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Valentine's Day Comes Under Attack In Uzbekistan

Off the hook in Tashkent.
TASHKENT -- Valentine's Day is under attack in Uzbekistan.

Several universities have asked students to sign contracts affirming they will not celebrate the holiday on February 14.

Islamic clerics in Tashkent told RFE/RL that sermons against Valentine's Day will be included in Friday Prayers.

Officials say Valentine's Day contradicts the national traditions and mentality of the Uzbek people, as well as the religion of Islam.

RFE/RL correspondents report from Tashkent that, as elsewhere around the world, prices for flowers, chocolate, and perfume have soared as young people buy gifts for their partners.

Valentine's Day has become popular among Uzbek youth in recent years, despite official attempts to obstruct it.

In the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, meanwhile, education officials imposed a Valentine's ban on all schools to avert the holiday's "negative influence on the mental health of children."

With reporting by Interfax