Elderly men sit on the floor in Dushanbe,Tajikistan
Representational image: Tajikistan has shaved beards fo 13,000 men in the country in its drive to counter radical Islam. Elderly men sit on the floor in Dushanbe,Tajikistan.Reuters File

In a drive to counter radicalism in the country, police in Tajikistan shaved beards of about 13,000 men last year and pushed hundreds of Muslim women to stop wearing the hijab, according to reports.

Earlier this month, the Muslim-majority Central Asian country had voted for a ban on Arabic-sounding names, citing increasing "foreign" influence, Radio Free Europe reported. Thus, names ending with 'mullah', 'khalifa' and 'shaikh' will be outlawed once the legislation is signed by Tajikistan President Imomali Rakhmon . 

Authorities in the country have also shut down over 160 shops selling hijabs and called on women to shun the headscarves, the agency reported. 

Fears of increasing influence of radical Islam in the country were heightened when suspected Islamic State supporters killed nine policemen in the capital city of Dushanbe last September. 

Authorities in Tajikistan have said more than 500 people from the country have joined Isis in Syria and Iraq so far. One of the most noted cases of Isis influence in the country was when Tajikistan commander Gulmurod Halimov appeared in an Isis propaganda video and threatened to bring jihad to his country. 

Late last year, Rakhmon banned the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), the country's only Islamic political party. 

Also read