Tajikistan has set up a commission to promote “appropriate” clothing to combat “alien” cultures, RFE/RL reported on July 21.
The move is aimed at discouraging Tajik citizens from following Islamic practices and wearing Islamic clothing. The country’s struggling economy and the stifling tenure of longtime strongman President Emomali Rahmon plays into the hands of radical Islamic groups by making parts of traditionally Islamic Tajik society vulnerable to the propaganda of radical Islamic groups like ISIS. The authorities have retaliated against such groups by cracking down on local Islamic customs.
The commission will help design government-approved clothing that takes into consideration “Tajik traditions” and “modern” life, Culture Minister Shamsuddin Omurbekzoda said on the same day.
The culture minister said that the Islamic hijab is not suitable in Tajikistan’s “hot climate” for hygiene reasons, and that wearing it in public could cause “fear and doubt". “Some people standing next to them might wonder, 'What if she is hiding something under her hijab,'” Omurbekzoda said.
Tajikistan has already banned the hijab in government offices and schools. The authorities have also rounded up men with bushy beards and forced them to shave.
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