Tajikistan Police shaved around 13,000 men’s beards and closed more than 160 shops selling Muslim traditional garb in a bid to curb Islamic radicalization. They have also convinced more than 1700 women to stop wearing head scarves.

Radio Free Europe’s (RFE) Tajik service stated that Tajikistan’s Khatlon region police held a conference where they reviewed their progress curbing foreign influence in 2015. The conference was held in January 19.

RFE Tajik service which is also locally known as Ozodi, reported that the head of Khatlon police Bahrom Sharifzoda recounted the progress of his force’s success in curbing the foreign influences. He said that in 2015, police shaved 12,818 men with “overly long and unkempt beards”.  He also informed that during the procedure police also took into custody 89 hijab-wearing prostitutes.

According to SMH, the government claimed that it was doing so to thwart influence of Islamic tradition which was imported from Afghanistan.  Reportedly, Last year the chief of an elite police unit assigned to fight ISIS disappeared and afterwards it was found that he joined the radical terrorist group. Moreover,  hundreds of Tajik nationals are thought to be with ISIS.

The country’s parliament also voted a ban on Arabic sounding foreign names and marriages between first cousins. President Emomali Rahmon is expected to approve the legislation. He is an advocate of secularism and wants to eradicate beliefs and practices which are threat to Tajikistan’s stability.

Al-Jazeera reported that the president and his family were granted life-long immunity from prosecution by the parliament. It had also given him the title “Leader of the nation” and designated him as “the founder of peace and national unity in Tajikistan.”

The country which has 7.1 million people  is struggling with poverty and instability for two decades. It is also highly dependent on Russia as most of the Tajiks go there to work.

No can can say how far the move to eradicate foreign tradition will help the country in maintaining stability.