Tajikistan Bans Hijab, Islamic Garments in Crackdown on Religious Expression

Tajikistan’s parliament approved a controversial law banning the hijab and other Islamic garments, sparking outrage among the country’s Muslim majority, Hindustan Times reported yesterday.

The legislation also restricts children’s celebrations during major Islamic holidays, including Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the source mentioned.

This move by the tightly-controlled, former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan is likely to cause significant tension. Officials justify the ban on “alien garments” as promoting national identity and claim the limitations on religious celebrations ensure “proper education and safety.”

The law carries hefty fines for violators, with individuals facing up to $700 and businesses up to $3,500. Religious leaders and government officials could be fined even more.

The ban has ignited debate within Tajikistan and condemnation from international Islamic groups. Some Afghan clerics even declared “jihad” in response.

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