The Kazakhstan government has decided to ban the hijab headscarf for students and teachers in schools. They argue that this is necessary to maintain a secular state. However, this decision has caused strong reactions within the country.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev defended the ban while emphasizing that Kazakhstan is and will remain a secular state.
He stated that schools are places for gaining knowledge while religious beliefs are personal matters.
He believes children should decide on their religious beliefs when they grow up.
The government argues that this rule is important to maintain a secular state.
According to official statistics, nearly 70% of the population in Kazakhstan practices Islam. Supporters of the ban say that Kazakhstan should not favour any particular religion since it is a secular country.
On the other hand, many people oppose this ban, claiming it infringes on freedom of conscience. Some have even taken extreme measures to protest.
For instance, in one region, around 150 girls have dropped out of school since September in response to the ban.