The women argued that the ban on headscarves violates their constitutional right to freedom of conscience, and they asked the Supreme Court to overturn rulings by a municipal court in Kazan and the Supreme Court of Tatarstan that upheld the Interior Ministry’s ban. Union of Tatar Muslim Women Chairwoman Almira Adiatulina said the Koran forbids Muslim women from appearing in front of strange men with their heads bared.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that the Russian Federation “is a secular state that cannot give preference to any religious norm over other confessions.” “The Koran is not a source of law” in Russia, said a Justice Ministry spokeswoman. Adiatulina said her organization will take its appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Copyright (c) 2003. RFE/RL, Inc.
First published in Russian Foreign Policy and Security Watch, Vol. 4, No. 10, 11 March 2003. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.