Excerpt:

A teacher tells a few Muslim schoolgirls to take off their hijabs, the traditional veils Muslim women wear to cover their hair and neck. The girls' parents call on local prosecutors to protect what they claim is a constitutional right to bring up their children in an Islamic religious tradition. The federal children's rights ombudsman chimes in, calling for compromise. The president follows suit, saying that believers' sentiments should be respected but at the same time the state must remain secular...

Was this in Paris? Lyon? No, it was in Russia. These events occurred in Stavropol Territory, a multiethnic region neighboring the restive North Caucasus. The school in question, located in the village of Kara-Tyub, has about 400 pupils, of whom more than 300 represent the predominantly Muslim Dagestani and Nogai peoples.

A temporary compromise was reached – for the girls to wear head scarfs instead of hijabs – but not all of them complied.


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