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Georgian Education Ministry: ‘unfortunate’ school hijab dispute seen as restriction of religious freedom

28 September 2017
School in Karajala (Tamta Mikeladze)

Georgia’s Ministry of Education has said it’s unfortunate a dispute over a teenager being prohibited from wearing a hijab to school has been interpreted as a restriction of religious freedom.

In a statement provided to OC Media, the ministry said the school’s rules applied to any kind of head covering, and were drafted through consultations with parents, teachers, and students.

‘The ministry calls on everyone to abstain from discussing this issue in a religious point of view and assist to peaceful resolution of the issue’, says the statement.

The ministry declined to comment further, saying the issue will be studied by specialists.

The 14-year-old girl from the village of Karajala, in eastern Georgia, has been told she must remove her hijab while at school. While the headteacher of the school insists the covering is prohibited under school rules, the teenager’s family says she is being deprived of the right to religious freedom.

The headteacher claims the teenager is being forced by her parents to obey religious rules that prevent her from receiving a quality education.

[Read more about the Karajala developments on OC Media: Girl ‘prohibited from wearing hijab’ in east Georgia school]

This is not the first controversy over the wearing of the hijab in Georgian schools. In December, 18-year-old Teona Beridze from the village of Mokhe, in southwest Georgia’s Adigeni Municipality, was asked by her school’s headteacher to remove her hijab at school. The ministry found that the headteacher’s actions did not violate any rules.

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