Against Hijab Sales
"Traditional Islamic dress for women has disappeared from display in several markets in the Uzbek capital Tashkent following a secretive ban on sales...
"Traders say tax officials have begun fining stores selling the coats and headscarves that make up 'hijab', the form of dress worn by devout Muslim women. Hijab has disappeared from the Chorsu, Kuyluk, Otchopa and Urikzor markets. The authorities have also confiscated all stock from some stalls caught selling the clothing, they said.
"Tashkent businesswoman Mutabar, who imports goods from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, still offers the items to customers, but only in secret...
"Officials in Tashkent confirmed the ban was in place but were reluctant to comment in detail."
IWPR's sources also report that authorities are shutting down halal cafes, which prepare food according to Islamic law. Part of the background to these moves is the Soviet background of the Central Asian ruling class. Soviet education was even more against Islam than it was Christianity; I know lots of Azerbaijani religious leaders were dropped from aircraft into the Black Sea. These prejudices have only been buttressed by the rise of Islamic extremism in the territory.
Dressing according to conservative definitions of Islamic modesty is still legal, as Uzbek traditional clothing which covers the head is still legal. What seems to be happening is that authorities are specifically concerned about the distinct attire called "hijab," mainly a headscarf originally associated with the Muslim Brotherhood but widely used among Muslims as a modest addition to westernized dress. Uzbekistan's authorities see it as a foreign ideological assertion. Why they think the ideology will go away if they ban the outward symbols is unclear.