The Uzbek officials devoted 25 minutes of prime-time programming recently to inform citizens about the government's latest tastes in fashion. Traditional attire should make a comeback, officials say, while the latest Western trends should be shunned. And the hijab, or veil, for women? That's a definite fashion no-no.
The program, called Tahdid (or threat in English), appeared on Uzbekistan's First Channel on February 20. It slammed hijabs as "alien" and asserted that the garment is evidence of "religious extremism." Sohiba Abdullayeva, a representative of the Committee for Religious Issues, said, "You may recall that religious extremist women used to wear this kind of clothes, women might have carried guns under their hijabs."
At the other end of the sartorial spectrum, women wearing tight-fitting and revealing Western-style clothing prompted one male interviewee to appeal for "moderation." The program also featured two different doctors saying hijabs caused calcium deficiencies and that western styles led to unspecified health problems.