Azerbaijani Muslims protest hijab ban
Hundreds of people have staged a demonstration in Azerbaijan’s capital, urging the government to overturn a decree banning Islamic headscarves in schools.
The protesters who were mostly the parents of Muslim students chanted slogans against the anti-Islamic law.
Baku imposed a ban on wearing the Islamic veil, or hijab, at schools in December, sparking angry protests across the Muslim country.
There have been a series of rallies against the controversial issue of the hijab ban in the country since the law came into effect.
On December 24, hundreds of Muslims held a peaceful demonstration in Azerbaijan’s second largest city of Ganja after the Friday prayers, but the police resorted to force and also detained more than 50 people.
A similar protest was held on December 10 in front of the Education Ministry building in Baku in reaction to comments by Azerbaijan’s Education Minister Misir Mardanov, who said that girls should comply with official rules on school uniforms, which forbid wearing headscarves.
The Azeri government has refused to lift the ban, defending it as part of its attempt to revive Soviet-era school uniforms in public education.
The disputed hijab law comes in contrast to the country’s constitution which entitled Muslim students to wear headscarves at schools.