Eshoni Sirojiddin Abdurahmonov, the unofficial leader of Tajikistan’s banned Salafiya movement, has supported a government move to increase Internet rates, accusing social media of being the source of “all bad things in Tajikistan.” 

According to Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, locally known as Radio Ozodi, Abdurahmonov made an 18-minute video on April 20 in which he described the Internet as “the plague of the century.”

He also warned his fellow Tajiks not to listen to “people who instigate provocations.  Follow the leaders of the country.”

Abdurahmonov's video was posted on a Tajik YouTube channel called Oshiqoni Vatan, or “People Who Love Their Country,” where it was watched by about 3,000 people within three days.

Nearly 100 viewers reportedly “disliked” the Abdurahmonov’s lecture with a thumbs down rating.    About two dozen viewers “liked” the video, which has prompted a lively debate on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media.

“I ask all my beautiful sisters and people in Tajikistan not to waste your time on the Internet,” Abdurahmonov said, blaming it for "creating broken families, leading to lies, and inducing disrespect for parents and society.”

Recall, a court in Dushanbe’s Sino district sentenced seven Salafis to jail terms from 5 to 7 years on January 22, 2010.  Among them were Sirojiddin Abdurahmonov and his son, Kiromiddin Abdurahmonov.  The sentence followed their conviction on the charge of inciting national racial, regional or religious enmity.  Sirojiddin Abdurahmonov was sentenced to seven years in prison and Kiromiddin Abdurahmonov got a jail term of five years.

Then, in 2013, Abdurahmonov was pardoned and released under a general amnesty.

Since his release, Abdurahmonov has appeared to shy away from criticizing Rahmon or other state authorities.  But he has spoken out against the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which Tajik authorities have labeled a “terrorist” group, calling it a “tool of foreign powers.”