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Tajik Party Criticizes Headscarf Ban

Women wearing the hijab in Tajikistan (file photo) (RFE/RL) 31 October 2005 -- Tajikistan's Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) has criticized a ban on wearing headscarves, or hijab, in the republic's secular schools as an "inadmissible" violation of civil rights.

The IRP said in a statement today that the ban contradicts the constitution and international laws. It added that the ban could provoke a "negative public reaction."

In announcing the ban earlier this month, Education Minister Abdudjabor Rakhmonov said that wearing the hijab and other religious symbols was "unacceptable" in secular schools and in violation of the constitution and education laws.

Tajikistan is constitutionally a secular country. More than 90 percent of the population is Muslim.