Hijab; The Frontier Between Secularism And Religion
June 8, 2008 — Shahrzad
Turkey’s highest court yesterday overturned a politically controversial law allowing women students to wear the Muslim headscarf at university, dealing a blow to the country’s Islamist-leaning government and its chances of survival.
In a decision with significant implications for Turkey’s future, the constitutional court upheld an appeal from opposition parties that the law - passed by parliament in February - posed a threat to its 85-year-old secular system.
The headscarf issue has become one of the most highly charged in Turkish politics, with the ruling justice and development party (AKP) seeing it as a question of religious freedom, while opponents portray it as a potential gateway to a more Islamic society. Hijab-wearers have complained of being expelled from classes by professors, while others have worn wigs to get around the ban.
The ruling was a setback for the AKP, which is embroiled in a separate case - also before the constitutional court - to outlaw the party and ban its officials from politics for alleged anti-secular activity.
“This is the harshest decision the court could have reached,” said Soli Ozel, an analyst at Istanbul’s Bilgi university. “It gives us a clear sense of how the court is going to vote on the closure case.”
Banning the party could plunge Turkey’s political system into turmoil, while further jeopardising its already fraught attempt to join the European Union. The European commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, has warned that the country’s application could be frozen if the AKP is outlawed. Source
P.S: The other year, i had read a book about revolution in Algeria and its independence. I read that how French soldiars tried to remove muslim women’s hijab but they could not be successful. And finally Algerians could claim back their country.
Islam doesnt recognise secularism. Secularism is generally something not related to Islam or raised of it, but it’s something western and came out after strict rules of the church during the middle ages. It’s a rebellion against strict roles of church which had closed the doors of research and science.
Islam doesnt need secularism. True Islam is a very flexible religion to the new ideas, encourages increasing knowledge and scientific research. Islamic history has a very golden background full of wonderful scientists, physicians, scholars and chemists.
Islam is completely elastic, respects different religions and their followers have their rights to follow their religion and have their comminties freely. Islam doesnt recognise acts of kind of Al-Qaeda or any kind of stupid extrimism. So concept of secularism in Islam is something really funny and dumb to be discussed.
In the matter of action, i see Secular extremists are worse than anybody else. From one extremist to another, there is just very thin border. And usually they think this border should be “innocent” muslim women’s Hijab. It seems that’s always women’s way of wearing which is played with the leaders of different groups in the world. I wonder why they dont leave women on their own. We women know the importance of modesty and we are aware of our rights.
I dont understand really, when there are many other important issues that women face every day in the world, Why some governments are that much scared of muslim women’s Hijab? It’s their absolute right. What’s the fuss about it really?
15 Responses to “Hijab; The Frontier Between Secularism And Religion”
Its really bizarre how secularism and liberalism speak of freedom for all, and living life as you want - yet they impose their ideas of liberation (such as banning hijabs in public spaces). All vry ironic
Yeah its also a funny thing that Islam and Christianity are the religions under attack while the Jewish religion of The Holocaust and Anti-semitism are enforced by every educator, politician and editor across the land.
There was never a time when Christians didn’t run every court house across the United States. Christians were in every office and governor’s mansion in America.
We founded and built the greatest nation on Earth and valued science and have the greatest schools on Earth.
But we’ve been under assault ever since Jews came here after WW2 after our Christian Fathers and Grandfathers freed them from the nazis.
They hit the ground running and they’ve been attacking our religion, our culture and our heritage ever since. Yet we have to secure podunk Israel because our government forces this upon us because of Jew’s money.
May God push Israel into the sea.
I echo Sumera’s thoughts exactly….
Your last paragraph sums up my own thoughs exactly.
secularism means punishment of the church / clerics etc. And when clerics get into power - bam! - the reverse.
I look forward to the day when a woman is valued by what’s in her head, not ON it.
The definition of freedom is ” I know what is good for you because I have power”…world has not changed…rights are secured only when you have might / power. Behind this decision lie their own insecurities…
I agree with Sumera.
“It’s their absolute right.” I agree.
Sumera, Agree with you. They are just mottos of course. I see that those secular liberal who blame muslim extremists are most extreme than any others.
southernvoice, Thank you for your comment. I agree with your words. Anyway secularism is something created before the WW I or II.
Pari Jaan, Thank you for your comment. Are you same Pari who had emailed me before?
‘liya, i still did not find a clear answer for it.
Haleem, I too look forward for that. What i see, less women in our world are being judged for their brain.
Zios, Wise words indeed.
Achelois, me too
salaam shahrzad, yes I am the same pari jaan who sent you an email a couple of months ago admiring your blog. it was nice of you to remember that
this reminds me of a question posed in a forward mail I once got…”why is that when a nun covers her head, she serves God…. but when a muslim woman covers her head, she needs to be ‘liberated’?”
It is very ethnocentric of the Western culture to assume that Muslim women need to be ‘liberated’ from their head coverings. I like your sentiment, Shahrzad, that Islam does not tolerate extremism. Though I do not have much firsthand experience of your religion, everything I do know about it is in agreement with what you say. Unfortunately, the extremists do not see things the same way.
I find it unfortunate that Muslim women in Turkey are not allowed to live out their own piety, but in the particular situation of an Islamist party that may be trying to create a theocracy, I can see why it might be a necessary measure to take. I can only hope that Muslim extremism begins to decline so that such religious restrictions are no longer seen as “necessary” to prevent extremism from finding a foothold in the government.
Southern Voice: I disagree with your claim that the Jews are attacking Christianity and Islam. I think instead that the Jews were merely the first to point out how heavily Christianity has influenced our culture and made it sometimes inhospitable to those in America who are not Christian (a number which is large and only growing larger). Just because we Christians have had and continue to have the positions of power in the government does not give us the right to impose a Christian system on the general population.
As Shahrzad says, secularism is not what Islam (or in this case, Christianity or America) needs, but rather flexibility. We in the United States who are Christian should be able to be Christian with the same freedom and comfort that Jews can be Jewish, Hindus can be Hindi, and Atheists can be Atheist. This means removing overtly Christian influences from our government not to make it secular, but to make it more flexible and to leave room for other influences as well.
Our strength is in diversity. Religion should not have a large impact on government, because if it does, then goverment begins to infringe upon the rights of individuals of other religions to be religious themselves, just as in Turkey now.
You’re absolutely right - it’s every Muslim woman’s OWN decision if she wants to use a hijab or not! It’s nobody else’s business!
It’s really strange … if orthodox Christian women cover their heads, there seems to be no problem but if a Muslim woman does just the same, whole governments stand on their heads!
This world gets crazier and crazier and slowly but surely nothing surprises me anymore …
I wonder why a small, harmless peice of material elicits such fierce reactions/hatred across the Western world - what arev people scared of? What is the sourse of so much hatred?
I agree with Sumera and Haleem.
I keep wondering how the hijab always seems to spark such draconian responses. I find any kind of dress restrictions or prescribed rules extremely fishy. There is always something else behind it.
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