Tajikis demolishing sole synagogue

Authorities in Tajikistan begun demolishing the country's only synagogue on Sunday to make way for a new presidential palace. The century-old synagogue on government land in the ex-Soviet republic's capital Dushanbe is expected to be completely torn down by June. Last month, city authorities demolished the synagogue's ritual bathhouse, classroom and kosher butchery, said Forum 18, an international religious rights group based in Norway. Tajikistan's Jewish community is mostly elderly and poor and cannot afford to build a new synagogue. About 280 Jews live in Dushanbe, of about 480 across the country.