The Headscarf Debate


Turkish secularists say that allowing women to wear headscarves will result in the Islamicization and radicalization of the country. Do they have a point?

Posted by Fareed Zakaria on February 9, 2008 7:17 PM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (39)

JRLR :

halozcel

I am impressed: You obviously are a strong advocate of equal rights for women in Turkey, in Afghanistan, in Saudi Arabia, as well as amongst "bedouins", in every corner of the desert. Those are regions of the globe that you obviously know very well.

May I suggest, therefore, that you give us a hand at promoting equality for women in this country?

Here is something on which your contribution would be most useful and appreciated, only as a modest beginning, of course, assuming you can spare some time between two skirmishes as to what your preferences are, when it comes to Muslim women's clothing.

I hope this helps:

IT'S TIME FOR WORKING WOMEN TO EARN EQUAL PAY

"Equal pay has been the law since 1963. But today, nearly 45 years later, women are still paid less than men—even with similar education, skills and experience.

In 2007, women are paid only 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Economist Evelyn Murphy, president and founder of The WAGE Project, estimates the wage gap costs the average full-time U.S. woman worker between $700,000 and $2 million over the course of her work life.

These figures are even worse for women of color. AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN EARN ONLY 68 CENTS AND LATINAS 57 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR THAT MEN EARN. Asian American and Pacific Islander American women earn less, too. Their pay inequality is less severe than for women as a whole, but they still earned only 88 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2000.

To make matters worse, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder for women to prove they are the victims of pay inequality. The High Court ruled in May 2007 that women who believe they are being denied equal pay must file suit within 180 days after the discrimination occurs.

In a strong dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman on the court, said the majority opinion “overlooks common characteristics of pay discrimination.”

When women get equal pay, their family incomes rise and the whole family benefits. Equal pay helps men, too." ***

A state by state fact sheets on equal pay (PDF) is appended.

Your are welcome to contact AFL-CIO at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your support in promoting equality for American women.


***

http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/women/equalpay/

halozcel :

JRLR,

Yes,you are right.*Equality for all*
*Two women equals one man*.Is it *Equality for all* ?
You critisize the present Afghanistan.Was there Democracy before the NATO intervention ? Was Taleban's system a Democracy ?

*Democracy that is forced upon the poeple...*
Yes,nice word,but unfortunately empty word.If all Turkish women wear black wrap and burqa such as Iran and Saudi Kingdom,then will Democracy(!) be ? or will they wait for 500 years for Democracy ? (I am sceptical 500 years later as well).Of course,Turkey will take a short cut to Democracy.
Was there Democracy in ottoman during 620 years ?
Why couldnt they bring Democracy to ottoman within 620 years ?

JRLR,
Democracy doesnt means too much unlogical populism.*Freedom of Religion*,Quo Vadis ?
Shall man take four women ?
Shall man kick them out by two words *be divorced*,while woman has not such a right.
What about *freedom of Women* and daughters ?

If headscarf is the mark of Freedom and Democracy,the most democratical countries are islamofascist Iran,Saudi Fear Kingdon and Taliban's Afghanistan,Arent they ?

Democracy should be based on Human Rights,men and women are equal as you say and Contemporary Values,not on the cult of bedouin and desert rules.

JRLR :

Modern Secular Turkey writes: “… this government… they are changing our laws and trying to show outside that they are doing this for ''democracy and freedom''…”

Assuming there is freedom of religion in a democracy:

1. What can possibly be “undemocratic” in a democratically elected government allowing individuals who belong to the vast majority of the population it represents (I understand that “nominally, 99.8% of the Turkish population is Muslim”) to profess their religion through a customary gesture they personally consider to be of religious significance?

2. What can possibly be “democratic” in a government forbidding individuals who belong to the vast majority of the population it represents (“99.8% of the Turkish population is Muslim”) to profess their religion through a customary gesture they personally consider to be of religious significance?

“Democracy” that is forced upon the people has nothing to do with democracy (“of the people, by the people, for the people”); it is at best autocracy, and at worst tyranny, be it in Iraq, in Afghanistan, or in any other country. On matters of principle, the fact that we have become addicted to that practice, on all continents, is immaterial.

