A new law has been introduced in Tajikistan which asked people to ‘strictly stick to traditional national clothing’. This move was widely seen as restricting Muslim women from wearing traditional Islamic clothing, which includes wearing a scarf tied across the face or a hijab to cover the head.
Tajikistan’s culture minister Shamsiddin Orumbekzoda said in a radio address to the nation that Muslim clothing was ‘really dangerous’, despite the country having a Muslim majority.
Not only in Tajikistan but many other countries of Europe and Central Asia, many rumors and superstitions are associated with Muslim attire. People generally associate the Muslim community with terrorism, and many believe that Muslim women roam around hiding weapons under their burqa.
Although the legislation did not specifically mention the hijab, but authorities had previously referred to it as ‘alien culture’.
Earlier, women wearing hijabs were not allowed to enter government offices. Previously, the officials had urged thousands of women wearing hijabs in the capital Dushanbe to wear scarves in the Tajik style, as they could be fined for wearing scarves in an ‘alien fashion’.
Though the new law did not legalize a penalty for the same, people were of the opinion that fines could be imposed at a later stage.
This new law has brought many into consideration, as people have started forming groups in the favor of or against the new law.
The Muslim majority is not able to accept the way the legislation requires them to wear their traditional head clothes. Also, the traditional Tajik style requires women to wear their scarves in a manner exposing the neck under their chin, to which many a women protested.
The choice of dressing is one’s basic fundamental right which could not be taken away by any law or legislation. Every individual has the right to decide ‘what’ and ‘how’ to wear. Everyone could dress up according to their own culture and beliefs, and wear what they find comfortable.