Tajikistan's Anti-Islamic Government Passes Bill to Ban Hijab Despite 98% Muslim Population

Beni Mellal — Tajikistan has officially prohibited the wearing of hijabs and other “alien garments” as its parliament passed a bill regulating Islamic clothing and Eid celebrations. Approved by the upper house, Majlisi Milli, on June 19, the law enforces penalties for violations, with fines reaching up to 57,600 somonis ($5,100) for government officials and religious leaders.

The bill also restricts children's participation in Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha celebrations, aiming to ensure their "proper education and safety." President Emomali Rahmon, in a March address, referred to the hijab as "foreign clothing," reinforcing the government's promotion of traditional Tajik dress as an alternative.

This law escalates Tajikistan's long-standing unofficial restrictions on Islamic attire, extending beyond the 2007 ban on hijabs in public institutions. Human rights organizations have criticized the ban as a violation of religious freedom in a nation where over 98% of the population is Muslim.

Tajikistan, ruled by Soviet-era communists since its independence, has maintained strict anti-Islamic policies reminiscent of its communist past, influencing its current stance on religious expression. President Rahmon heads an authoritarian regime with elements of a cult of personality, where political opponents are repressed, human rights violations are severe, elections are not free and fair, and corruption and nepotism are rampant.

Rahmon's suppression of Islamic expression includes banning beards, mosque attendance for women and children under 18, hajj for people under 40, studying in Islamic schools outside Tajikistan, and the production, import, or export of Islamic books without permission. The use of loudspeakers for the adhan, veils, madrassas, Islamist political parties, and Arabic-sounding names are also banned. Mosques are heavily regulated, and providing unofficial Islamic teaching can lead to up to 12 years of imprisonment. An arduous process is required to obtain permits for establishing Islamic organizations, publishing Islamic books, or going on pilgrimage to Mecca.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily mirror Islamonweb’s editorial stance.

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