Iftar in Uzbekistan
"The official body in charge of Islam in Uzbekistan has ordered Muslims not to end their daily Ramadan fasts by eating out together in public.
"As in other Muslim countries, people in Uzbekistan end each day’s fasting after sunset with a meal called 'iftar'.
"Some welcome the ban as it will curb the lavish feasts thrown by the rich and powerful using the iftar as an excuse. That was the explanation offered by the Muslim directorate, the state-backed clerical establishment, which said it had agreed the measure with police and other government agencies as the month Ramadan got under way on August 11...
"But others point out that it will also prevent ordinary people from enjoying the iftar as a communal event. In that sense, the ban appears to reflect the Uzbek government’s fear of any form of Islamic practice that it cannot control.
"According to a resident of the western city of Samarkand, many people did not have the facilities for cooking for many guests at home. In addition, he said the local authorities banned people from inviting significant numbers of guests to the iftar."