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Headscarf debate highlights Russian Muslims' grievances
by Thomas Grove
A ban on girls wearing the Islamic headscarf to a school in southern Russia has angered Muslims and forced President Vladimir Putin, who has robustly defended the Orthodox Church, to affirm that Russia is a secular state.
Muslims in the town of Kara Tyube in the Stavropol region say the ban on the hijab at School No. 12 forces their children to choose between their religion and a state education.
"The principal phoned me personally and told me to come and take my children home because from now on they will not be allowed to attend lessons in Islamic dress," said Ravil Kaibaliyev, whose daughter Marian was barred from her middle school because of the white headscarf she wore every day.
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