Wearing the hijab, or head scarf traditionally worn by Muslim women, and other religious symbols "is unacceptable in secular schools and violates the constitution and a new law on education," Education Minister Abdudjabor Rakhmonov
said on Friday.

He expressed concern that pupils spent too much time in mosques at the expense of their education.

"Many spend evenings in mosques and do not do their homework," Rakhmonov said, adding that during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan many did not attend classes after Friday prayers.

Tajikistan is constitutionally a secular country, but more than 90% of its population is Muslim.