Muslimahs Are Allowed to Keep Their Headscarves on While Taking ID Pictures Starting 20 November

15.11.2019

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Deputy Minister of Interior Ms.Tetiana Kovalchuk reassured Mufti of Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine “Umma” Said Ismagilov that a new Decree of the Ministry of Interior “On Requirements for Digitized Photos of Persons Faces Taken for Issuing or Renewal of Documents Identifying a Person or Confirming Their Special Status or Ukrainian Nationality” is to be carried into effect since 20 November. Thus, the Muslimahs can take their ID photos without having to compromise with their religious views as early as next week.

The state officials have been manipulating the issue for many years: while in some regions having you picture taken with your headscarf on wasn’t an issue, in other places people got refusal after refusal, which made impossible for them to live religious prescription for clothing.

Then the denials became almost universal, with State Migration Service referring to current legislation, in particular to the acts regulating issuing documents. The Ministry of Interior, on their part, referred to some internal regulation of what photoshoots were suitable for IDs, despite the fact that the mentioned document, on its part, referred to a repealed Ministry of Interior Decree and repealed 1994 State Standard for Capturing Black-and-White and Coloured Images for ID Purposes.

Answering numerous applications from Muslim women who could not get their IDs, RAMU “Umma”, Ukrainian Muslimahs League and soma other organisations initiated amendments to the acts or legislation regulating the matter of issuing IDs. It appeared that a new State Standard for Capturing Black-and-White and Coloured Images for ID Purposes had to be drafted and adopted, for which the State had no money. And while there was a simpler solution, namely adopting a Government Decree on implementing the ICAO standards, the State officials insisted on the necessity of drafting a new State Standard for Capturing Black-and-White and Coloured Images for ID Purposes. So RAMU “Umma” managed to raise the necessary funds to kickstart the process, and the work was at its close when the Government suddenly changed their mind and adopted a Decree on specific matters of issuing documents identifying persons or confirming their nationality or their special status.

The Decree No.683-2019 was brought into effect on 6 October 2019, and in it the Government refers to ICAO standards when it comes to the matters of taking photoshots for ID purposes. The act formally removed all the barriers for people wearing headdress due to religious or medical reasons. Yet still the State Migration Service refused to issue documents, illustrated with headscarf-clad photos. Like, the Decree still needed internal explanation documents, and they still needed to get an updated State Standard.

Despite the fact that the new State Standard for Capturing Black-and-White and Coloured Images for ID Purposes was successfully drafted and officially approved, the problem still remained. Twisted schemes of cross liability and complicated bureaucracy seemed to have brought the issue to the stand, once again. Still, the persistence of Ukrainian Muslimahs’ Activists and RAMU “Umma”s) consistent stand (namely Mufti Said Ismagilov personally monitoring the situation) finally took effect.

The Ministry of Interior developed an internal instruction for the State Migration Service, containing detailed specifications on acceptable photos taken for ID purposes. Based on that instruction, a person can have their picture taken with their headdress on if the latter is worn for religious or medical reasons.

After the document’s official publication, the officials will have no further legal reasons to deny issuing documents with headdress-clad photoshots.

Our heartfelt gratitude for Deputy minister Tetiana Kovalchuk, Head of Crimean Tatar Mejlis Refat Chubarov, Ms.Emine Dzhepparova, Mufti of RAMC Ayder Rustamov, and dignitaries of both Grek Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches, and everyone who in any way promoted the salvation of that important issue.