Sunday, July 22, 2007

The complexities of the hijab -- Turkey's upcoming elections

An unusually excellent article in today's Washington Post discusses head scarves in Turkey and how they are at the moment one of the keys to Turkish politics (even Turks seem a bit bemused by this).

Sensibly, perhaps, the article focuses more on what the wearers think than on what the opponents do. For that alone it is worth a look.

It might be interesting to make a list of countries where wearing a hijab looks like a threat to the constitution. Do any but the nuttiest nuts in the USA feel that way? Yet quite a few people in France and Turkey get really charged up on the subject.

Certainly one can see where this attitude comes from in Turkey. It strikes me that the vital issue there is whether women will have a real choice about expressing religion, or not, through headwear. For Turkish women does the wearing of hijab by some mean that soon all will be required to? That's the fear on one side. On the other, those who want to wear hijab certainly face restrictions, and the article shows them desiring the freedom to be Islamic in public.

It would have been interesting if the reporter had asked the hijab wearers about the freedom of other women not to wear hijab -- or did I miss something?

Update: More on the election and the issues from the Washington Post.

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