Minister comments on Muslim clothing in Kazakhstan

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ASTANA (TCA) — Minister of Religious Affairs and Civil Society Nurlan Yermekbayev at a press conference on August 28 commented on the situation with the ban on wearing clothes of “destructive ideological” movements in Kazakhstan, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

According to Yermekbayev, the draft law “On Amendments and Additions to Some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Religious Activity and Religious Associations” contains a regulation prohibiting the use of clothing that covers a person or prevents the recognition of a person in public places. This is done in the interests of public security first of all, the Minister said.

“Here we are not talking about the ban on wearing Muslim clothes. We are talking about the prohibition of demonstration of the attributes of destructive and alien ideological and religious trends in public places. This is not connected with any traditional religion,” Yermekbayev explained.

The Minister said that niqabs and hijabs fall under the category of garments that prevent the recognition of a person. However, this category does not include medical masks and construction garments.

“In principle, any citizen of Kazakhstan has the right to wear any clothing, including religious clothing, but under two conditions. First, it should not cover appearance, the second — it should not publicly propagate destructive religious or ideological trends,” the Minister said.

He also said that this year, about 300 people in Kazakhstan who had previously been on radical positions have shifted to the traditional religion.

Sergey Kwan

TCA