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Tajikistan Government Bans Hijab and Other ‘Alien Garments’

On June 19, the upper house of the Tajikistan parliament, Majlisi Milli, passed a law prohibiting “alien garments,” which primarily targets the hijab and other traditional Islamic clothing. The lower chamber, Majlisi Namoyandagon, had passed the bill on May 8. This move has sparked debate among Tajikistan’s predominantly Muslim population in the tightly governed ex-Soviet republic.

Key Provisions and Fines

The law includes significant fines for violations:

  • Individuals: Up to 7,920 somonis.
  • Companies: Up to 39,500 somonis.
  • Government Officials: Up to 54,000 somonis.
  • Religious Leaders: Up to 57,600 somonis.

Historical Context and Enforcement

Tajikistan has been unofficially restricting the hijab since 2007. Initially, the Ministry of Education banned Islamic attire and Western-style miniskirts for students, later extending this to all public institutions. Enforcement included special teams and police raids, although officials have denied reports of women being fined for wearing the hijab.

Government’s Position

President Emomali Rahmon has condemned what he terms “xenophobia in clothing,” referring to the wearing of foreign clothes and the hijab. The government has promoted traditional Tajik clothing through campaigns, including a 2018 guidebook detailing appropriate attire.

Impact on Cultural Practices

The new law also bans children’s festivities during Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, with the stated aim of ensuring proper education and safety. This reflects broader legislative changes concerning holidays, cultural practices, and the role of teachers and parents in children’s upbringing.

Tajikistan : Key Points

Location: Central Asia, neighboring Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Capital: Dushanbe

Official Language: Tajik (a dialect of Persian)

Population: Approximately 9.5 million (as of 2021)

Religion: Predominantly Muslim (Sunni Islam)

Government: Republic

President: Emomali Rahmon (in office since 1994)

Prime Minister: Kokhir Rasulzoda


Area: 143,100 square kilometers

Terrain: Mostly mountainous, with the Pamir Mountains in the southeast and the Fergana Valley in the north.

Climate: Continental, with hot summers and cold winters.


Currency: Tajikistani Somoni (TJS)

Major Industries: Aluminum, hydroelectric power, agriculture (cotton, fruits, vegetables), mining (gold, silver, uranium)

GDP: Approximately $8 billion (as of 2020)

Major Trade Partners: Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China

History and Culture

Independence: Gained from the Soviet Union on September 9, 1991.

Cultural Heritage: Influenced by Persian culture and the historical Silk Road.

Traditional Attire: Known for vibrant, colorful patterns, especially in traditional Tajik clothing.

Politics and Society

Political Structure: Presidential republic with a strong executive branch.

Human Rights Issues: Reports of limited political freedoms, media restrictions, and human rights abuses.

Recent Legislation: New law banning hijabs and ‘alien garments’ as part of cultural and security measures.

International Relations

Membership: United Nations, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Commonwealth of Independent States, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Border Issues: Ongoing border disputes and tensions with Kyrgyzstan.


Transport: Developing road and rail networks; Dushanbe International Airport is the main gateway.

Energy: Significant potential for hydroelectric power; Nurek Dam is one of the world’s tallest dams.

Education: Compulsory education up to secondary level; notable institutions include Tajik National University.

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