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Uzbek Cleric Warns Against Hijab, 'Foreign Influences'

A woman in a hijab shops at a Tashkent market
A woman in a hijab shops at a Tashkent market
An Uzbek cleric is urging women not to wear the Muslim hijab, or head scarf, as the number of women wearing religious dress has significantly increased in Uzbekistan, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Anvar Qori Tursunov, the imam of Tashkent's Central Mosque, told women to return to their national dress and to keep a distance from "foreign influences." Tursunov said on Uzbek state TV that "Foreign clothes will bring foreign ideology, which is dangerous for Uzbekistan."

Despite government attempts to influence religious life in Uzbekistan, the number of people going to mosques and wearing the hijab has increased in recent years.

Dildora Hakimova, a teacher at Tashkent University, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that she supports the imam's call because "there should be a balance between the secular and religious, and one should not prevail over the other."