Emomali Rahmon Tajik: Эмомалӣ Раҳмон, translit. Emomalî Rahmon/Emomalī Rahmon; (born October 5th, 1952) is a Tajikistani politician who has served as President of Tajikistan (or its equivalent post) since 1992.
Emomali Rahmon has ruled Tajikistan since 1992. In accordance to the Constitution, Rahmon can serve as many terms as he wants and is also immune to prosecution. After an assassination attempt on Rahmon in 1997, state security services allegedly conducted sweeping arrests amid allegations of gross abuses.
Despite being Central Asia's poorest country, in a Wikileaks cable, an ambassador said: "Rahmon and his family control the country's major businesses, including the largest bank, and they play hardball to protect their business interests, no matter the cost to the economy writ large." A 2010 report from the U.S. State Department lists a depressingly familiar catalog of human rights abuses in Tajikistan that could be used in a similar form in many other countries ruled by despots: restricted political freedoms; torture and abuse by security forces; impunity for security forces; denial of right to fair trial; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, association, and religion; corruption, which hampered democratic and social reform; violence and discrimination against women; arbitrary arrest; and trafficking in persons.
While it's unclear whether Rahmon faces political insurrection, the country as a whole faces a growing level of instability largely caused by militant Islamists, many of whom have traipsed back and forth across its 870-mile-long border with Afghanistan. In a report from the International Crisis Group, the conflict-monitoring NGO states: "Tajikistan is increasingly incapable of providing basic services to its population. Corruption remains at a breathtaking level; and recent unsuccessful military operations in the east of the country against warlords and a small group of young insurgents underline its inability to handle even a modest security threat. President Emomali Rakhmon did a deal to bring a temporary peace to the area earlier this year, but he may soon face a tougher challenge from the resurgent Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group with a vision of an Islamist caliphate that is fighting in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban. Tajikistan must hope it remains preoccupied there".
Although Rahmon is a Sunni Muslim and has frequently stressed his Muslim background, his administration is engaged in a relentless campaign against public displays of Islamic devotion. His suppression of Islamic expression includes banning beards, attendance at the mosque for women and children under eighteen, hajj for people under 40, studying in Islamic schools outside Tajikistan, the production, import or export of Islamic books without permission (implemented in 2017), using loudspeakers to broadcast the adhan, veils, madrassas, Islamist political parties and Arabic-sounding names (implemented in 2016). Mosques are heavily regulated and providing unofficial Islamic teaching can lead to up to twelve years of imprisonment, an arduous process is required in order to obtain a permit to establish an Islamic organisation, publish an Islamic book or go on pilgrimage to Mecca. In January 2016, Rahmon performed an Umrah with a number of his children and senior members of his government. That was Rahmon's fourth pilgrimage to Mecca.
During a 2010 Organisation of the Islamic Conference session hosted in Dushanbe, Rahmon spoke against what he deemed was the misuse of Islam toward political ends, claiming that "Terrorism, terrorists, have no nation, no country, no religion ... [U]sing the name 'Islamic terrorism' only discredits Islam and dishonors the pure and harmless religion of Islam."
Membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a militant Islamic party which today aims for an overthrow of secular governments and the unification of Tajiks under one Islamic state, is illegal and members are subject to arrest and imprisonment.
The Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) is a banned Islamist political party and designated as a terrorist organization since 2015.
In 2017 the government of Tajikistan passed a law requiring people to "stick to traditional national clothes and culture", which has been widely seen as an attempt to prevent women from wearing Islamic clothing, in particular the style of headscarf wrapped under the chin, in contrast to the traditional Tajik headscarf tied behind the head.