In a bid to boost Muslim attendance, Uzbekistan permits schoolgirls to wear headscarves

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In a bid to assure devout Muslim families send their daughters to school, Uzbekistan has allowed girls to wear headscarves in institutions.

Islam is the dominant religion in the Central Asian country, but the authoritarian government is staunchly secular. It has retained tight control over the faith in the three decades of independence from the Soviet Union.

Last week, the Education Minister of Uzbekistan, Sherzod Shermatov, said the government “intends to allow public headscarves in white or light colors” in schools after “the requests of many parents.”

Shermatov added, the initiative was taken to ensure every child received a secular education.

Samples of the permitted headscarves presented by the Education Minister suggested that girls of school age would not cover their chin, as is the case with the hijab.

He did not specify what age category the measures would affect.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has eased some controls on state-sanctioned religion since coming to power in 2016 after the death of long-ruling dictator Islam Karimov.

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