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MOSCOW, February 11. /TASS/. Russia's Supreme Court has overruled a complaint by Muslim families in Mordovia, a republic in the European part of Russia, over a local ban on religious headwear hijabs being worn by female school students.
Appellants and their representatives insisted in court on Wednesday that the ban violated constitutional right of citizens to freedom of belief. Defending the prohibition, a female official from the government of Mordovia, home to a small Muslim community, said Russia was a secular state and that its citizens should abide by its laws.
Besides the hijabs, the court ruling upholds a prohibition on miniskirts, jeans, low-cut dresses and piercing. Female school students are also banned from dying hair in bright colours and displaying religious symbols and attributes.
Earlier, Russian Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov said the ministry was against headscarfs at Russian schools.
"Federal regulations specifying how students of secondary schools should dress exist today," he said. "These are the general requirements (applied throughout Russia) and the main of them is that children should wear strictly secular clothes."
The first deputy to the Mufti of Russia’s largely Muslim republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Batrov, does not share this view. "Schools, school programs must remain secular, but it is a private affair what to wear," he told TASS earlier.
Wearing of hijabs at schools was first banned in Russia’s southern Stavropol region in September 2012.