MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported a ban on the wearing of the Muslim headscarf (hijab) in schools, describing the outfit as a “foreign tradition”.
“Why should we adopt outside traditions?” Putin said during a marathon question-and-answer session with Russian and foreign reporters cite by Ria Novosti on Thursday, December 20.
The Russian leader argued that Muslim scholars oppose the wearing of the headscarf in schools.
“Even Islamic scholars in the Muslim world are saying it’s the wrong thing to do [to wear hijabs in schools],” he said.
“And now you want us to introduce this tradition? what for?”
The wearing of hijab triggered a controversy in Russia in Russia in October after five Muslim students were banned from attending classes in their school in the village of Kara-Tyube in the southern Stavropol region.
Though they were initially allowed to attend their school in September while donning hijab, they were told later that they would not be allowed in unless they took off their headscarf.
At the time, Putin backed banning the Muslim headscarf in schools.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands.
Scholars, however, believe that it is up to women to decide whether to take on the face veil.
Hijab is not banned in schools in most Russian regions.
In Tatarstan, female students freely wear headscarves to school.
In Muslim Chechnya, which borders Stavropol and was the site of two separatist wars, the hijab is part of an accepted dress code.
But in regions where they are in a minority, Russian Muslims complain that their rights count for less than those of their Russian Orthodox counterparts.
The Russian Federation is home to some 23 million Muslims in the north of the Caucasus and southern republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.
Islam is Russia’s second-largest religion representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million predominantly Orthodox population.
OnIslam & News Agencies