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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?

Posted in Hijab, Human Rights, Islam, Media, Reflections, Society, Veil, Women. Tags: Politics, Religion.

15 Responses to “Hijab; The Frontier Between Secularism And Religion”

  1. Sumera Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 3:12 pm

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

  1. southernvoice Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 3:40 pm

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.

  1. Pari Jaan Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I echo Sumera’s thoughts exactly….
Thanks for this very informative post Shahrzad

  1. 'liya Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Your last paragraph sums up my own thoughs exactly.

  1. Haleem Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 5:23 pm

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.

  1. Zios Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 7:54 pm

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…

  1. Achelois Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 7:55 pm

I agree with Sumera.

  1. Tuba Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm

“It’s their absolute right.” I agree.

  1. Shahrzad Says:
    June 8, 2008 at 10:02 pm

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. [image]

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 [image]

Tuba, [image]

  1. Pari Jaan Says:
    June 9, 2008 at 12:26 am

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 [image]

  1. Ordinary girl Says:
    June 9, 2008 at 3:46 am

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’?”

  1. Seth Says:
    June 9, 2008 at 6:24 am

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.

  1. Karin Says:
    June 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm

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 …

  1. Umm Salihah Says:
    June 9, 2008 at 8:46 pm

excellent post. Although I am not Turkish, this issue affects me deeply, because in effect its says that if you wish to practice your faith you cannot educate yourself or work - surely the biggest oppression of all.

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?

  1. Aafke Says:
    June 10, 2008 at 1:01 am

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.
Nobody has the right to force any kind of dress on any women, that also means either wearing hijab or leaving it off. I think such rules are against the personal freedom everybody should be allowed.
Funny thing is, I see more and more hijabis amongst the immigrants here, many more than a few years ago, and was told by one of them (non hijabi) that as soon as they are back on holiday in Marocco they leave it off again.
Interesting about the wigs: fundamental jewish women do the same. Don’t see the logic in that btw.
I’d wear a wig with long blonde hair… 

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