09/30/2009, 00.00
TAJIKISTAN
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Tajik authorities ban teachers from wearing beards and students, miniskirts

Education Ministry issues new rules. Only teachers over 50 can wear a “tidy beard of no more than three centimetres”. Students are also banned from wearing jeans, t-shirt and miniskirts, which are symbols of the West. New regulations are “in line with the mentality and the customs of our people.”
Dushanbe (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tajikistan has banned school and university teachers under the age of 50 from wearing beards and limited the beard length to "no more than three centimetres” for older staff.

These "novelties are introduced as part of an ongoing school and higher education reform and are in line with the mentality and the customs of our people," Education Ministry spokesman Abdulkhamid Nozimov said.

The new rules also ban teachers from wearing Western-style clothes such as jeans, miniskirts and T-shirts.

Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon had earlier banned mobile phones from schools and universities and said students should not arrive to school in their own cars.

About 80 per cent of Tajikistan’s seven million people are Sunni Muslims. Shia represent about 5 per cent.

Men in the mostly Muslim ex-Soviet republic often wear beards as an attribute of faith. however, long beards are often greeted with suspicion by the government, which sees them more as a symbol of Islamic extremism than ordinary religious piety.

The former Soviet Republic fought a bloody civil war against Islamist forces in the 1990s that left tens of thousands of people dead, a million displaced and an economy in ruins.

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