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Muftiate in Russia's Dagestan introduces temporary ban on niqabs following terrorist attack

by Nate Ostiller July 3, 2024 1:19 PM 2 min read
Three women wearing the niqab in Aden, Yemen, in an undated picture from 2004. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Scott Wallace/Getty Images)
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The Muftiate of Dagestan announced on July 3 that it would introduce a temporary ban on the wearing of niqabs following a terrorist attack in the Russian republic in June that killed 22 people.

The ban will be instituted until "the identified threats are eliminated and a new theological conclusion is issued," said a spokesperson for the Muftiate, a religious organization that represents Dagestani Muslisms.

The announcement follows a statement after the attack by Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia's Investigative Committee, who said it was the work of "Islamist terrorists" and urged Russia to ban the niqab, which covers the wearer's entire face, excluding the eyes.

Many Muslim-majority countries in Central Asia have various kinds of bans on the wearing of hijabs or niqabs, and Bastrykin urged Russia to follow suit.

Bastrykin's suggestion prompted a reaction from Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, who said that the official should be "extremely careful" in blaming the attack on Islam.

Muslims "have not committed and do not commit" terrorist attacks, Kadyrov said, urging Bastrykin not to compare Islam with terrorism in the future.

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WTF is wrong with Russia?

Dagestan is a multi-ethnic, majority-Muslim republic located in Russia's North Caucasus region. It is also home to an ancient Jewish community whose numbers have dwindled in recent decades. Neighboring Chechnya is also around 95% Muslim, according to statistics.

As part of the spillover from the wars in Chechnya, Dagestan saw repeated acts of terrorism in the early 2000s. A violent but low-intensity insurgency against the government also went on for several years in the area.

Following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in October 2023, a massive antisemitic riot occurred in Makhachkala in late October.

A group of over 1,000 people came to Makhachkala Airport as a flight from Tel Aviv was set to land, reportedly looking for Jews.

Update: At least 15 police officers, 4 civilians reportedly killed in terrorist attack in Russia’s Dagestan Republic
A counterterrorism regime was instituted after militants allegedly fired on an Orthodox church and a police post in Russia’s Dagestan Republic, according to local authorities.

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