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It's a small step, but Insha Allah, a good one for Muslim women in Azerbaijan.
A high court in the southwestern Asian country has ruled Muslim women can wear head scarves when photographed for official documents and passports.

This is the first time in the country of over 7 million that a court has supported the rights of individuals over those of the state. Over 93 percent of Azerbaijanis are Muslim, mostly Shia. Small Russian Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox minorities are also present in the country.

A group of ten Muslim women brought the head scarf case against a government agency to court.

The Department for Visas and Registration would not accept the women's passport photos in which they wore head scarves.

In response, the Muslim women initiated the court case against the agency, using the slogan “Our head scarf is our honor”. A petition that was circulated garnered the signatures of two thousand women supporters.

Lawyers said this law violated not only Muslim women's rights, but possibly those of Christian nuns as well.

The high court agreed a law that stops Azerbaijanis from being
photographed in hats for passports and other official documents does not
apply to head scarves donned for religious purposes.

While many Azerbaijanis living in cities lost touch with Islam during the country's rule by the former Soviet Union over a period of 70 years, Islam is now returning there.

Some attribute this to the arrival of activists from Iran and Arab countries.

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DR ZULIFQAR HUSSAIN, BAKU - wrote on 10/8/2003 11:11:05 AM
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Comment: Salam, I haveread your struggle in the Newspapers and also through internet. Pliz accept my heartly congratulation about the success of this sensative issue. i am a DOCTOR from PAKISTAN visiting your country. with thanks YOURS DR ZULIFQAR HUSSAIN PAKISTANI

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