Resurgence of Islam in Tajikistan celebrated by many
da: The New York Times
The crowd in the airport parking lot was jubilant despite the cold, with squealing children, busy concession stands and a tangle of idling cars giving the impression of an eager audience before a rock concert.
But it was religion, not rock ‘n’ roll, that had drawn so many people: the Tajik families were waiting for their loved ones to land on a flight from Saudi Arabia, where they had taken part in the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
This did not use to happen. Tajikistan, a Muslim country north of Afghanistan, used to be part of the Soviet Union. Religion was banned, and any public expression of it, like prayer or making the hajj, was harshly punished.
A resurgence of Islam began here almost immediately after independence, in 1991, but years of civil war kept outward reflections of it, like the hajj, from appearing much.
Now, though, expressions of faith are flowering. At least 5,200 citizens of Tajikistan went on the hajj in…