The Interior Ministry has begun verifying information about detention of Niloufar Rajabova for wearing hijab.  SDPT leader Rahmatillo Zoyirov has stood for the young woman. 

According to Niloufar Rajabova, she was detained by officers from police station No 2 in Dushanbe’s Sino district for wearing hijab.  The young woman says police officers insulted and humiliated her.  

The Interior Ministry spokesman Umarjon Emomali told Asia-Plus by phone that they are currently verifying the information about what happened to Niloufar Rajabova.  

“We saw information about this.  The ministry leadership has appointed a check on this issue.  After verification of the information we will inform you about the verification results,” Emomali said.  

The verification was launched after Niloufar’s appeal to mass media.  She said police officers had held her for several hours, insulting and humiliating for wearing Islamic clothing.   

The young woman told Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service that besides her, 15-20 other women had been in the police station.  

Meanwhile, the leader of the Social-Democratic Party of Tajikistan (SDPT) leader, Rahmatillo Zoyirov, has applied to the Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda and the chief of police station No 2 in Dushanbe’s Sino district on this subject, noting that police officers detained the young women without any reason and held for five hours, humiliating and insulting for wearing Islamic clothing.

“Then it turns out that she is sister of Shuhrat Rahmatullo (Tajik journalist living in Europe – Asia-Plus), and that is up to the Interior Ministry officers, they began insulting and humiliating her,” Zoyirov writes on his Facebook page.    

“If they have complaints against her brother, then let them bring them to him.  The young woman is not responsible for him,” SDPT leader says, noting that “choice of clothing is the right of a particular person deriving from the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Tajikistan and international legal norms.”  

Recall, President Emomali Rahmon has been attacking women wearing the hijab as well as men wearing beards from at least March 2015.

On 11 July, 2017, at a meeting marking the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Law on Regulation of Traditions, Ceremonies and Rituals with representatives of state and public organizations, President Rahmon spoke against hijabs and other religious apparel not traditional in Tajikistan, as well as against long beards.  Rahmon warned that extremist religious movements in Tajikistan “emerged because of bowing before and imitation of foreign language and culture.”

In early July of 2017, working groups created by the Sughd department for women and family affairs raided all the districts, shopping centers, bazaars, sewing workshops, restaurants, healthcare institutions, schools, and kindergartens to reveal those wearing hijab and to give lectures against wearing it.  The working groups reportedly included police officials, state healthcare and education institutions and state religious affairs officials.