Saturday, 24 February 2024
"In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Gracious!" بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
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Articles > Muslim civil rights > Where are the limits of the freedom of conscience?

Today, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation left standing the decision of the supreme judicial authority of the Republic of Mordovia that barred Muslim schoolgirls fr om attending public schools.

This topic has attracted the attention of the media in the last few weeks and showed that the right of Muslim girls to wear traditional head-dress in school is supported by members of the public and community and religious leaders, including the leader of Russian Pentecostal Christians Sergei Ryakhovsky, general secretary of the Conference of Catholics bishops of Russia Igor Kovalevsky and others.

The position of Russia Muftis Council and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims was made known to the country's leadership in the open letter of mufti sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin to the President of the Russian Federation.

Today, already after the announcement of the ruling of the Supreme Court, first deputy chairman of Russia Muftis Council Rushan Abbyasov confirmed in his interview to newspaper "Kommersant" that Muslim organizations are planning to continue legal support and protection of believers, stressing that Russia Muftis Council supports the claimants' will to assert their legal and spiritual right to wear headscarf in school. "We consider the ruling of the Supreme Court unconstitutional, and that is why we plan to appeal not only to the Praesidium of the Supreme Court but to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation as well. Let them present their interpretation of the Constitution, define where freedom of conscience and religion are applied and where are their limits. Neither the Constitution nor the education act contain the ban of of headscarves in public schools. Why do the regional authorities act contrary to the Constitution then? We want to understand, are we a secular democracy or an atheist state? Today they won't let us wear headscarves, tomorrow they might ban your baptismal cross."

The whole headscarf issue is overly politicized and that is why the ruling of the court is political, not legal—that is the official position of Russia Muftis Council.

The Wednesday's ruling of the Supreme Court will only add to the controversy, says head of Synodal department for Church-society relations of the Russian Orthodox Church archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin. The counsel of one of the claimants, co-Chairman of the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice, professor Anatoly Pchelintsev stated the intention of the claimants to appeal the ruling to the Praesidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. Expressing his own view, the famous lawyer and jurist said that he holds today's court decision unconstitutional.

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