The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Putin rejects scarf appeal by Muslims

Kazan (Russia), Aug. 30 (AFP): Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected an appeal today from Muslim women of the Central Republic of Tatarstan to let them wear the traditional Islamic headscarf on identity photographs.

Putin told a World Tatar Conference gathered here that he agreed with a local court decision that barred women from wearing headscarves for their passport photos.

“We have to follow a single national and social standard,” Putin told the forum in this Volga River city. “For instance, if a woman takes a photograph with her headscarf on and then she goes travelling abroad and takes it off — then they won’t let her in. Immediately, there is a problem,” Putin remarked.

At the same time Putin pledged to defend religious tolerance in Russia. “Good relations between our various nationalities have existed for centuries, and this wealth must be preserved,” he said. The Muslim Women of Tatarstan have been up in arms since April 2 when a local court ruled that the headscarf could not be worn on photographs in official documents.

The issue arose after three women from the Tatar village took legal action to oppose the local interior ministry’s refusal to accept photographs on identity documents.

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