Russian school outlaws female students in hijabs

In the village of Kara-Tube, the Stavropol region of Russia, a scandal erupted after the local school administration banned wearing hijabs, or headscarves, for students, Rosbalt reports.

"My daughter is in the sixth grade. When she came to school wearing a headscarf one day, they just shut the door in front of her face, having said that she would be allowed in only if she removed the scarf from her head. But in our religion it is unacceptable," villager Ravil Kaybaliev said.

Headmistress of School №12, Marina Savchenko, believes that children should not be admitted to classes wearing Muslim head scarves, as it was against the school charter, which requires that all students should wear school uniforms. She also said that she offered female students to replace their hijabs with common triangular headscarves during school hours, reports.

"We did not insist that they do not wear hijabs at all, but we offered to replace them with triangular headscarves for the time, while the girls stay in classrooms," she said.

The parents of the students addressed to the Prosecutor of the Neftekumsk district of the Stavropol region, Alexander Stepanov, in an effort to find out on what basis the rights of schoolchildren for free secondary education and freedom of religion were violated at school.

"Indeed, we received a complaint requesting the investigation of the situation. The complaint has a number of signatures - they are from the parents, who were concerned about the situation. We are looking into the problem. Within 30 days, a legal assessment of the situation will be provided. Should the actions of the headmistress be deemed illegal or infringing upon children's interests, there will be adequate decisions taken," an official spokesperson for the prosecutor's office said.

Pavel Astakhov, the Commissioner for Children's Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, said that the school administration has "obviously gone too far." 

"There are no general requirements as to how students should look, and a headscarf in this case is not an indecent garment. In America, for example, the hijab does not offend anyone's traditions and culture," he said. The ombudsman put forward a suggestion to hold a public lesson at school, where Muslim students could tell their classmates about their religion.

According to the Izvestia newspaper, the Ministry for Education did not find violations in the actions of the school administration. The Mufti of the Stavropol region, Muhammad Haji Rakhimov, also supported the headmistress and said that "imams and believers had already visited the village of Kara-Tube." According to the Mufti, they agreed that it would be enough for girls to wear common triangular headscarves at school "not to attract attention."

"I do not support wearing mini-skirts at school, I believe that one should keep up appearances. One should come to a compromise. I am for the girls to wear common headscarves to remove this unnecessary question. We have many other problems to deal with," the mufti concluded.

It is worthy of note that in 2011, Muslim women in France and Belgium were banned from wearing burqa in public places. According to the law, the men who force their wives to wear burqa outside their home, may spend 12 months in jail.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov