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Mini-Mosques Encourage Uzbeks to Perform Prayer

TASHKENT – The Uzbek government announced on Monday its plans to build several new small mosques along roads and streets across the Central Asian country’s capital, to help people perform the daily five prayers.

A sum of 22 “mini-mosques” will be built soon in the capital, Tashkent, to help Muslims pray five times a day, Anvarqori Tursunov, a senior imam in the capital, told RFE/RL.

The announcement was made by the Uzbek government’s Committee on Religions.

Along with helping Uzbek people perform prayer, the governmental official added that the mosques will meet the needs of tourists from Muslim countries.

Worshiping houses for other faith groups would be possible as well if the committee received requests.

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“If there were requests, similar small prayer buildings would be built for people of other faiths,” he said.

Muslims pray five times a day, with each prayer made up of a series of postures and movements, each set of which is called a rak‘ah.

The five prayer times are divided all through the day which starts with Fajr prayer at dawn.

The announcement comes as the Central Asian country announced recent plans to attract more tourists from Muslim countries.

Along with the mini-mosques, 10% of hotels in Uzbekistan will provide copies of Qur’an in their rooms, while 30% will have signs of the Qibla, the direction that should be faced when Muslims pray toward Kaaba in Makkah.

Analysts assume that President Shavkat Mirziyoev, who succeeded the long-ruling President Islam Karimov, is keen to implement social and economic reforms.

Karimov’s era, which started from independence in 1989 till his death in 2016, was infamous for its harsh restrictions, isolation and hard grip.