Similarly, to impose a form of secularism that goes against freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of choice is one thing; to demand, and fight for, democracy, freedom and equality for all, is another, and has nothing to do with any kind of power trip.

halozcel :

Someones are so curious about Ataturk's parent.Let me remimd you parent of some ottoman sultans and the last Caliph.

Abdulmejid II,the last caliph.His mother was Catholic woman Adela(Hayrıdil).
Suleiman I,The Lawgiver(1494-1566).His mother was Polish Jew Helga(Hafsa sultan).
Selim II(1524-1574).His mother was Russian woman Roxalen(Hurrem).
Mehmed III(1566-1603).His mother was Italian woman Bafo(Safiye).
Murad IV(1612-1640).His mother was Greek woman Anastasia(Kosem sultan),and Murad IV was a alcohol drinker as well.
Mahmud II(1785-1839).His mother was French Catholic woman(she didnt convert to islam.Nakshıdil).Mahmud II was called by islamists as *infidel sultan*,because he tried to reform ottoman and social life.
Abdulhamid II,The Red Sultan(1842-1918).His mother was Circassian Tirimujgan(Virjin) who was also said to be Armenian convert.He is called by the present islamists as *The Great Khakan*.What did he do ? He lost half of ottoman territory during his reign.Was it *Greatness* ? He had the first constitution writer(Mithad Pasha) beheaded.Was it *Justice* ?

FATIH,
No,you are wrong.France and Germany have already banned all kinds of religious symbols(including headscarf) at schools.
Nederland has banned the black wrap and burqa.
J.Kelly,American student disqualified from the athletic race for her headscarf.
Mr Straw,the former foreign minister of UK said *remove the veil*
People are demonstrating versus new mosque building in all over Europe.
Denmark is seriously discussing to ban quran.

Taoufiq :

Enough, with this Islamophobia, the Real Issue here, why there is a law forbiding somebody to wear head scarf first place, I see it's the secularist who are trying to force the relegious how to act and how to dress, if women want to wear head scarf why everybody is roil up about it.

Taoufiq :

The Real Issue here, why there is a law forbiding somebody to wear head scarf first place, I see it's the secularist who are trying to force the relegious how to act and how to dress, if women want to wear head scarf why everybody is roil up about it.

FATIH :

Yes l hope most famous discussion inthe last years in turkey will be agenda no longer.because this awfull debate accupied unnecessarlly our life many years and we coudn't focus our basic problems so we have been looking foward to lifting this absurd ban to focus our real matters to improve our life standarts. ı belive such discussion bruise our prestige becasuse there is nowhereelse inthe world such awfull ban that is why thousand of our young girls leave their country to be able to copmlete their educations.altought supporters of ban claim baseless excuses,majorty of turks support lifting this ban in according with their culturel bacground.

Modern Secular Turkey :

We, the Secular, modern women of Turkey will never end our fight against this government, AKP that is trying to impose their conservative, religious, discriminating believes on us.
I am proud of all the people that were on the streets protesting the turban and showing their loyalty to Secularism.

This government already divided Turkey into two and by the decision on lifting the ban on headscarves, the university students are going to have very hard time. Modern Turkish girls in the universities will be put in danger by those religious fanatics. And this is this government`s aim. Slowly they are changing our laws and trying to show outside that they are doing this for ''democracy and freedom'' which for them are just tools until they reach their real goal.

You can not compare Turkey`s situation with other US or Canada where there are no bans for headscarves! They do not have the ban for headscarves because these countries will never be under the thread of Sharia. their women`s rights are not being threatened by religion! They are not in the same geographical situation with us and most importantly the main religion is not Muslim! Therefore letting women cover would not threaten their societies` general believes.
It is way more critical and different for Turkey who has been the most Secular Muslim country, and always had Secularism as its first amendment! And now the government is trying to change the regime. And doing this under the name of ''Democracy and freedom''

France as De France below says, saw the danger that causes discrimination in the schools and has been having the ban on headscarves like Turkey did.

Covering a women`s head and putting them in the headscarf cage has nothing to do with freedom and democracy. Making the women to cover their heads and considering them to be in a lower class than men is taking their freedom away from them! It is eliminating the women from the society and leaving it only to men.

