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Tajik Officials Ban Call To Prayer...Again

Tajik officials have continued their utterly confusing stance toward azan, the Islamic call to prayer.

Local authorities in the northern city of Khojand have lately been warning imams against using microphones for the call to prayer, telling them azan and prayers should not be heard outside mosques.

"Your microphones are too loud and city residents are complaining about it," local imams were told by officials.

The warning comes less than a month after a ban on microphones was officially lifted in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

Tajik imams have been switching their microphones off and on over the past two years as the authorities have been constantly changing their stance on the issue.

Officials say their decisions are based on "local residents' requests" -- rather than of course the ongoing attempts to control Islam in Tajikistan.

As if "local residents" in the impoverished country don't have more pressing things to worry about than mosque microphones.

-- Farangis Najibullah

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