Muslim women in Belarus would not be allowed to don hijab in their drive licenses, national IDs and passports after the government installed a new decision banning the Muslim headscarf in official papers.
The decision has been announced by the Religious and National Interfaith Commissioner Council during their annual general meeting.
According to Dmitry Levchenko, the President of the Domestic Residency Department, no photographs of scarves or hats will be accepted on identification cards or passports.
He added that a 2008-decision allowing hijab in identification cards photos will no longer be accepted on passports.
Taking part in the meeting, the Mufti of Belarus Ali Varanovich, stated that Muslim women must wear their headscarf and that this was something that all sects within the Islamic community agreed upon.
He warned that such ban will be creating distrust between the Muslim community and the government.
Islam in Belarus has long history. It was introduced into the lands which now constitute Belarus by Lipka Tatars in the 14th -16th centuries.
Today, there are 45,000 Muslims in Belarus representing 0.5% of the total population.
In January 2013, the Russian Federal Migration Service issued a decision allowing expatriate Muslim women working in Russia to wear headscarf without covering their faces in their identification papers.
The wearing of hijab triggered a controversy in Russia last October after five Muslim students were banned from attending classes in their school in the village of Kara-Tyube in the southern Stavropol region.
Though they were initially allowed to attend their school in September while donning hijab, they were told later that they would not be allowed in unless they took off their headscarf.
At the time, Putin backed banning the Muslim headscarf in schools.
While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face veil.
Scholars believe it is up to women to decide whether to take on the niqab or burqa, a loose outfit covering the whole body from head to toe and wore by some Muslim women.
source : www.iqna.ir