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Muslims Say Some Stavropol Schools Ban Hijab

A dispute over what children can wear to public schools has erupted in the Stavropol region after schoolgirls with hijabs were prevented from attending classes.

Local Muslim clerics said several schools in the region, which has a sizable Muslim population, have barred Muslim girls from attending classes with a headscarf, while the girls' parents have refused to let their children go to school with uncovered heads, Interfax reported Monday.

The situation has deteriorated into a stalemate because neither side is willing to give any concessions. This in turn has led to a fear among parents that their children will fall behind because their families do not possess the means for home-schooling.

The region's top Muslim cleric, Haji Muhammad Rakhimov, said he had received a petition from parents that said five girls from the region's Neftekumsk district have been barred from school since Oct. 3. He said the complaint was the sixth he has received regarding religious clothing in public schools.

A similar situation was reported Monday by Izvestia, which said hijab-wearing schoolchildren from the village of Kara-Tyube, also in Stavropol, were prevented from attending classes.

Local education officials and regional prosecutors have yet to comment of the situation.

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