Ataturk gave Turkish women the right to vote before most of the Western world. Him and our fathers fought for the civilization and modernization of Turkey, to give women and men the same standards, they fought for a Modern Secular Turkey!

As a Turkish woman who loves her country very much I will fight to protect our Secularism, and follow Ataturk`s reforms forever!

Caliph :

On:

"By the way, Ataturk was not a Jew. He was a Turkish nationalist who revived Turkey after the demolition of the Ottoman Empire following World War I."

From:


Source: Rabbi Joachim Prinz, Ex President American Jewish Congress in his famous book The Secret Jews


Here is a quotation from Joachim Prinz's 'The Secret Jews'; page 122: I did not make the story nor any member of World Muslim. From the same book written by a Jew the World can know how Jew lived under Caliphate, Al-Andalusia (Spain)to India and Yemen to Bosnia and how Jews were placed in high post. But what we know now is that the World Muslims who protected the Jews from inquisition after inquisition by European Christians; were fooled and by the same Jews Caliphate were abolished.

Abdul Hamid began among the intellectuals of Salonika. It was from there that the demand for a constitutional regime originated. Among the leaders of the revolution which resulted in a more modern government in Turkey were Djavid Bey and Mustafa Kemal. Both were ardent 'doenmehs'. Djavid Bey became minister of finance; Mustafa Kemal became the leader of the new regime and he adopted the name of Ataturk. His opponents tried to use his 'doenmeh' background to unseat him, but without success. Too many of the Young Turks in the newly formed revolutionary Cabinet prayed to Allah, but had as their real prophet Shabtai Zvi, the Messiah of Smyrna.


….In Salonika in the early days of the movement the ten commandments “of our Lord King and Messiah Shabtai Zvi” were proclaimed by the daenmebs. They still form the credo of surviving doenmebs of our time. Som of them are as follows:

I swear that I shall never convert anybody to the faith of the Turban, called Islam.

I shall meticulously adhere to the customs of the Turks so as not to arouse their suspicion. I shall not only observe the Fast of Ramadhan but all the other Muslim customs which are observed in public.

I shall not marry into a Muslim family nor maintain any intimate association with them, for they are to us an abomination and particularly their women.

Can there be any more hate and hateful conspiracy than above and above conspiracy that you will accept Islam and you will remain secret Jew to destroy Islam and Caliphate as happened in the past and it is happening at present?

Here more quotation from Joachim Prinz's 'The Secret Jews'; page 50 and 51 on financing by a Jew to defeat Muslims in Al-Andalusia (Spain)after 800 of rule.

But the best proof of the Jews security was the appearance in 1484 of the most outstanding Jew of his time, Don Isaac Abravanel, whose father had already held the highest position in his native Portugal as financier of Prince Fernando, son of King Joao. His grandfather and great-grand-father had also been treasurers and financiers of the royal household of Portugal. Don Isaac had inherited many millions of maravides from his family and had added many more himself. Yet he was not merely a millionaire and a financial genius, he was a Jewish Scholar of note and a distinguished statesman. That he was received by Ferdinand and Isabella was a sure sign that all was screne in the Jewish community. With so much protection and such influential friends at court, what could happen to them? But even as Abravanel negotiated with the king, the plan for the total expulsion of the Jews had been decided upon. It happened that at that time the Spanish army was engaged in the final struggle against the Moors, the battle of Granada. (Please note for non-Muslims it is struggle and for Muslims after 800/1400 years it is terrorism and that is the problem) . A great deal of money was needed and if a Jew of Abravanel’s financial genius could provide it, why not postpone the expulsion of his people until a more propitious moment? That even Abravanel, a man of extraordinary political experience and acumen, could mistake a police and cordial reception by the monarchs for assistance of his people’s security seems incomprehensible. But it is consistent with the experience and attitude of Jews throughout their history……It can be safely be said that the only ones who were oblivious to the possibility of their own destruction in fifteenth-century Al-Andalusia (Spain)were the Jews. So they surrendered, died or lost their fortunes. And those who survived were finally expelled from the land of their birth.

Mariano Patalinjug :

Yonkers, New York
11 February 2008

As innocuous and innocent as it may seem on the surface at first blush, lifting the ban on the wearing of head scarves is actually a critical and dangerous step, because it will be taken as a precedent, which could lead to further steps to erode the secularist Constitution of Turkey.

