Wearing a beard could be subject to tax in Kazakhstan

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Kazakhstan is serious about fighting religious radicalism - the government has decided to tighten the law overseeing religious practices in the country including wearing a beard, wearing hijab or covering of the face.

The reason behind the move is simple - to prevent the the rise of religious radicalism in the country in this critical period of history when thousands of Islamists start returning home from Syria.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev believes that the issue must be dealt with before it gets out of hand.

The draft law is now submitted to the parliament for study. The proposal would regulate what facial hair could be worn by men including the length and other characteristics of the beard. The draft law would also regulate outfits for women.

The minister for religious affairs has reassured everyone that not all beards would be banned - only those that symbolize destructive religious currents. For example, if someone is an atheist, he can wear a beard without repercussions.

Likewise, in certain occasions, such as during sporting events, or under harsh weather conditions, covering of the face will be allowed.

The new dress code will affect foreigners as well; those who enjoy diplomatic status however, could be exempted from the law.

The head of Kazakhstan met with the country's religious leaders before the draft resolution was introduced in parliament; religious authorities suggested that wearing a beard should be subjected to tax; if the law will be passed by the parliament, individuals wearing a beard can pay up to $ 1,500 per year, depending on the length and density of their facial hair.

The religious council had previously supported the preservation of the secular nature of the education system strictly forbidding students from wearing hijab in schools. Religious regulations clearly state that minors are not required by Islamic law to wear a shawl.

But the draft resolution allows the wear of hijab in religious private schools.

The draft law includes other restrictions as well. For example, it forbids minors under the age of 16 to attend religious events - they can attend those events only if accompanied by a parent.

The draft law also clearly states that only government can issue marriage and divorce certificates. This regulation would prevent a man to marry someone or break up the marriage according to his liking.

( - edited by


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