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Russia’s Supreme Court confirms ban on hijabs at schools in Mordovia

On Wednesday, Feb 11, Russia’s Supreme Court has confirmed the ban on hijabs (Muslim headscarves) at schools in Mordovia.

The Court has dismissed an appeal against a relevant verdict by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Mordovia.

As EAD reported earlier, in May 2014, the Government of Mordovia ruled to ban hijabs at schools. A group of Muslim parents appealed against that verdict but the local Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.

In summer 2013, the Supreme Court of Russia refused to revoke a similar ban by the Regional Court in Stavropol.

Before the last hearing of this case, Grand Mufti of Russia Rawil Gaynetdin sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said that hijabs do not impede the education process and gave the examples of Tatarstan and Chechen Republic. But no reply followed.

Gaynetdin’s old rival, Head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate Talgat Tadzhuddin criticized Gaynetdin’s position: “Muslim girls are not obliged to cover their heads, while Muslim women are just required to observe the proprieties and to cover their bodies only.” He does not think that such matters should be settled in court. “Allah does not look at faces or clothes, he looks at deeds and hearts,” Tadzhuddin said.

In Tatarstan, where not all federal laws are observed, they advocate cultural diversity. “We are advocates of secular state, where each person has the right to dress according to his beliefs. So, nobody must force anybody to put on or take off hijabs. We must foster our cultural and ethnic diversity – for this is both the beauty and strength of our country,” Deputy Mufti of Tatarstan Rustam Batrov said.

Head of the Secretariat of Russia’s Inter-religious Council Roman Bogdasarov said that they are planning to shortly meet with authorities so as to consider the role of religious symbols, including religious clothes in society.

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