- Title: TAJIKISTAN: Tajik government introduces ban on Islamic hejab in secular schools
- Date: 3rd November 2005
- Summary: PUPILS ENTERING SCHOOL CLASSROOM WITH STUDENTS CLOSE-UP OF GIRL STUDYING TEACHER CONDUCTING THE LESSON (GOOD SHOTS OF SCHOOL LIFE)
- Embargoed: 18th November 2005 12:00
- Location: Tajikistan
- Country: Tajikistan
- Topics: Education
- Reuters ID: LVAEK69RJRYODF8NPHZ0IAOA17NK
- Story Text: The government of Tajikistan has introduced a ban on wearing the Islamic hejab in the country's secular schools.
The ban which was announced by the Tajik Education ministry in October, has been criticised by the country's largest Muslim party, the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) of Tajikistan.
In a statement issued in Dushanbe on Monday (October 31), the IRP said the ban was "against the interests of the majority of Tajiks" and "could provoke a negative public reaction".
The Tajik authorities say the wearing of the hejab, worn as a head scarf by women in Tajikistan, in secular schools violated the constitution and the country's education laws.
On the streets of Dushanbe, women criticised the government ban.
"We can't accept this (ban on wearing of head scarves) in any way, because all Muslim women have to observe the hejab. The hejab causes no harm to the government," said Sadbarg Davlytova.
Another woman, Saida Ibragimova, said the hejab offered more dignity to a woman outside her home.
"All Muslim women need to observe the hejab; to preserve our dignity as women we are obliged to keep the hejab," said Ibragimova.
At a secular school in Dushanbe, some female students said they sympathised with their fellow students who wanted to wear the hejab.
"I do see it as an infringement of their rights, for they should be allowed to wear what they like," said student Anastasia Itriskova. But she added that if the government have introduced a ban against the hejab in secular schools, then it should be observed.
"At the same time, the government has banned it, which means they feel it is necessary that everyone should be treated equally, and wear the same school uniform, then I feel that is fine," added Itriskova.
Itriskova's views were echoed by school headmistress Irina Krykova.
"For that reason I feel that for a secular government, a standard school uniform is acceptable, and not the clothing which is required, for instance, for entering a mosque," said Krykova.
Tajikistan, in ex-Soviet Central Asia, is constitutionally a secular country but more than 90 percent of its seven million people are Muslims.
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