It’s not because some young women look hot in them. That is not what has prompted Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev to urge women in his country to don this decidedly western style of apparel. His reason, rather, is practical: It makes them less likely to become terrorists.
Around 80% of people in Kyrgyzstan — a Central Asian republic of around 6 million — are Muslim. And a recent debate has formed on how women dress. Atambayev and his government launched a campaign during the spring to dissuade women from wearing Muslim outfits — such as the hijab, niqab and burqa — when German Chancellor Angela Merkel came on a state visit in mid-July.
Banners put up across the country showed traditional Kyrgyz women next Muslim women, with the caption: “Where are we heading to?” The banners offended many Muslims, but Atambayev defended the campaign during a press conference earlier in August:
When we erected banners some smart people appeared and started pointing at miniskirts. Our women have been wearing miniskirts since 1950s, and they never thought about wearing an explosive belt.
The country’s president argues that the way one dresses has a direct impact on the way he thinks.
Atambayev further told sympathizers of terrorist organizations to leave the country, and he even offered to pay for their traveling expenses.
“If you do not like Kyrgyzstan you can leave our country and go wherever you want,” he said. “We can pay your travel expenses, even to Syria.”
This report, by Jacob Bojesson, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.