Religion: Taking A Firm Stand Against Faith

Moscow worries about the growing population of Soviet Muslims

While en route to India last November, Mikhail Gorbachev made his first visit as Communist Party leader to Soviet Central Asia. At Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, Gorbachev gave a speech to local party officials on such familiar problems as economic inefficiency and official corruption. But at one point his address took a distinctly unfamiliar turn. According to the Uzbek daily Pravda Vostoka, Gorbachev called for a "firm and uncompromising struggle against religious phenomena." Then he said, "We must be strict above all with Communists and senior officials, particularly those who say they defend our morality and ideals but in fact...

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