Tajiksitan: Parliament against witches

Tajikistan is trying to put a spell on witchcraft and fortune-telling. Actually, this comes as a no-surprise to many Tajiks after all those strange laws that have been passed one after another by our parliament. The bill on witchery is also part of the “Cultural Revolution” in Tajikistan, started earlier this year by President Rahmon.

As distinct from the foreigners’ indignation, it does not seem strange to most Tajiks, who think that it is good to have charlatans punished. There are about 5,000 people in Tajikistan (one against nearly 150 citizens) registered at the Center of folk medicine as “healers” — most of them are involved in sorcery and fortune-telling and make lots of money.

There are a lot of links in the blogosphere to the news articles about crackdown on witchcraft, but few of them commented on that. Here are some of them:

Ian at Beyond the River ironically says:

“This much-needed crackdown comes at a time when they’re having a hard time getting electricity in the capital city of the country. Harry Potter issued a statement through his spokesperson condemning this latest infringement of the Tajik government against the human rights of sorcerers and other religious group.

Jan at Chess, Goddess and Everything thinks that it will be impossible to stop people from doing something they’ve been doing for thousands of years, long before Islam:

This reminds me of the communists’ attempts in Russia and China to stamp out organized religion. All it did was go underground. Supression never works in the long run.

David from Hoolavoo.com is wondering whether living in Tajikistan is that bad as it is reported in the news:

Thank God, somebody is finally taking a stand against sorcery in our modern times. Now, it’s not all bad, because they’ve also taken away lavish weddings and the government takes an interest in the cars and cellphones of the young and spoiled.

Ashr501 is extremely surprised to learn about crackdown on sorcery in Tajikistan:

It really scares me that – whenever I finish writing a story that has grown in my head – this sort of thing always seems to happen.

Matt Philip categorizes the story about the bill against witchcraft as “Extraordinarily Odd”:

So far it seems they’re right on track to a brilliant, bright future with all the main social problems any society experiences having been safely and efficiently identified and quarantined. How excellent.

Tom Gross is wondering whether Tajikistan remains to be “the last bastion of witchery”. The amateur scientist is probably the only person in the blogosphere who sees a good reason behind the decision of the parliament:

…this legislation, while it may seem like an oppressive anti-free speech measure, is really just a case of the government cracking down on what is essentially a spiritual robbery.

Cross-posted from neweurasia.

1 comment

  • I’m worried, but not about the idea of cracking down on charlatans and con-men (and women) that take money from the believers. I’m worried about WHAT do they call “witchcraft” and “fortune-telling”. These concepts can be very wide and include lots of different people…


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