The management of educational affairs in the town of Zhanaozen, in western Kazakhstan, plans to sue the parents of 60 pupils. Girls are unable to attend classes because they wear Islamic dress in violation of the school rules, RFE/RL’s Kazakhstan service, Radio Azattyk, has reported.
The children’s parents maintain that as of September 1, schools in Zhanaozen have not been allowing their children to go to classes because they wear headscarves. They have called the school policy a violation of their religious freedoms.
The head of the educational department in Zhanaozen, Tattimbet Zhumagaliyev, said that schools are simply executing orders from the Education Ministry about uniforms. Zhumagaliyev said it is not just girls in hijabs that have been reprimanded, but also students in mini-skirts and with painted fingernails.
But parents say that their children are complying by wearing school uniforms, but just that they are also adding another element in line with their faith.
The issue will now be decided in the courts.
Similar occurrences have taken place in other educational establishments since rules were adopted in October last year to ban the wearing of religious attributes as a way of combating Islamic extremism.
Elsewhere, in the city of Aktobe, a local resident, Guljanat Berdibayeva, whose daughter was not allowed in school in her Islamic clothing, has filed a complaint with the General Prosecutor’s Office and the presidential administration. Berdibayeva said her aim is to seek the repeal of dictates that she feels discriminate against the children of devout Muslims.
Prosecutors in Aktobe have said they are looking into the matter to see if her complaints have any grounds.