Muslim-majority Tajikistan bans Hijab calling it ‘alien garments’
DUSHANBE: (Web Desk) Tajikistan has officially imposed a hijab ban after the upper chamber of the country’s parliament approved a bill to promote national dress.

 In 2018, the Tajik government launched a drive to encourage the wearing of Tajik national dress. In 2017, a number of mobile phone users received messages from the government urging women to wear Tajik national attire.

In the bill passed during the 18th session of the upper house of Parliament or Majlisi Milli, chaired by its head, Rustam Emomali, the Majlisi Mill banned "alien garments" and children’s celebrations for two most important Islamic holidays – Eidul Fitr and Eidul Azha during which children visit houses in their streets to greet people.

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On May 8, the lower chamber of the country's parliament, Majlisi Namoyandagon, approved the bill. It targets traditional clothing, specifically the Islamic head scarf.

Earlier, the lower house approved amendments to the code of administrative violations. As per the new amendments, violations of law could attract hefty fines. However, the code of administrative violations did not previously mention hijab or other religious clothing as violations.

The new law imposes penalties for offenders that range from 7,920 somonis for individuals to 39,500 somonis for legal entities, Radio Liberty's Tajik Service reported. Moreover, government officials and religious authorities are subject to significantly higher fines of 54,000 somonis to 57,600 somonis, respectively, upon conviction.

Tajikistan's official clampdown on hijab comes after years of an unofficial ban. The country has unofficially banned bushy beards as well. In 2007, the Education Ministry banned both Islamic clothing and Western-style miniskirts for students and later extended this ban to all public institutions.