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Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school is the official religion of Tajikistan since 2009. Tajikistan is the only former Soviet state with Islam as its official religion. According to a 2009 U.S. State Department release, the population of Tajikistan is 98% Muslim, (approximately 95% Sunni and 3% Shia, with some Sufi orders.
Identification with Islam as an integral part of life is shared by urban and rural, old and young, and educated and uneducated Tajiks. The role that the faith plays in the lives of individuals varies considerably, however. For some Tajiks, Islam is more important as an intrinsic part of their cultural heritage than as a religion in the usual sense, and a few Tajiks are not religious.
In October 2005 The Tajik Education Ministry banned female students from wearing Islamic headscarves in secular schools. 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. 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.