Tajikistan Parliament Bans Hijab Ahead of Major Islamic Holidays

Dushanbe, Tajikistan — The Tajikistan parliament has passed a law banning the hijab, which they refer to as “alien garments,” just before the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha holidays. This move is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to limit the public display of religion and promote traditional Tajik culture. The new law also prohibits the custom known as “Idi,” where children seek gifts and money during Eid.

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President Emomali Rahmon has approved the legislation, according to reports by AKIpress. The lower chamber of parliament passed the bill on June 8, as reported by Asia Plus. The law specifically targets the hijab, an Islamic headscarf, and other traditional Islamic clothing that has recently become more common in Tajikistan, primarily due to influences from the Middle East.

The Tajik government associates the hijab with Islamic extremism. Penalties for violating the ban range from 7,920 somonis for individuals to 39,500 somonis for legal entities. Government officials and religious authorities face even higher fines, up to 57,600 somonis, if found guilty of non-compliance.

While there has been an unofficial ban on the hijab for years, this new legislation formalizes the restriction. In 2007, the education ministry banned both Islamic clothing and western-style miniskirts for students. The government has actively promoted traditional Tajik national dress and has conducted several campaigns to this effect.

In addition to the hijab ban, Tajikistan has unofficially prohibited bushy beards and restricted Islamic prayer to specific locations. Two years ago, the sale of black clothing was banned in the capital city of Dushanbe.

The official hijab ban has drawn criticism from international religious and human rights organizations. The Union of Islamic Scholars and clerics in Afghanistan and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have both condemned the move. CAIR Director Corey Saylor stated, “Banning the hijab is a violation of religious freedom, and such bans on religious attire should have no place in any nation that respects the rights of its people.”