Colleagues and relatives of Abdumalik Salomov, a doctor at the Cardiovascular Surgery Center in Khujand (Sughd province), have been shocked to hear that he was detained on suspicion of having connections to the outlawed Salafi group.  

Abdumalik Salomov was arrested on August 22 this year on suspicion of being member of the Salafi group.  

Meanwhile, Salomov’s colleagues say that he has never spoken on religious themes and has not propagated ideas of any radical religious group.   “Salomov dedicated most of his time to treatment of patients,” they say.

“We have never interested in what he is doing after hours because it is his private business but since he performed Hajj we have had respect for him,” the colleagues noted.

His wife, Zarrinakhon Salomova, also does not believe that her husband could join radical religious group.  According to her, Abdumalik Salomov has decided to return from Moscow, where he was working at the prestigious hospital, to Tajikistan in order to serve his people.       

Salomov began working with the Cardiovascular Surgery Center in Khujand in 1999 after graduating from the Tajik Medical University in Dushanbe.  He worked at the Center until 2005.  In 2005 he entered the post-graduate course at the Bakulev Scientific Center for Cardiovascular Surgery in Moscow.  In 2008, Salomov defended his thesis for the Candidate of Sciences in Medicine.  Until 2015, he worked at the Vishnevsky military hospital in Moscow. 

In 2015, Abdumalik Salomov returned to Tajikistan and got a job at the Cardiovascular Surgery Center in Khujand.  

Salomov’s relatives and colleagues hope that justice will prevail and Abdumalik Salomov will return to family and work    

Recall, the Tajik authorities banned Salafism as an illegal group on January 8, 2009, saying the Salafi movement represents a potential threat to national security and the Supreme Court added Salafists to its list of religious groups prohibited from operating in the country.

The movement claims to follow a strict and pure form of Islam, but Tajik clerics say the Salafists’ radical stance is similar to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Salafists do not recognize other branches of Islam, such as Shi''a and Sufism.  The movement is frequently referred to as Wahhabism, although Salafis reject this as derogatory.

The overwhelming majority of Tajiks are followers of Hanafia, a more liberal branch of Sunni Islam.

On December 8, 2014, the Supreme Court of Tajikistan formally labeled the banned Salafi group as an extremist organization.  The ruling reportedly followed a request submitted to the court by the Prosecutor-General’s Office.  The ruling means that the group’s website and printed materials are also banned.