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Kosovo parliament confirms ban on religion in schools

(AFP) / 29 August 2011

PRISTINA — Kosovo’s parliament on Monday confirmed a ban on teaching religion in schools when it voted against changes to the education law in the Muslim-majority nation.

A majority 64 members of the 120 strong parliament voted against a proposal to introduce religion into schools and another motion to lift a ban on wearing the Muslim headscarf (hijab) in the classroom.

Both proposals had been submitted by small religious parties.

Kosovo, where more then 90 percent of the 1.73 million population is Muslim, has a tradition of moderate Islam and has enshrined the secular nature of the state in its constitution.

Pristina declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognised by more then 80 countries including the United States and a majority of European Union member states.

Some Islamic clerics are stepping up a campaign for religion to be taught in schools, amid fears this could deepen divisions in the troubled region.

There have been several protests this year with hundreds of Muslims chanting anti-government slogans against the banning of the headscarf in school. There have been also widely published cases of girls barred from class for refusing to take off their headscarves.


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