As well as being a valuable and insightful study into the history, development and tenets of Islam, with particular reference to life in Uzbekistan, this study, which draws on a wide personal network and extensive field research, is also in part a personal quest in support of women’s position and aspirations in the modern world. In 1991, following the collapse of the USSR, Uzbekistan reappeared on the world map as an independent state within the Russian Federation, choosing the path of secular development and the creation of a democratic society. It also declared itself to be once again part of the Islamic world, where it had been for centuries, albeit on its periphery in Inner Asia. Yet, almost instantaneously, the modernization of the state was subsumed into the reestablishment of traditional Islam which immediately impacted on the political, economic and social structure of the former ‘Soviet’ society, above all on the position of women. Remarkably, the traditional role, status and dress code of women was quickly embraced by large sections of the female population ‘Fairly young girls, who had scarcely memorized a single sura of the Koran, started to accuse their friends of impiety.’ The author, who has written two other books, is a distinguished Uzbek architect and is a founder member of the Tashkent Women’s Resource Centre.
Marfua Tokhtakhodzhaeva is lecturer at the University of Tashkent and a distinguished Uzbek architect. She is a founder member of the Tashkent Women’s Resource Centre and the author of two other books.
Introduction; 1 Time and the Ethereal; 2 The Time of Dreams and Awakening; 3 We the People – Here and Now; Conclusion; References; Index