Three-quarters of Russians oppose hijab in schools, poll shows

RIA Novosti / Maksim Bogodvid
An overwhelming majority of Russian citizens have spoken against the wearing of traditional Muslim headgear by schoolchildren and students and a large part of these people said they preferred hijab not to be used at all.

According to a poll conducted by the independent research center Levada in mid-June this year, 74 percent of Russians oppose the use of hijab in schools, while 18 percent answered that they saw nothing wrong with this and 9 percent said found it difficult to give a simple answer.

At the same time, 38 percent of those who opposed hijab in schools said they were categorically against this type of religious headgear in general.

The Muslim population of the Russian Federation amounts to about 10 percent and the traditions of this religion have already reached Federal level.

In February this year the Supreme Court supported the ban of Muslim headgear in schools introduced last fall by authorities in the Russian Republic of Mordovia. The judge turned down the complaint of local Muslim community saying that the ban on wearing headscarves in schools did not prevent Muslims from believing in God and did not infringe anyone’s constitutional rights.

READ MORE: ‘No threat to society’ – top Russian mufti appeals to Putin in defense of hijab

It should be noted that the regional order that caused the lawsuit banned not only hijabs, but also any clear demonstration of any attributes of any religion. In addition, the regional government banned schoolchildren from wearing blue jeans, mini-skirts, low-cut tops, bright makeup or hair dye.

In July 2014, the Supreme Court also upheld a ban on hijabs and other Muslim headwear in schools by the administration in Russia’s southern Stavropol region.

These court battles have drawn a lot of public attention to the issue and also caused the followers of Islam to seek interference of top state officials. Russia’s Grand Mufti Ravil Gainutdin has addressed President Vladimir Putin with a request to defend the right of Muslim girls to wear the hijab in schools and universities.

Putin expressed his position on the issue of hijabs in 2012, when he opposed them being worn in schools, saying that, although people’s religious feelings must be respected, Russia is a secular state.

We should see how our neighbors, European states deal with [wearing hijabs]. And everything will become clear,” Putin said.

However, the president stressed that decisions on the matter can only be made after a discussion with clerics and in a way that would not hurt anyone’s feelings.