Wearing Arabic hijabs and sending our women back to the Middle Ages is not our path: President Nazarbayev

Monday, 19.11.2012, 14:34
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Wearing Arabic hijabs and sending our women back to the Middle Ages is not our path: President Nazarbayev
©AFP
Wearing hijabs is not in line with Kazakh traditions, Newskaz.ru reports, citing President Nazarbayev as saying at a congress of the Nur Otan political party’s youth wing November 16.

“We shouldn’t let Kazakhstan’s people move backwards. We [,the Kazakhs,] are Sunni Muslims and we have a path of our own. Wearing Arabic hijabs and sending our women back to the Middle Ages is not our path. (…) Elderly ladies have their own well-established preferences in terms of clothes and head covers. Let them decide for themselves what to wear. However, young people wouldn’t turn to wearing hijabs out of their own choice if they weren’t instructed to (…)”, President believes.

Tengrinews.kz earlier reported that Lama Sharif Kairat Kayirbekuly, Chairman of the Kazakhstan’s Agency for Religion, does not consider hijab a major attribute of being a Muslim.

“Wearing a hijab is not an indicator of whether a person is Muslim or not (…) It is more of an attribute of the Arabic culture, bedouin culture. Allowing Kazakh women to wear a hijab, to some extent we are losing our national identity”, he said June 8, 2011.

“Concerning our country's girls, women: Kazakhs have beautiful national clothes, but it is not hijab. We should not wear Afghanistan's national clothes. Our people, our women have to dress according to traditions of our ethnicity,” Kazakhstan’s Supreme Mufti Absattar Derbissali was widely cited as saying at the first forum of religious experts of Kazakhstan in Astana in November 2011.

In March 2011 President Nazarbayev already commented on wearing hijabs and burqas. "I've always been against hijabs and burqas. Kazakh women have never worn them or kept their faces hidden (…) We respect Islam and its followers, but we have a path of our own”, he said at the time.
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