Russia bans Islamic head covering in Stavropol region!
- By DR. ABDUL RUFF
Under Russian law only the federal authorities can curtail a citizen’s constitutional right to freedom of religious practice. But now locals also try to obtain authority.
The fanatic local school officials in the sparsely populated far east of the Stavropol region announced that girls in hijabs, the Islamic head covering, would no longer be allowed in government schools.
It seems the Russian president Vladimir Putin, who had killed Muslims stock and barrel in Chechnya in 2000 in order to climb upon the Russian presidency by replacing Boris Yelstsin, begins his anti-Islam crusade.
Like in India, in Russia too Muslim localities are highly neglected by the regime and local authorities, adding to their sufferings. The girls of the Salikhov family live in frontier country. The decision of local authorities to ban the head veil has forced the religious Salikhovs also to make “changes: without making notice.
The road passing through their locality is dirt, punctuated by puddles and sheep, and their house does not have plumbing or running water. Outside, the spring thaw had turned the road into a sloppy, unnavigable mess. Ms. Salikhova said that some years ago the school bus had stopped bothering to drive down the road, even to the point where the concrete ended, so the children had to tramp a quarter mile through the mud and snow.
Government is irresponsible and insensitive to needs of the society outside Moscow and Petersburg .
They had been hoping this would be the year the local authorities got around to hooking up natural gas. Instead, they found themselves at the centre of an emerging debate over religion in Russia which has been trying to identify themselves with European culture of anti-Islam. When a stern Russian schoolmistress in one of these poor villages said she would no longer admit girls in hijabs, she became a hero to many in Stavropol. The region’s leaders backed her up by introducing a uniform that does not allow girls to wear head coverings at all — a restriction that affects a population of around 2.7 million- around 20 percent of those residents are Muslims. Even small Muslim girls are upset over the regime apathy towards their religion. For instance, Raifat, a 15-year-old, wept at the news that she would be sent to neighbouring Dagestan. Her niece Amina, 10, began having one-on-one sessions with a teacher instead of attending class at the regional elementary school. Ali Salikhov, Amina’s father, said he would not be cowed into relaxing his views on the hijab. “If they think that because something will happen with my daughter I will forget my religion — I say, no, religion is the goal of my life,” he said. “For 70 years they taught us that there was no God, but that passed, and this will also pass. In 20 years they will have forgotten that hijabs were ever forbidden in Russia.”
Stavropol’s ban on hijabs — the first broad restriction to be imposed by a region in the Russian federation — will face its first court challenge on Thursday. The move came amid rising ethnic tensions that have confronted the Kremlin with tensions in North Caucasus.
The Stavropol ban is an attempt to stir up tensions between groups that have been living together peacefully, perhaps with the intent of establishing eastern Stavropol as an ethnic boundary. “When we discussed the social aspect of the problem with hijabs, one of our opponents said, ‘Let these people go back to their historical homeland, to their hijab homeland, and let them wear hijabs there,’ ” he said. “This is a pretty common opinion in Russia.”
Stavropol is 81 percent ethnic Russian and is still considered traditional Cossack territory by many. It is unusual to see hijabs in this region. Ethnic Russians have been leaving the steppe here for years, mainly for economic reasons, as have young people from the Nogay ethnic group, which practices a moderate form of Islam. The Dagestanis replacing them are more conservative, though only a handful of girls in a few villages wore hijabs to school.
Nevertheless, with conservative, pro-church sentiment surging in Russia, national news broadcasts highlighted the Stavropol story, showing an administrator guiding a child in a hijab back onto the school bus and sending her home.
The decision has rippled through Muslim ethnic groups, including those that have never adopted the hijab. Anvar Suyunov, a Nogay from Kara-Tyube, said the edict touched on “a very tricky question of self-determination” and could prove dangerously divisive. “It’s a stupid idea, because they could tear the country apart,” he said. “Every action has a reaction.”
administrators said the ban was a safety precaution. They said that if someone grabbed Amina’s hijab, for instance, she could be strangled.
Mr. Salikhov, whose parents moved to the village during the late Soviet period, said he did not consider “excess knowledge” necessary for a Muslim woman, who ultimately “will be a housewife for her husband.” But he felt sour about sending his 15-year-old sister, Raifat, to Dagestan, where hijabs are allowed but the quality of education is lower.
Soviet communism got rid of many Islamic practices and the hijab was rarely used. Post Soviet era saw the revival of Islamic culture also which modern Russia wants to get rid of unofficially by using modern Muslims. “There are no hijabs in our culture, and when I say ‘our,’ I mean our traditional Islam,” Mr. Putin said. “Authoritative statesmen in the Islamic world also say this should not be done. Shall we adopt alien traditions? Why would we do that?”
Salikhov said he was beginning to get the feeling that the authorities were creating problems in the village in the hope that he and his family would leave, returning across the Dagestani border and off the territory of Stavropol.
President V. V. Putin succeeded in curbing separatist violence in the North Caucasus in part by granting subsidies and broad autonomy to its predominantly Muslim regions. But now the Kremlin must cope with growing resentment in mostly ethnic Russian regions like Stavropol, which lies at the edge of the Caucasus mountain range.
Russia cannot go on ill-treating Muslims any longer by using the bogus terrorism threats.
[Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal, Educationist, Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA); Specialist on State Terrorism ; Global columnist, Commentator on world affairs , Expert on Mideast Affairs, Analyst on sport fixings , Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.) Former university Teacher; website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/write to me: email@example.com]
د. عبد راف
Muslim blood is cheap…Global media today, even in Muslim nations, are controlled by CIA & other anti-Islamic agencies.Terrorism is caused by anti-Islamic forces.Regimes often resort to state terrorism. Anti-Muslimism and anti-Islamism are more dangerous than “terrorism” Fake democracies have zero-tolerance to any criticism of their anti-Muslim and other aggressive practices. Anti-Islamic forces & terrorists are using all sorts of criminal elements for terrorizing the world and they in disguise are harming genuine interests of ordinary Muslims. Humanity has a right to know the truth.