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Russian Supreme Court bans hijabs in Stavropol Territory schools

The litigants' attorney Murad Musayev named the decision politicized and infringing the religious rights of Muslims

MOSCOW, July 10 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the resolution by the Stavropol Territory government which banned girls from Muslim families from coming to schools while wearing hijabs /Muslim headscarves/. There court thereby turned down the complains by several citizens who had challenged the resolution as illegal and invalid.

"The Supreme Court rules not to change the decision by the Stavropol Territory Court which acknowledged the resolution by the regional government as legitimate, and not to meet the appeal," Judge Valentin Pirozhkov announced.

Similar school uniform requirements have already been introduced in a number of regions, including Bashkortostan, Adygeya and Dagestan.

Today, the court has announced only the operative part of the decision. The full text of the definition will be given the parties soon.

After the hearing the litigants' attorney Murad Musayev named the decision politicized and infringing the religious rights of Muslims. In his opinion, the court is guided by legal and political clichés, which leads to religious discrimination. "This could force all Muslim girls to leave the educational institutions, so we will appeal against today's decision in all instances, until we achieve it is canceled," said the lawyer quoted by ITAR-TASS. However, he did not rule out appealing to the European Court of Human Rights. "I don’t know, we will try to reverse it in Russian court, and then decide," he said.

In his turn, the representative of the Governor of the Stavropol Territory Vladimir Molchanov said that he is "satisfied by the court decision." He once again pointed out that the introduction of school uniform is designed to eliminate social and religious differences between students.


"It is better to let them all feel equal"

In October 2012, the director of a school in the Stavropol Territory banned schoolgirls to wear the hijab. The controversy came to the federal level. As a result, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed himself against allowing the hijab in schools and supported the idea of ​​reintroducing school uniform. He stressed that Russia is a secular state, and "from this we should proceed." "It is better to let them all feel equal," said the president.

According to surveys, more than half of Russians oppose to the demonstration of religiosity at school.


"These scarves do not disturb anyone"

Later, the Stavropol Regional Court upheld the ban on wearing headscarves in schools. The plaintiffs have appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming the decision violates the religious freedom of Muslim children and their right of education. "We ask to provide children a bit of personal freedom, because these scarves do not disturb anyone," said the plaintiffs' attorney Murad Musayev. However, the prosecutor said that the ban on headscarves complies with the law on education, which determines its secular nature.

Meanwhile, on September 1 to enters into force a new law on education, which establishes the requirements for a school uniform chosen by the school administration. Basic requirements include a ban on bright colors, pants and skirts with a low waist and high slits, elements that cover the face, as well as religious clothing. Huge accessories, symbols of informal groups and piercings are also strictly regulated.