Those behind this move may actually be plotting to eventually do away with Turkey's secular Constitution and replace it with the Islamic Sharia.

It took the genius and force of the great Gamal Ataturk to craft Turkey's secularist Constitution in what he must have considered a sine qua non to Turkey's goal of modernization.

The Turkish military, a powerful institution, is the guardian of Turkey's constitution. I am at a loss to understand how this guardian could have allowed the ban on the wearing of scarves to be lifted--that is, if it fully understood the dire implications and consequences which I have here laid bare.

Mariano Patalinjug
Yonkers, New York

MarPatalinjug@aol.com

de France :

Here in France the ban on headscarves in schools and university is working well. The problem is often that men who have brought their customs with them from Islamic countries try to impose covering on their young women relatives who are adapting better to France than the men are. The women have everything to gain from becoming like the French: education, economic freedom, personal freedom. The men have a lot to lose: the ability to control their female relatives and spouses and be waited on by them. The same seems to be true in Germany and Holland and the result is often murder of a young woman who has begun to act less than totally submissive to the males in her family. It is hard to sympathize with men who claim that murder is a proper response to what they claim is a stain on the family honor, a primitive principle if I ever heard one, especially when the woman's offense is marrying for love or getting a good job.

By the way, Ataturk was not a Jew. He was a Turkish nationalist who revived Turkey after the demolition of the Ottoman Empire following World War I. (It was already decadent and weak.)

CKC :

The Muslim religion has the same features as Communism when it comes to mindless adherence to talking points and symbols: Head scarves are nothing more than the hammer&sickle de jour for Muslims in Turkey. Turkey is already radicalized or it wouldn't have had to have banned them to begin with and then lift the ban for the very reason it banned them to begin with: radical islamic insurgents.

Anonymous :

i dont think that they have a point.

wearing headscarves doesnt imply that the country will become islamized..thats a pure wrong notion. if thats the case, why do christian nuns cover their heads? does it mean that the country got christianized? i think not.

so wearing or not wearing headscarves shud be done at their own will.. neither shud the muslim organization impose the women to wear the headscarves nor shud the govt/others force them to remove it. it shud depend solely on their individual decision.

Caliph :

This law must be universal law for all Women in all countries. Look at Christian Nan and how they dress or Jewish sisters or Hindu Conservative and they all dress modestly and none of them show body part.

Showing body part must be a crime in all societies.

So whole world must follow Turkey. Secret Jew, Ataturk abolished Caliphate to destroy Islam in Turkey and in whole World.

So Turkey is just going back to the days of glorious Caliphate.

turkey man :

I'm very very cry... :(((

Anonymous :

FROM: conscience-to-the-world


TO: ALL MUSLIMS-MALES AND MUSLIM-FEMALES:

ALL MUSLIM WOMEN HAVE THEIR OWN RIGHT TO WEAR THINGS OR WEAR NOTHING ON THEIR OWN BODIES!

THEREFORE:

THEY CAN EITHER WEAR BIKINIS, MONOKINIS, ZEROKINIS OR TINY BAMBOO LEAVES AND CAN WEAR HIGH HEEL SHOES WITH BIKINIS OR ZEROKINIS TO WALK SEXILY ON THE STREETS LIKE ALL WOMEN IN THE WORLD AND TO MAKE ALL MUSLIM BOYS, MEN AND OLD MEN FEEL IN HIGH HEAT AND GO CRAZY WHILE LOOKING AT THEM!

THEY CAN WEAR HEADSCARVES BUT BELOW THEIR HEADSCARVES ARE NOTHING OR ZEROKINIS OR TINY BAMBOO LEAVES TO PLEASE THEMSELVES AND OTHERS AND BEING ABLE TO SHOW OFF THEIR BEAUTTIFUL BODIES AND THEIR HIDDEN WONDEFUL PLACES!

OR THEY CAN SHOW OFF THEIR BREASTS OR THEIR WONDERFUL BUSHY-BUSHY LIKE OTHER WOMEN IN THE ENTIRE WORLD TO MAKE LIFE LOOK MORE FUN AND JOY AND HAPPINESS TO THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHER VIEWERS! AND WHY NOT???

