Home Russia Islamic Authorities In Russia’s Dagestan Ban Full-Face Veil After Attacks

Islamic Authorities In Russia’s Dagestan Ban Full-Face Veil After Attacks

An interior view of Derbent synagogue following an attack by gunmen and a fire, in Derbent in the region of Dagestan, Russia June 24, 2024, in this still image taken from video. Head of the Dagestan region Sergei Melikov via Telegram/Handout via REUTERS

Islamic authorities in Russia’s Muslim dominated North Caucasus region of Dagestan on
Wednesday temporarily banned women from wearing the niqab full-face veil.

This ban has been imposed after simultaneous attacks targeting churches and synagogues killed 22 recently. Reports following the attacks on June 23 said one of the gunmen had planned to escape wearing a niqab.

Temporary Ban

In a statement posted on the Telegram messenger app, the Dagestan Muftiate said it was introducing a “temporary” ban on the niqab after an appeal from Russia’s Ministry of Nationality Policy and Religious Affairs.

The muftiate, a religious organisation representing Muslims from Dagestan, said that the ban would continue “until the identified threats are eliminated and a new
theological conclusion is reached”.

Niqab: A Common Sight

The niqab, a style of veil that covers most of the face and body, originated on the Arabian Peninsula. It gained some popularity in Dagestan amid an Islamic revival in the region
that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Though only a small minority of Dagestani women wear full-face veils, niqabs have been a common sight in the region’s larger cities.

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Several European and post-Soviet countries imposed similar bans on such veils.

June Attacks

Simultaneous attacks on Orthodox churches, synagogues and police checkpoints across Dagestan killed twenty-two people on June 23. Security forces said they killed five attackers in gun battles that left a synagogue in the city of Derbent gutted by flames.

In the 2000s and 2010s, an Islamist insurgency plagued Dagestan. It spilled from neighbouring Chechnya, though security in the region had improved in recent years.

In October, an anti-Israeli mob stormed the airport in the Dagestani capital Makhachkala hunting for Israeli citizens and Jewish people arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv.

Five months later, an ISIS affiliate attacked a Moscow concert hall and killed 145 people.