Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE In this Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 file photo Chechen students from an Islamic university wear Islamic veils, during an event, in downtown Grozny, the provincial capital of Chechnya, to mark a newly established holiday called 'The Day of Chechen Women'. President Vladimir Putin spoke out Thursday against the wearing of headscarves in Russian schools in his first public comment on a potentially explosive issue. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev, File)
Putin opposes the wearing of headscarves at school
First Published Oct 18 2012 12:40 pm • Last Updated Oct 18 2012 12:41 pm

Moscow • President Vladimir Putin spoke out Thursday against the wearing of headscarves in Russian schools in his first public comment on a potentially explosive issue.

Putin’s statement follows a recent incident in Russia’s southern region of Stavropol during which a school principal forbade girls from Muslim families from wearing headscarves to class. Their parents protested and the principal said she was threatened.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Asked to comment on the issue, Putin clearly voiced his opposition to headscarves at schools, saying that Russia is a secular state and must create equal conditions for all its citizens.

At the same time, Putin sought to calm passions raised by the dispute, saying that authorities must show a due respect to followers of all religions.

"We have a secular state, and we must proceed from that," Putin said at a meeting with supporters.

Other countries also have faced debate over the issue.

This month, police in Azerbaijan clashed with citizens protesting a ban on the wearing of headscarves in the mainly Muslim ex-Soviet nation’s secondary schools.

In Europe, France and Belgium have banned the wearing of headscarves or face-covering Islamic veils in public, as have some towns in Spain and elsewhere.

Putin said Russia should learn from the decisions of such countries. "We must have a look at how such issues are solved by our neighbors in European countries, and all will become clear," he said.

An estimated 20 million of Russia’s 143 million people are Muslims, and they make up the majority of the population in many regions, including the oil-rich province of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, as well as Chechnya and neighboring provinces in the volatile North Caucasus.


story continues below
story continues below

Putin said that with Russian Orthodox believers making up a majority, any departure from secular rules in public life could eventually lead to the infringement on the rights of followers of other religions. "It would be better if all people feel equal," he added.

If the dispute over headscarves escalates in Russia, it could fuel tensions between the federal government and Chechnya and other Muslim-dominated provinces.

Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has imposed a tight Islamic dress code on females. Girls and women are strongly advised to wear headscarves in public.

Kadyrov’s feared black-clad security forces have used paintball guns, threats and insults against those failing to obey.

The Kremlin has relied on Kadyrov, the ruthless Chechen strongman leader, to stabilize the region after two separatist wars since 1994 and turned a blind eye to his campaign for enforcing Islamic rules as well as massive rights abuses.

Putin said Thursday that one possible way out of the headscarves dispute would be the introduction of school uniforms.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.