Tajik officials look to battle terrorism - with an anti-IS play

Tajik officials look to battle terrorism - with an anti-IS play
The Tajik capital of Dushanbe. Image: VargA under a CC licence

9 August 2018

One of Tajikistan’s top politicians has unveiled the latest weapon in his country’s fight against terrorism: a self-penned play on the evils of extremism and the healing power of maternal love.

Written by Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda, The Heart of a Mother will premiere in Dushanbe later this month.

The theatrical foray comes just weeks after tourists were murdered travelling through the Tajik countryside. Four foreigners — two Americans, a Dutch and a Swiss citizen — died after being deliberately hit with a car as they cycled along a road 70 kilometres from the capital on a “once in a lifetime” trip across the world.

Terrorist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the murders, although the Tajik government has sought to blame a banned opposition group, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT).

Rahimzoda’s drama focuses on IS, following the tragic tale of a young Tajik student who wants to fight with the group in Syria. Before the curtain falls, the young man is overwhelmed by the error of his ways — but not before he takes the life of his own mother.

It’s not the first time that Rahimzoda has tapped his creative powers, with the minister reportedly writing some 120 books and monographs under the pseudonym Nihoni. Many include praise for Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, including the poem, You Are Worthy.

Sources: Eurasianet / Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty