Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he was against allowing students to wear Muslim head scarfs at schools, but welcomed the idea of returning to school uniforms.
Several Muslim families in the city of Stavropol in southern Russia have recently complained to the muftiat saying that their daughters were not allowed to attend school wearing head scarfs.
“We should always respect people’s religious feelings but we must proceed from the fact that we live in a secular state,” Putin said at a meeting with People’s Front activists.
“We need to see how our neighbors in European countries are dealing with this problem, then everything will become clear,” he said.
The Russian president insisted that attempts to stand out in multi-religious communities will sooner or later make representatives of other religions feel deprived of their freedoms and rights.
“It is better if everybody feels equal,” Putin stressed.
He also proposed that regional and municipal authorities should consider re-introducing a single school uniform at schools across Russia, as it used to be in the Soviet Union.
Putin pointed at the positive experience of some European countries which have a “good tradition” of introducing uniforms not only in schools but also in universities.