PLEASE ABANDON AND PROHIBIT ALL BLACK GHOST-LIKE RAGS CALLED AS "BURGA BURGA" THE TERRIBLE SCARRY THINGS! THAT MUSLIM WOMEN WEAR ALL THE TIME WITH ONLY TWO HOLES TO LET THEM SEE THE OUTSIDE WORLD! WHILE THESE BURGAS BURGAS SCARE OFF OR TERRORIZE ALL OTHERS EYES IN THE HOT DAYS! (AND MAKE ME FEEL TERRIBLE TOO EACH TIME I SAW THESE GHOST-LIKE BURGAS AROUND ME AND MAKE ME FEEL TO ENCOUNT GHOSTS!)
IT IS HORRIBLE CULTURE INDEED!!! THE CULTURE CALLED AS MUSLIM CULTURE! HORRIBLE!!!!! THAT ONLY CRAZY MALE MUSLIMS CAN ENJOY THESE HORRIBLE THINGS! OR CRAZY CULTURE OR IRRATIONAL CULTURE!!!
IN ESSENCE, MUSLIM THINGKING AND BELIEF SEEM TO BE IRRATIONAL CREATED BY CRAZY MUSLIM FOLKS!
THE ENTIRE WORLD WISH NEVER EVER TO SEE ON THEIR LANDS GHOST-LIKE "BURBA-BURBAS" WALKING AROUND TO SCARE OFF THEIR OWN CITIZENS OR/AND INSULT THEIR SOCIETIES! AND LIFE-STYLES!

Posted by: conscience-to-the-world | February 10,

Anonymous :

makaroo wamarallaah .... wallahu khair ul makireen

okay radicilization and extremizim ummm and fundamentalism ...... why do we have these terms for muslims only....

hijab, head scarve..... al hamdullilah is a jewel of a muslim girl, that saves her from alot of dangers which a non-muslim and muslim girls who dont wear the head scarve face all the time.

however there is one thing to be noted, which i am sure many many people dont think about........ there is a difference between religion and culture..... the culture can be like guys trying to control women too much, or hitting women too much, but religion islam is NOT like that ........ and it is OUR ignorence that we dont know about it! .........

the treatment islam asks the men to give to women ..... if is practiced properly is a heaven for women. however in this particular case i would suggest that with turkish gov't lifting the ban alhamdullilah, they should also try to propagate rights of women in islam... something they have long forgotten.... and so now they treat women liek a showpiece....

Remember something ... there are many things we like to do but we cant do, many things we want to have but we cant have... we are created by god to obey his commands ...... and he has never been unjust.....

i have a question for the media .... 2/3 of total muslim women wear scarves in turky! .... why does no media show that how happy they are, instead what i see is a debate on it is good or bad! why we cover 1/3 coz they follow western lifestyle and ignore 2/3 coz they almost dont? is it not biased? i would suggest to ensure chador and burqa in turky inshallah

people are calling muslims here as crazy culture, and i agree with them if we look from their perspective..... when one country has strip clubs and in other women cant even go out without a head scarve! ...... its crazy for the guy livign in first country! ...... but ...... u will only know when u live the experience, when ur daughter and ur boy stands by you no matter how old they are or u r ...... they jeopardize their own future to look after their dad and mum, no matter hoiw mad u r at them, they cant talk back! .... they will just keep their head down and listen patiently! ...... when every night ur son has a duty to come and massage ur legs! or ur daughter comes every weekend with their family to spend time with their mum and dad etc etc ... list goes on and on ... so u have to live the experience to know it ... or else read and believe in it .... so yeah ........ whoever reads my comments .... hopefully you will understand what i am saying... its no fantasy! ..... its real

Anonymous :

halozcel :

1-... intervenes the sexual organs(circumcision)
2-... intervenes what you eat and drink.
3-... intervenes what you do in your bed.
4-... intervenes what you wear ...
5-... intervenes your marriage and *with whom*

...

modern,democratic ...

halozcel, first thought you were reporting on religion in Israel.

Anju Chandel, New Delhi :

There cannot be any other answer but an YES to the question posed here. And, that this latest religio-socio-political development spells imminent ill fortune for Turkey cannot be dispelled.

