Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why Turkey Lifted its Ban on Islamic Headscraf

By Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36537319

As the western world debates restricting religious-oriented attire, Turkey just relaxed its restrictions on women wearing headscarves in state institutions.

The National Geographic has an excellent story about the decision that might be good for both world history and religion classes. That's because the article reviews the founding of the modern state of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Atatutrk instituted a number of clothing regulations designed to make Turkey a more secular country. Most of those regulations dealt with men. The fez, for example was outlawed but Ataturk left the headscarf alone. Restrictions began in 1980 after a military coup. It was outlawed in most state institutions like schools, government offices, and hospitals.

Turkey's opposition party, according to the National Geographic, says that the relaxation of the restrictions are "a serious blow to the secular republic." But Turkish prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan argues that headscarf-wearing women are as much a part of the republic as those who do not ear headscarves. Moreover, he wanted to make sure that conservative women who wore headscarves would not be discouraged from applying to government or higher education jobs.

Here's a video clip from the BBC about the decision to lift the headscarf ban.


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