Head of Russia’s Investigative Committee angers Ramzan Kadyrov with call to ban niqab — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Head of Russia’s Investigative Committee angers Ramzan Kadyrov with call to ban niqab

Photo: EPA-EFE/NIELS WENSTEDT

Photo: EPA-EFE/NIELS WENSTEDT

The head of Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin called for a blanket ban on the wearing of the niqab in the country following last week’s terror attacks in Dagestan, which he said had been carried out by “Islamist terrorists”, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Saturday.

Speaking at a Q&A session during the International Legal Forum in St. Petersburg, Bastrykin agreed with an audience member who suggested that Russia should follow the example of majority-Muslim Central Asian countries, where there are various restrictions on niqabs, which cover the wearer’s face and leave only the area around the eyes exposed.

“It’s the duty of the State Duma to pass a law prohibiting what you’re talking about. There [in Central Asian states], it’s banned, but here it’s allowed. Why? I don’t know, I’m not a legislator. But I agree with you, we urgently need to ban it all”, Bastrykin said.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan all have laws regulating the wearing of religious garments to some degree, ranging from a hijab ban in schools in Kazakhstan to a new law making it illegal to wear a hijab at all in Tajikistan.

Russia has no such restrictions, and niqabs and hijabs are commonly worn by women in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus.

Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov warned Bastrykin to be “extremely careful” in blaming Islamist radicals for the terror attacks which killed 21 people in Dagestan last week and a failed jailbreak in the city of Rostov-on-Don that left six people dead earlier in June.

“One should not confuse religions with the reckless ideas of rabid fanatics and devils who can call themselves whatever they want but have absolutely no connection to the holy scriptures”, Kadyrov wrote on Telegram, stressing that Muslims “have not committed and do not commit” such attacks and expressed his hope that Bastrykin would “not compare Islam with terrorism in the future”.

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