Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Hijab Ban has been Loosened in Turkey

Shortly after the 1980 military coup in Turkey, the Hijab - the Muslimah headcovering obligatory upon all adult Muslim women, was banned for women engaged in any public facilit. This included public buildings, universities, school and government buildings - in short, Muslim women were not allowed to cover their heads once they were in the open. This contradicted violently with the tenets of the Islamic dress-code for Muslim women.

In 2002, Tayyip Erdogan was elected as Prime Minister. Pictures of him and his families graced international newspapers. His wife and daughters were seen to fully cover their awrah, with the obligatory Hijab in tact. Tayyip Erdogan that the "unfair ban will be abolished."

Recently, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) opposition party have thrashed out a deal on a compromise head-cover to be allowed on campus after decades of an all-out ban.

Alhamdulillah, women now attending universities, will be allowed to tie a scarf that would cover their hair and head. Unfortunately the ban remains in tact for working women, the wrap-around head scarf and the face veil.

It has taken over 2 decades for Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, to allow some Muslim women to observe some form of Hijab. We hope that progress will continue and practicing Muslims in Turkey continue to fight on for their rights to modest attire through their constitution.


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