Actually, that has been the case for quite some time, as documented by Human Rights Watch and others. It is another example of the pattern in which wherever Sharia experiences a resurgence, tolerance decreases and harassment increases. “Chechnya’s Islamic revival is becoming less voluntary,” from USA Today, March 21 (thanks to Kenneth):
SERZHEN-YURT, Chechnya — Seda Makhagieva, 15, had to fight to wear the hijab, a scarf that some Muslims say must be worn by women and older girls. […]
Half of the girls in Seda’s ninth-grade class in the Chechen village of Serzhen-Yurt near the Chechen capital, Grozny, now wear the hijab, a sharp break from local tradition. In past generations, married women in Chechnya covered their hair with a small, triangle-shaped scarf as a sign of respect and modesty.
But these girls are part of a new trend in the republic that has seen two wars in the past few decades and a rise in adherence to the kinds of codes promoted by fundamentalist Muslims. Some Muslims are fighting against it. […]
Many Chechens welcome the Islamic revival after nearly two decades of vicious war against Russian troops in which an estimated 200,000 Chechens were killed. For the younger Chechens, Islam is becoming the cornerstone of identity, replacing horrors they saw as refugees living in tents and abandoned supermarkets in neighboring republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia.
“This generation lost its childhood to war,” said Imam Yasrayel Ayubov of Serzhen-Yurt, which has nine mosques for its 5,000 residents. “Their education was interrupted, and they grew up overnight. Yet when it comes to Islam, young people are far more educated and observant than the previous generation.”
Since his appointment by the Kremlin in 2007, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, 35, has aggressively sought to present Chechnya as Russia’s new up-and-coming Muslim region. His government has embarked on an aggressive campaign to promote Islam and to strengthen Chechen traditions.
Throughout the republic, dozens of mosques and Islamic institutions are sprouting, while local TV stations are increasing the volume of programming devoted to Chechnya’s Islamic identity.
“Chechnya is now actively positioning itself not only as a relatively autonomous part of Russia but also as a Muslim center,” said Russian analyst Nikolai Petrov of Carnegie Moscow Center.
Despite the separation of church and state under Russian law, Chechen schools must now promote Islam. There are prayer rooms in just about every school and a strict dress code, forcing all schoolgirls to cover their heads in school. Many are unhappy over the decree.
Well, it certainly seems safe to say church and state are separate.
“I don’t understand the point of it. Nothing changes if you just cover your head at school,” said Khadizhad Barshigova, 14, who likes to listen to pop music and watch American comedies.
The process of Islamization was voluntary in the beginning. Women who wore a headscarf were rewarded with a prize. Now all women and girls, regardless of their religion, must observe Islamic dress code by wearing a head covering, long sleeves, and skirts below the knee in public schools and government buildings. Those who refuse become targets.
Human Rights Watch released a report last year documenting a spate of attacks on women without head coverings. The females reported being harassed, some physically harmed for not observing the Islamic dress code.
Alcohol is now all but banned, and authorities encourage taking multiple wives. Gender-segregated hair salons and gyms are becoming the norm. Many Muslims here object to what they call an improper interpretation of Islamic law.
“Not everyone reacted well,” said teacher Malika Taramova, 20. “There are now rumors that all teachers will have to wear a hijab. My parents told me they’d make me quit work if that happened.”
Inside the gym at Seda’s high school, a group of boys dribble a basketball as four girls dressed in long flowing skirts with their heads wrapped in scarves stare at them blankly from the sidelines.
“Girls, don’t just stand there,” shouts Vakha Dzhamarzaev, the school’s gym coach. “Go, go.”
Seda and three other girls giggle as they ditch another gym class for an hour of gossip.
“It’s getting harder to teach them,” Dzhamarzaev said. “The girls won’t wear their gym uniforms because they feel uncomfortable around the boys. This was never the case before.”…
They will invoke Sharia to disobey other rules. That is not a good precedent.