Tuesday, January 29, 2008


BBC reoprts,"Turkish MPs plan headscarf reform

There is strong public support for lifting the ban, polls suggest
Two major parties in Turkey say they will submit a joint plan to parliament to ease a ban on the Islamic headscarf in universities.
The Islamist-rooted governing AK Party and the nationalist MHP say it is an issue of human rights and freedoms. The two parties have enough votes in parliament to overturn the constitutional ban on headscarves.
Headscarves were banned in schools and universities in 1980 after a coup by the pro-secular armed forces. This is a controversial matter in a mainly Muslim country whose secular elite - including the military - sees the scarf as a symbol of political Islam, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul says. The move has been criticised by judges and university officials. MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said the joint plan would be submitted to parliament later on Tuesday. Chadors, veils and burkas will not be allowed - no-one will be allowed to use headscarves as political statements against the state
The proposed changes state that only traditional scarves will be permitted in universities, tied loosely under the chin. Headscarves that cover the neck, like those worn by many Turkish girls, will still be banned, as will the all-covering burka, or chador. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that this reform will be restricted to universities. It will not apply to women civil servants, including teachers, who are still banned from covering their heads. "

I find it interesting that the Turks see headcovering as a political statement. My Muslim friend from Pakistan who does not cover her head, insists that strict Muslims must do so for religious reasons.

As Islam knows no secular sacred divide, no separation as it were of church and state, religion and politics, I canot see how the insistence on headcovering by Muslims in Western countries can be anything other than a statement of the superiority of Islam.

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