04 January 2012, 14:16
Religious fanatics in Tajikistan killed man dressed as Santa Claus
Dushanbe, January 4, Interfax - A young man dressed as Santa Claus has been killed in a religious attack in Dushanbe, a high-placed source in Tajikistan's Interior Ministry told Interfax.
The killing of Parviz Davlatbekov, 24, has been officially recognized, but religious motives have not been acknowledged.
"The young man wanted to congratulate his relatives and dressed up as Santa Claus. He was attacked by a crowd of about 30 young men when he approached his apartment building, and they stabbed him, shouting out: "Tu Kofiri!" (Infidel!) The man died in hospital of the sustained stab wounds," the source said.
Later the Tajik police have detained three suspected murderers - third-years students of Tajik National University Sharif Davlatov, Farrukh Samiyev and Firus Nazrulloyev.
Tajik social networks link the murder with the fact that several days before New Year head of the Council of Ulamas of Tajikistan Saidmukarram Abdukodirzoda told journalists that decorating the Christmas tree, dancing and playing around was alien to Tajik culture and contradicted the laws of Islam.
But New Year's holidays are observed officially in Tajikistan. New Year's trees are decorated on squares and New Year's parties are held at schools and child-care centers with Santa Claus participating. President Emomali Rahmon traditionally conveys New Year's greetings to the nation several hours before midnight.
Meanwhile, experts note growing religious influence in Tajikistan. Disputes flare up in the press each December, whether Tajiks should see the New Year in as Christians do.