DUSHANBE, September 17, 2015, Asia-Plus – Three members of the Islamic Revival Party (IRP) board have been detained in Dushanbe.

“Three members of the IRP Political Council, including Zarafo Rahmoni, Zubaidullo Roziq and Abduqahhor Davlat, were detained in Dushanbe yesterday evening,” a source at the IRP told Asia-Plus today morning.

Founded in October 1990, the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan is the only Islamic party officially registered in former Soviet Central Asia.  The IRP was registered on December 4, 1991.  It was banned by the Supreme Court in June 1993 and legalized in August 1999.  Its official newspaper is  Najot  (Salvation).  According to some sources, the IRP now has some 40,000 members.

Since 1999, the party has reportedly been the second-largest party in Tajikistan after the ruling People''s Democratic Party of Tajikistan.

In the 2005 and 2010 parliamentary elections, the IRP won two out of 63 seats in the parliament, but the party suffered a crushing defeat in Tajikistan''s March 1 vote, failing to clear the 5 percent threshold needed to win parliament seats.

Imams at several mosques across Tajikistan in March urged Muslims to support the closure of the Islamic Revival Party, calling for a referendum to dissolve the party.  A letter distributed to imams before Friday Prayers on March 27 said that dissolving the party would help Tajikistan “avoid the fate of other nations where Islamic extremists are disrupting peace and order.”  The letter is believed to have been circulated by a state-backed Islamic center that often sends imams recommended texts for sermons.

IRP leader Muhiddin Kabiri went into exile in June fearing prosecution.  In early June the state-run newspaper Jumhuriyat published an article accusing IRP leader, who was out of the country at the time, of breaking the law during a property transaction 16 years ago.

With Kabiri in exile, the party seems to have imploded. In June, heads of IRP’s organizations in the regions started resigning and closing their offices.  They cited the party’s poor performance in the elections and a series of scandals involving members for their move.  Some of the party activists vowed to join the ruling People’s Democratic Party. 

The government last mother ordered the closure of the Islamic Revival Party.