Religion: Islam Regains Its Voice

Nurtured by a growing official tolerance, the country's 55 million Muslims enjoy a flowering of freedom

Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!" The call to prayer echoes forth from a minaret in Tashkent, as it has from mosques throughout the 13 centuries of Islam. "Was it loud enough?" asks the mullah who will lead the prayers. That is an eminently reasonable question, since in the Soviet Union no muezzin is allowed to use a loudspeaker. The inquiry is also metaphorical. In the U.S.S.R.'s fourth largest city and leading Islamic center, as elsewhere across the nation, believers are cautiously regaining their public voice after an oppressively enforced silence.

All faiths are affected by a growing accommodation between church...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!