Tajikistan is currently in the news for banning hijab and other Islamic clothing. While hijab bans are not new, with many countries and regions having enacted it so, the fact that a Muslim-majority country is doing so has caught people’s attention.

According to research by the Pew Research Group and the US State Department out of the 10 million people (approx) in the country, around 98 per cent identify as Muslim.

What Has Tajikistan Done?

On June 21st the Tajikistan parliament approved of a bill that would essentially ban the hijab and other traditional Islamic clothing in the country.

The bill was passed in the 18th session of the upper house of Parliament, Majlisi Milli banned “alien garments” and forbade children’s celebrations for Eid al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, two important Islamic holidays.

This new law amends the “On Regulation of Holidays and Ceremonies” legislation prohibiting the “import, sale, promotion and wearing of clothing deemed foreign to the national culture”. Among these, according to reports, are the following:

– A ban on the hijab, the head covering worn by Muslim women, and other garments associated with Islam

– A ban on Eidi, the custom of gifting money to children during Eid and Navroz

– Restrictions on festivities around Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha

There are also penalties for flaunting the law:
  • A fine of 7,920 somonis (approximately Rs. 62,000) on people wearing hijabs or other religious attire that is prohibited
  • A penalty of 39,500 somonis (just a little over Rs. 3,00,00) on companies who allow employees to wear banned garments
  • Fines between 54,000 to 57,600 somonis (Rs. 4,21,000 to Rs. 4,49,000) on government officials for non-compliance.

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Reason For The Ban

As per the Dushanbe-based independent news agency Asia Plus the country’s President Emomali Rahmon called them “foreign clothing” with the government claiming that this was “protecting national cultural values” and “preventing superstition and extremism”.

President Rahmon in March said, “Xenophobia in clothing, i.e. wearing foreign clothes with fake names and hijab, is another pressing issue for our society.”

The reason for the ban is an attempt by President Emomali Rahmon’s government to promote a national identity and restrict public displays of religious affiliation as per reports.

According to the Majlisi Milli press centre, certain women’s garments have been seen coming from the Middle East in recent years and the officials see them associated with Islamic extremists.

The Tajikistan government has also finally banned the Islamic hijab officially after restricting it for years. This is not the first time the Tajiki government has cracked down on Islamic attire with the Ministry of Education prohibiting both that and Western-style miniskirts for students in 2007 which later included all public institutions too.

Special teams were formed by local authorities who would be charged with enforcing the ban along with the police raiding markets and taking those who would break the rules into custody.

The Tajik government has also been promoting traditional Tajik clothing through several campaigns with one in 2017 sending text messages to the citizens encouraging women to wear Tajik national clothes.

In 2018 the government also released “The Guidebook Of Recommended Outfits In Tajikistan,” a 376-page manual listing appropriate attire for many occasions.

Even men have been discouraged from keeping bushy beards and as per a Hindustan Times report “thousands of men have been forcibly stopped by police over the past decade and had their beards shaved off against their will.”

The ban is not being taken positively by all though, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemning it. CAIR’s Research and Advocacy Director, Corey Saylor said, “Banning the hijab is a violation of religious freedom and such bans on religious attire should have no place in any nation that respects the rights of its people.”

CAIR’s official statement also said, “We condemn this draconian, repressive law and urge the Tajik government to reverse this decision.”

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Firstpost, Livemint, Euro News

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Tajikistan, Tajikistan hijab, Tajikistan hijab ban, hijab, hijab ban, Tajikistan religion, Tajikistan capital, Tajikistan hijab ban why, Tajikistan president 

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