All secular and rightminded Turkish should mark this day of 'removing ban on headscarves' as an important day in their country's calendar, almost equally important as that day when Kemal Ataturk 'banned headscarves' which changed the political and social course of Turkey forever - so far.

Turkey's following in the footsteps of the other Islamist nations is testimony to the growing and deepening tentacles of radicalism and extremism in our already troubled world. It is a first step towards complete Islamization of Turkey and death of a Secular Turkey. ... The EU should 'ban' entry of an Islamic Turkey into its exclusive club.

I feel very sorry for all Turkish women. Their lives are not going to be worth living for long. ... May you all be reborn in countries where politics is not played taking recourse to religion and where women are equal to men.

This 'historic yet unfortunate' religio-socio-political development in Turkey reminds me of Orhan Pamuk's 'Snow'.

Darden Cavalcade :

Personal choice is usually the best policy. Muslim women aren't stupid. Let them decide whether go with scarf or without.

celil :

there isn't any problem in turkey. yes 411, no 104 in TBMM.

halozcel :

Someones say *no compulsion in islam*
Lets have a look.

1-Islam intervenes the sexual organs(both men and women-circumcision)
2-Islam intervenes what you eat and drink.
3-Islam intervenes what you do in your bed.
4-Islam intervenes what you wear and your headscarf.
5-Islam intervenes your marriage and *with whom*
6-Five times worship in arabic although you are not an Arab in a day.
7-30 day fasting during Ramadan.
8-Holy War in the Land of War.
Isnt there *compulsion* in islam ??

*modern,democratic and İslamic Turkey*(!)(?)
*Modern Turkey*,women in black wrap and Burqa ?
*Democratic*,without Secularism and Human Rights,is it possible to be democratic ? and is there any islamic-democratic(whatever it means) country in the world ?

salim :

I was borne a Moslem in Amman Jordan to a widow. My first memory of my mother was being covered from head to toe in black. As times passed she slowly but surely started uncovering her face first and then her head. No one objected. It is not up to any one to decide what an adult woman wares. It is up to her. The only suggestion in Islam is modesty in clothes but there is no dictation to what that means. I guess no mini-skirts. But men, moslem or otherwise, want to control their women and that is evil. They mix religion with thier desire to control their women and subgigate them. Wearing a scarf is not problem and not wearing it should not be a problem either. No one should dictate to women what to ware. It should be their own choice.

JRLR :

Head gear says: “I am a biker”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a baseball player”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a swimmer”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am riot police”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a US marine”… No problem

Head gear says: “I am an Indian woman”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a Mali woman”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a Vietnamese woman”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am the bride”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a mourning widow”… No problem

Head gear says: “I am a Jew”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a Catholic nun”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a Greek Orthodox primate”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a Sikh”… No problem
Head gear says: “I am a Tibetan Buddhist woman”… No problem

Head gear says: “I am a Muslim woman”…

Problem?

Why? Why? WHY?

Should Turkey (or any other country, for that matter) “Islamicize” and “radicalize”, it will not be because Turkish women wear headscarves.

The best way to get there, inevitably and at an accelerated pace, is:

1. to mock and to humiliate Muslims, everywhere, and on a daily basis;

2. to make life unbearable for tens, hundreds of thousands of them;

3. to torture, and to kill them indiscriminately, women, children and old people, for years on end, no matter who is innocent;

4. to promote civil war amongst Muslim populations (“have them fight amongst themselves!”);

5. to persecute them to the point of not even caring how they live, and how many of them have been killed (“we’re not in the victims’ accounting business!”).

Power abused is power lost.

It is only a matter of time.

To the perceptive ones, veils do not hide but reveal reality.

someonelse :

There are more important problems in Turkey. I can not figure out why this problem is propounded so much but maybe the aim is not to ensure covering a head, it is to cover the real problems in Turkey. It is also needed to specify that the last inquiries shows the number of girls who do not go to university because of their turban is just one percent.

philolog :

while chanting for human rights everybody applouds;when it comes to rights of practicing muslims. no voice... the femminists cry out their woman rights;whe it comes to rights of muslim women, they keep mum..
does it make sense? in this year of certain freedom, there still are dinosurus-like brained people who judge people with the dress he/she wears..christian sisters also wear scarf in churches?why because the know MARY was a scarfed woman..turkish womans wish and practice of wearing scarf is also because of their thinking that it is a must that Allah layed for muslim woman...but definetely it is the right of every muslim woman to believe or disavow this rule of Allah! nobody can interfere with the decision she makes..

