KRASNOYARSK, April 3 (RIA Novosti) – Prosecutors in Russia’s Siberian region said Wednesday that a local university’s expulsion of a female student for wearing a hijab was unlawful.
Last month, media reported that an unidentified third-year Muslim student at Krasnoyarsk State Medical University had been expelled for wearing a headscarf on the school’s premises in contradiction of its internal regulations.
Senior regional prosecutor’s aide Yelena Pimonenko told RIA Novosti that it was contrary to the Russian law on education to ban students from wearing items of clothing that reflect their faith. The university’s administration has ten days to appeal the ruling.
According to Pimonenko, university officials say that the student refused to wear a medical cap, but this was not listed as the official reason for her expulsion. If proved in the appeal, it could serve as a lawful pretext for the school’s decision; otherwise it will have to reinstate the student.
The young woman came to Krasnoyarsk from Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, a predominantly Islam region. At the end of March, the leader of Krasnoyarsk’s Dagestani diaspora reached an agreement with the university that the expelled student would be reinstated in September, but that she would have to restart the third year of studies and that she would not wear a hijab to school.
The university has declined to comment on the issue.
The debate over hijabs in Russian schools ignited last October in the southern region of Stavropol. The region’s authorities went on to impose a blanket ban on headscarves at local educational facilities after a high school there barred several Muslim pupils from attending classes wearing them.