‘Liberated’ Uzbek girl assembles machinery, 1930s, Library of Congress. Source.
RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service, known locally as Ozodlik, has been receiving some curious information from Uzbekistan’s section of the Ferghana Valley, where it appears the authorities are implementing some new policies at the bazaars and in the mosques.
As has been unfortunately true for some time in Uzbekistan, it is difficult to verify information about what is happening inside the country. The Uzbek government would rather not endure international criticism for its actions, so Uzbek authorities work hard to prevent uncensored information about the country from getting out.
Those who do speak to Ozodlik, for example, prefer not to be named for fear of government reprisals.
At the end of April, Ozodlik reported on the new hudjum* campaign in Kokand and Margilan, where security officers in civilian clothes were patrolling bazaars and forcing women to remove head scarves.
Ozodlik has discovered a new dress code is in effect at some bazaars in Kokand and Margilan. Local authorities have placed signs at the gates of the bazaars warning women not to wear “Arab-, Iranian-, Turkish-, or Pakistani-style” hijabs while at the bazaar.
It is not only women who have been affected by the authorities’ new fixation with headwear. Men are forbidden from wearing a white “doppi,” the traditional skullcap of Uzbeks and Tajiks…
The leader of Uzbekistan is the former leader of the place from the time of the USSR. He runs a very strict ship and has zero tolerance for Islamic extremists.
*Hudjum: The name dates back to 1927 when the Soviet government forced women to stop wearing scarves, veils, or burqas.