mitra fard :

I certainly believe that we need to move on to more human right issues that are more inclusive of all than be stuck in the womens hair for past thausands years.
covering or not covering in public is a choice and subjected to the dress code laws of the society. Every society has agreed upon a dress code as a law. The same that Nudity ( no covering )is regulated in western countries, more coverings that also includes the head is being practiced in some others. If the human race still has issues with their physical bodies and have to one way or another regulate it's covering, we as humanity have a long way to go to reach any spiritual awareness or unity where body is just a vheicle for us to use on this earthy life and not to limit, worship, harm, ......
Are we ever going to realize we are not our bodies , we are above and beyond this physical appearence and focus on how we can empower that and in the process empower humanity.

cococo :

It's too bad that these political and social debates regarding religion get played out on women.
It seems pretty straightforward that women should be able to wear whatever they want: burka, sundress, veil, sunglasses; nobody's business but their own. However, if families start forcing the wearing of the veil, that's a problem. Clearly, that's what's the issue here. Do women get to make a choice, or are men telling them what to do.

Halit ZHULDUZ, Turkey :

I am neither an advocate for the women who wear the headscarves nor an apologist for those who are against it. I myself am a person who is trying to be a good mslim and pray not only five times a day, but also when have more free times pray nafile (nifil). But I also sincerely believe that it is prudent to pratice orthopraxy rather than be an orthodox in Turkey under the special conditions prevailing in this country. Allowing the headscarves to worn openly in univeristies is not only about democracy, religious practice rights or secularism. It is about dividing the Turkish political and social forces into two opposite poles of the country creating chaos and unrest.
Once the wearing of head scarves which has been legalised by the parliament and thence put into implimentation will open a pandora box resulting into many domino effects, which will have very negative consequences. For those who are very fanatic about the headscarves issue should realise that in ISLAM nothing is compulsion. Even Usame-bin-Ladin has not been able to force his own son to discard western attire and dress. His son still prefers to adorn himself with the western dress and attire, which his father hates so much.
The paradox is that the women who are fighting to wear the hardscarves in the universities and public offices are the very women who insist on wearing the bluejeans, smoke, visit cinemas and pop-concerts, visit Japanese sushi restaurants and lobsters eating places and other jetset restaurants. ISLAM is the belief of one surrendering onself to Allah not just by wearing the attire but one's Amal(deed)and Niyet(will). ISLAM is a contract not between two or many diffferent races or creeds. If it is at all a contract, it is a conract between the PAST and the PRESENT.
Actually, the leadership of women demanding the headscarves to be worn openly and freely everywhere has been taken over by charlatans who are hoodwinking the sincere muslim citizens of Turkey. There are fore more important things to be done such as: Bettering the medical and health services of govt.hospitals which are rampant full with corruption, legal courts in Turkey which are overloaded and justice delayed, streamlining of laws for businessmen who are completely at the mercy of beaurucarts, increasing the capacity of electric powerload which is on the verge of collapse. These are the nightmares which the political parties,the parliament and the media should debate and solve.
If one looks deeper into this artificially created problem one can trace that the forces who are supporting for and against the headscarves movement are the one and very same forces who are trying to divide the country into opposite political poles.
I for one is of the belief that Turkey is more muslim than any pther Islamic country. It has more then one hundred and fifty thousand mosques not to speak about thousands of small mesjids (prayer rooms),perhaps more than all the Islamic countries put together. It is the only muslim country in the world whose armed soldiers are termed a Mehmetchiks (soldiers of Prophet Mohommed peace be on him). If modern secular, democartic Turkey is destroyed(Inshallah! this would never happen tobe) the whole Islamic alam(world) and its reign will come to an end. THIS IS EXCACTLY what the enemies of a strong Islamic Turkey desires. We should not play into their cards! I am confident that the entire Islamic world modern or fundamentalist will come out openly and support a strong,modern,democratic and Islamic Turkey. One can only fight the western world on their own grounds and rules by equippng ourselves with the very secular and democratic arms and ammunition which they are using against us. Halit ZHULDUZ.

