Chechnya’s Kadyrov: my daughters won’t take their hijabs off in school
Chechen leader has lashed out at Russian minister of education and sciences Olga Vasilieva for supporting a Mordova school’s ban on Islamic headscarves.
“I’m surprised that the minister tried to impose her personal views on millions of her fellow citizens, rather than pointing out to the local leadership how wrong they were [having banned the headscarves],” Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on Instagram. “My three daughters wear hijabs to school, and their performance at school is excellent. And now Olga Vasilieva comes to say they need to take the headscarves off? This is something they well never do.”
Freedom of conscience and religion are embedded in the Russian constitution, however, “apparently, not all Russian officials know about it,” he said.
Minister Vasilieva had said on a visit to Mordova that it was wrong for school-goers to use clothing and insignia that conspicuously manifested their religious affiliation.
“I don’t think that truly religious people would stress their attitude towards religion through these trappings. Our education is secular,” she said, adding that “the matter has already been decided by the constitutional court”, and that “hijabs as an attribute of nationality and religion were out of place in school.”
In his Instagram post, Kadyrov challenged her, saying Russia’s constitutional court had never even looked into the hijab issue.
It was Russia’s supreme court that upheld in February 2015 the Mordovan government’s ban on students wearing hijabs and other religious trappings, as well short skirts, low-cut shirts and jeans to school.
This was preceded by a row in Russia’s Stavropol Region in 2012, when a directive forbidding Muslim girls from covering their heads in school caused protests among the local Muslim community. President Vladimir Putin intervened to support hijab opponents. Wearing a headscarf in school had never been a part of traditions in Russia, even in its Muslim-populated areas, he said at the time.
The row resulted in a new government directive that introduced compulsory classic-style uniform in schools throughout the Stavropol Region, and banned headscarves, including hijabs, and other religious clothing. In the summer of 2013, the supreme court ruled the ban legal.