Tajikistan With 98% Muslim Population, Bans Islamic Clothing

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Tajikistan With 98% Muslim Population, Bans Islamic Clothing

| Updated: June 22, 2024 10:18

The Central Asian nation of Tajikistan took a historic decision and officially prohibited the wearing of hijabs. “Majlisi Milli,” the upper house of parliament, passed a new bill regulating Islamic clothing, which they termed “alien garments.” The parliament also curbed the Eid celebrations. It is astonishing to note that Tajikistan is a country with a 98% Muslim population.

More importantly, citing “measures aiming to ensure proper education and safety of children during the holidays,” the government has restricted children’s participation in the Islamic holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Individuals wearing hijabs or other banned religious clothing would face fines of up to US$700 under the new law. The fine for companies that allow employees to wear prohibited garments is US$3,500. Violation of rules will cost $4,80 to $5,100 to government officials and religious leaders.

The political class of Tajikistan has expressed worry about the cultural onslaught from the Middle East in recent times, which they believe is threatening their own distinct cultural identity. President Emomali Rahmon urged promoting traditional Tajik national dress in place of “foreign clothing” such as the hijab.

Tajikistan has a long history of opposing the influx of Middle Eastern cultural symbols being imposed on the country. The ban on hijab for students has been in place since 2007, which was later extended to all public institutions. There has been an unofficial aversion to the beards that many Muslims consider their religious identity.

If the law does not face significant opposition within Tajik society, it will be an event of enormous social importance worldwide.

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