Uzbekistan, the Central Asian country’s education ministry says girls will be allowed to wear the hijab in Uzbek schools to ensure that devout Muslim families send their daughters to school.
According to the report, Islam is the dominant religion in Uzbekistan, but the dictatorial government is strictly secular, which has maintained strict control over the religion even after 30 years of independence from the Soviet Union.
Education Minister Sherzod Shermatov said authorities had “intended to allow the national scarf and head to be covered in white or light” following an “appeal from several parents”.
He said the move was necessary to ensure that every child received a secular education.
Prototypes of the allowed hijab presented by the Education Minister suggested girls of school age would not be able to cover their chin as is the case with the hijab — a head covering popular throughout the Muslim world.
Education Minister Sherzod Shermatov did not specify the age at which the hijab would be allowed.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has eased some control over the state’s accepted Islam since he came to power in 2016 following the death of longtime dictator Islam Karimov.
Earlier this year, Uzbekistan amended the Freedom of Conscience Act to allow women to wear the hijab in public, but this did not include state institutions such as schools.
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