President Vladimir Putin has made his first public comment against the wearing of headscarves in Russian schools. The comment follows a recent incident in the south of Russia where a school principal forbade Muslim girls from wearing headscarves to school. Parents of Muslim students protested against the decision and the principal reported being threatened. Putin said that as Russia is a secular state it must create equal conditions for its citizens when asked to comment on the situation. The statement will not have gone down well Russia's Muslim community. An estimated 20 million of Russia's 143 million people are Muslims, and they make up the majority of the population in many regions including in the volatile North Caucasus. If the headscarf debate continues it could fuel tensions between the federal government and Muslim-dominated provinces.