Friday, September 23, 2011

Russian Supreme Court Bans Islamic Holidays

Russia’s Supreme Court found illegal a regional statute making major Islamic holidays non-working days. In 1992 the Republic of Bashkortostan, a Russian constituency populated mostly by Muslims, adopted a law making Islamic holidays Uraza Bayram and Kurban Bayram (also known under their Arabic names Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha) non-working days. In 2011 a Bashkortostan resident petitioned the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan to hold the statute illegal because it “violates his right to work on discriminatory religious grounds.” The Bashkortostan Supreme Court disagreed, but Russia’s Supreme Court has now reversed, pointing out that “the Labor Code does not allow a federation constituency to regulate labor relations on the basis of historical, ethnic, or other traditions.” The Islamic clergy criticize the decision. The Bashkortostan parliament intends to appeal further and to demand that the State Duma (Russia’s parliament) to amend the legislation so as to allow regional holidays. Notably, Orthodox Christmas is a national holiday (non-working day) in Russia. (judgment)

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