Tajikistan

Tajikistan to Officially Ban Islamic Hijab

Tajikistan Considers Ban on Islamic Clothing

After graduating from medical school, Salomat had to make a difficult choice between her career and her faith. Due to the ban on Islamic headscarves in hospitals in Tajikistan, she had to settle for working as a masseuse at a beauty salon in Dushanbe.

The staunchly secular government in Tajikistan has been cracking down on the Islamic headscarf at schools and workplaces, forcing thousands of women to face similar dilemmas. Despite there being no legislation outlawing Islamic attire in Tajikistan, draft amendments to the law on “traditions and celebrations” have been adopted by Parliament, aiming to ban the wearing, importing, selling, and advertising of clothes deemed foreign to Tajik culture.

The penalties for offenders could result in hefty fines, ranging from $740 for individuals to $5,400 for legal entities. Even government officials and religious authorities face significantly higher fines if found guilty.

The draft bills are expected to be approved by the authoritarian President Emomali Rahmon, further tightening restrictions on Islamic clothing in the country. Many residents in Dushanbe oppose the ban, believing that people should have the freedom to choose what clothes they want to wear.

The government in recent years has promoted Tajik national dress, even sending text messages to millions of cell phone users calling for women to wear national clothes. The campaign culminated in the introduction of a manual outlining what Tajik women should wear for different occasions.

In addition to the crackdown on Islamic clothing, Tajikistan has also unofficially banned bushy beards, with reports of men being stopped by police and having their beards shaved against their will.

As Tajikistan moves towards stricter regulations on clothing choices, individuals like Salomat are forced to navigate the difficult balance between their career aspirations and religious beliefs.

 

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