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Ban on any religious clothing discriminating — Russian priest

February 17, 2015, 19:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said the legislation banning hijabs at schools should be amended to allow believers comply with the religious dress code
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© ITAR-TASS/Murat Kazbekov

MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Banning religious clothing is a gross discrimination of believers, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a senior Orthodox Church official in charge of relations with society, said on Tuesday.

"When somebody says that one type of clothing is lawful and another one is not, this is a gross violation of basic law principles, which should be called a sheer discrimination," Chaplin said commenting on the Russian Supreme Court's recent ruling to uphold a ban on Muslim headwear hijabs at schools.

Chaplin said the legislation should be amended to allow believers comply with the religious dress code adding that the time of "secularism supporters was gone."

Russia's Supreme Court overruled last week 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 that the ban violated the 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 hijhabs, 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.

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