Moscow: President Vladimir Putin has spoken out against the wearing of headscarves in Russian schools in his first public comment on a potentially explosive issue.
Putin`s statement today follows a recent incident in southern Russia where a school principal forbade girls from Muslim families from wearing headscarves at school. Their parents protested the move and the principal said she was threatened.
Asked to comment on the issue, Putin signaled his opposition to headscarves at schools, saying that Russia is a secular state and must create equal conditions for all its citizens.
An estimated 20 million of Russia`s 143 million people are Muslims, and they make up the majority of the population in many regions, including the oil-rich province of Tatarstan, as well as Chechnya and other North Caucasus provinces.