Poll: Half of Russians say Muslims can wear hijab at schools

Sociologists say Russians become more tolerant in recent years

Half of Russians think there should not be any ban on wearing hijabs at schools, a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) showed on Jan. 31.

"One in two respondents (50 percent) back lifting the ban on wearing hijabs so that children from Muslim families could study calmly," the pollster said.

Some 37 percent of Russians strongly oppose the proposal, saying it is impossible to lift the ban on hijabs. The figure among followers of Islam who said so stands at 36 percent, the survey showed.

Sociologists say Russians have become more tolerant to the manifestations of religious affiliation at schools. "Some 47 percent of citizens already say that there is nothing wrong with it (compared with 35 percent in 2012)." The figure is higher among young people (73 percent of respondents aged between 18 and 24 years share this view).

However, some 47 percent of respondents above 45 years of age believe that it is inadmissible for students and teachers to wear a Muslim headscarf.

Elena Mikhailova, Director on Special Programs at the nation’s leading polling agency, said over the past years social and psychological tolerance towards other religions has increased. "The important symbolic elements (such as hijabs) for those who exercise other religions have become more understandable and familiar."

"Young people pay less attention to appearance showing affiliation to any religion what is a recipe for the comfortable and harmonious development of interreligious relations in the country," she said.

The poll was conducted on January 28-29 based on phone interviews with 1,200 respondents. The statistical error does not exceed 3.5 percent.

In summer 2013, Russia’s Supreme Court refused to reverse a judgment of the Stavropol district court, in southern Russia, that banned girls from wearing hijabs at schools. In 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the ban on hijabs at schools of Mordovia, in the center of European part of Russia in the Volga basin.

Source: Tass

Read more: North Caucasus city bans headscarves in schools

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