Monday, April 16, 2007

Morals of the Young

With his "-ov" newly shorn, Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon's government has begun tackling the most crucial issue facing Tajik society, women who wear headscarves and/or miniskirts to school:
"Mamlakat Safarova is a student at Tajik National University who wears a head scarf. She tells RFE/RL's Tajik Service that she was surprised to see Education Minister Rahmonov visiting her university in person to see whether students were complying with his order.

"'I didn't know that the minister was standing right behind me,' Sararova says, '[but] he tapped me on the back and said, "What kind of face and figure is that?" I felt insulted, of course. It was quite a blow.'

"Davlatmoh Safarova is a student at Dushanbe's primary languages university who says she's been prevented from even entering the building because of her head scarf. She claims the university is looking for any pretext to expel female students who choose to cover their heads."

This follows a Presidential decree banning students from using cell phones, driving their own cars, and having graduation parties. Except for the headscarf, this sounds like the sort of "public morals" campaign I've occasionally read about in the former Soviet Union, though the Minister of Education, who developed the sudden interest in women's clothing, may be using it as cover to go after people perceived as easily recruited by Islamist movements in the region.



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