Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In Turkey: the Symbol

"In Turkey, head scarves are potent political symbols", says Anne Applebaum, of Slate.com.
It can be a little wisp of fabric, nothing more. It comes in longer versions, shorter versions, versions that cover the hair, others that cover the face. According to Le Monde, you can even get a Viennese stylist to design one in the manner of "Catherine Zeta-Jones or Naomi Campbell," with a whiff of supermodel glamour.

But whatever shape it takes, and whatever you want to call it, the political controversy surrounding the scarves that many (though not all) Islamic women use to cover their heads will not go away. The debate surrounding head scarves, banned in French schools and some German state institutions, has just re-emerged at the center of an extraordinary lawsuit, one that could, if successful, bring down the Turkish government.
What really is the problem in Turkey between the secular and the religious? Why can't the people "just get along"? Read more information in this article, as well as links to other articles. It's because the covering is not viewed as a personal or individual choice made by women of many religious backgrounds, but primarily viewed as a political symbol of Islamic rule over the secular in Turkey. Read more at the linked title. Consider her thoughts:
Fairly or not, in certain Turkish communities, a head covering in fact marks the wearer not just as faithful but as a believer in a particular version of Islam. Fairly or not, the head scarf carries with it, at least in Turkey, partisan connotations, as well as a suggestion of the wearer's views of women.
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