Virtually Islamic Blog

Gary R. Bunt

Tajikistan Ismaili Pamiri Integration

Paul Goble, Jamestown Foundation, Tajikistan Struggles to Integrate Ismaili Pamiris Living Along Afghan Border

"The demographic and socio-political situation in eastern Tajikistan is particularly complex because the region’s ethnic and religious cleavages do not perfectly coincide, and the Pamiris, who form a majority of Gorno-Badakhshan’s 200,000 people, have historically looked to Shia Iran despite their specifically Ismaili religious orientation. Consequently, Dushanbe has stepped up its efforts to integrate the Ismailis into Tajik society lest they become a Trojan horse for outside influences, Afghani or Iranian. To date, the central government has not achieved much in its campaign to encourage a common Tajikistani identity regardless of religion by, for example, promoting intermarriage; but it has managed to foster tolerance to the point that the two groups recognize each other’s religion as legitimately Islamic, allow children of the few mixed marriages to freely choose their faith and, perhaps most importantly, bury their dead in the same cemeteries>"

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