26 January 2017, 13:38
Kremlin distances itself from discussion on problem of hijab wearing at schools
Moscow, January 26, Interfax - The Kremlin has distanced itself from discussions on the problem of wearing Muslim religious headscarves (hijabs) in Russian schools and has said that it does not want to take sides in this issue.
"We would not like to became a party to this decision at the moment," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russian Education and Science Minister Olga Vasilyeva said earlier that pupils of Russian schools should not demonstrate their faith by wearing certain religious items.
"I do not think that truly faithful people try to emphasize their attitude to faith by attributes. Our education system is secular," Vasilyeva said when commenting on a ban for pupils and teachers at a school in the village of Belozerye, Tatarstan, to wear headscarves. A similar situation occurred in the Stavropol Territory several years ago, the minister said.
Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov, for his part, said that the education and science minister was imposing on society her personal opinion that pupils should not wear hijabs at schools.
"A headscarf is not an attribute. Rather it is an important part of a Muslim woman's clothes," he said.
This topic is being artificially maintained in order to divert attention from real problems at schools, he said. Kadyrov also said that his three daughters attend school, wear hijabs and will never take them off.
The Russian Presidential Human Rights Council has already reacted to this situation as well.
Russia's regions should have a right to make their own decisions on whether to allow hijabs at schools, Yevgeny Bobrov, the council's deputy chairman and head of the council's commission for migration policy and protection of human rights in the sphere of interethnic regions, said.
"I think that they [hijabs] should be allowed in regions where the practice [of wearing them] has long existed," he told Interfax.
In order for this to happen, it is necessary to say in the relevant law that the regions themselves can decide how to do it and permit the wearing of hijabs in the relevant region's law, he said.
"It is necessary to discuss this issue at the highest level in the presence of the education minister, Education Ministry specialists, representatives of the relevant confessions and the relevant regions and finally make a decision because it is unacceptable when some people have one opinion, others have a different view and then radical opinions are voiced," Bobrov said.