An influential Islamic organization with offices across the country has been forced to close, highlighting a political struggle over the country's millions-strong Muslim population.

Representatives of the Islamic Cultural Center and analysts said a Supreme Court ruling upholding the center's closure was politically charged.

"This is a bureaucratic order from people who want the Muslim part of society to be represented by puppets," the center's chairman and founder, Abdul-Wahid Niyazov, told The Moscow Times on Thursday.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed a decision from the Justice Ministry last fall to close the center for "multiple violations of financial regulations," Interfax reported.

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