Hasan :

The Bush administration's support of the islamic government in Turkey (in order to show Turkey as an "islamic democracy" model to other islamic countries in the Middle East) will eventually backfire as Turkey is on its way to become the next Iran. Islam and democracy will never go together. Headscarf issue is the first step in supressing further women of Turkey and officially making them second class citizens. Next step will be separation of health care facilities and physicians for men and women. The final step will be ban of women at work places. This will keep women at home and economically completely dependent of men.

Bob in Wisconsin :

In the Catholic faith, we did have a period of time during which women were required to wear head scarfs when in a place of worship. In addition, women religious were required habits at all times, which some would say rivaled a burqa in appearance and purpose.

Today, women and women religious can choose to whether or not to wear head scarfs and habits. We were able to change the faith tradition from a requirement to a matter of choice through a worldwide convocation of church leaders called Vatican II.

Unfortunately, not all faiths have such a forum that allows for change. And the lack of such a process is a challenge shared by both Islam and many non-Muslim faiths.

All that remains is the hope and prayers that the spirit of Allah, God, and Yahweh finds a way forward for the world.

Jane - just an American girl :

The question was: "Turkish secularists say that allowing women to wear headscarves will result in the Islamicization and radicalization of the country. Do they have a point?"

My answer: Turkey is very different from the USA. If the question above was "US Congressmen say..." then of course the answer would be "NO." I would never want any government telling me what I could or could not wear, especially if what I wanted to wear had a heart-felt and sincere religious root. But Turkey - geographically, culturally, and politically - is dealing with a whole different world than many of us outside that region can relate to. Maybe there is some truth to the statement, maybe not. What really jumps out at me is how sad it is that there are places in the world where such control is needed because extremism is so prevalent and violent. The question is really irrelevant, we need to look at why the question is being asked and try to answer and solve those issues.

Bill in Virginia :

Why are so many non-muslims, and particularly the US press, pre-occupied by whether or not some Muslim women wear head scarves? Why don't they obsess about why some Jewish men wear yamalkers or why some Roman Catholic women put scarves on their head in church? These people need to get a life and let other people wear what they choose to wear.

kızılırmak :

kahrolsun şeriat !

mali :

hello all people
ı am muslim in the turkey.our women must be wear a headscarves.because the islam is want this.my thinks is this...muck

Yousuf Hashmi :

No Sir the problem is not so simple neither logical.

first start with the logic and then you will end up with what they call it hypocrasy. We talk about women liberation issues , their choice of life style and the freedom to live. Then how can you pose a ban on women what to wear and what not to wear. And how can the secularist who claim themselves to be most liberal pursuing a ban on women life style.

Then comes the politics, yes it suits them nicely. For any political issue you need some valid argument, on basis of which you can do all invalid acts.

For Generals to continues ruling in a country touching the borders of Europe it was a perefect reason to pursue a fear of resurgence of islam which they can market effectively in Europe to continue their power.

i do not know if new generation is aware of the wolf and the liar boy story but islam islam is now a very favourite slogan to demonize western nations.

what a rubbish logic that by wearing scarf by their own choice grown up educated girls will become radicalized.

West must mature now . Enough is enough. think about it . is it not enough

Asif :

Those who say that headscarves is abuse in the moderen age and women can not perform on their duty, they must study quran completely and they dont have limited and in one direction thinking style.
Please come out from this materialistic approch and give the people right what they want. Dont think that you have unique braine and you have complete knowledge of the universe. you people are not the creator of the universe and have no sense to run this world peacefully.So, dont become master of the wolrd because no man can become master of the world.

Alan :

Pretty much what Shiveh said. And what Ben Franklin said. Etc.

Shiveh :

Outside the cost and benefit analysis of democratic governance, separate from the logic that makes democracy the accepted norm of human behavior, there is a foundation, almost spiritual, that made me fall in love with democratic thought. It is best explained by this famous promise: “I may disagree with what you say, but I gladly die defending your right to say it.” To me this is both the basic and the ultimate distinction of democratic behavior and that is why I am disheartened by the use of the word “allowing” in your question. Why is this even a question? People have the right to express themselves by their clothing. That is the beginning and the end of it.

Recent Comments

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.