.  Officials have said the law aims to prevent children from falling prey to Islamic radicalization.

According to the 2012 Report on International Religious Freedom released by the U.S. Department of State, the local government in Sarband, Khatlon province set up video cameras in all mosques on August 8, 2012.  A government official told the media this was to monitor prayer in mosques, follow sermon topics, and discourage underage people from entering the mosques.  Sarband was the first district outside of Dushanbe to install video cameras inside mosques.