Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Hijab News: Swiss minister sparks veil outcry

Expand Messages
  • Zafar Khan
    Swiss minister sparks veil outcry Thursday, 20 March 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7306621.stm Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Swiss minister sparks veil outcry
      Thursday, 20 March 2008


      Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has been
      widely criticised for donning a white headscarf to
      meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
      Well-known for her stand on women's rights, she has
      provoked headlines such as "Just like a submissive

      Socialist MP Maria Roth-Bernasconi said it was
      irritating that she had angered feminists in Iran.

      Ms Calmy-Rey said she was observing protocol. "When
      you are a guest you respect local customs," she said.

      Social Democrat MP Liliane Maury Pasquier accepted
      that customs had to be observed.

      But she was quoted by one newspaper complaining that
      the minister should have shown solidarity with "the
      women who fight against wearing the headscarf".

      Gas controversy

      The minister also prompted controversy by signing a
      multi-billion dollar natural gas deal. The United
      States had complained that Switzerland was sending the
      wrong message when Tehran was subject to UN sanctions.

      Ms Calmy-Rey insisted the deal between Swiss company
      EGL and the National Iranian Gas Export company did
      not violate sanctions.

      Swiss daily Le Matin said on Wednesday it was shocked
      that Switzerland's "icon of a liberated woman" had
      been transformed into an image of one who was

      Its tone changed on Thursday, however, by
      acknowledging that the foreign minister had not really
      had much choice.

      A source told the paper that, without wearing a
      headscarf, she probably would not have been able to
      have her meetings with the Iranian leadership.

      Turkey Relaxes Hijab Ban
      IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
      Sat. Feb. 9, 2008


      ANKARA — Turkey's parliament on Saturday, February 9,
      overwhelmingly voted to relax a decades-long ban on
      hijab on campus against a backdrop of a mass rally by
      secularists protesting the landmark move.
      "The proposal to change the constitution has been
      approved," parliament speaker Koksal Toptan told
      lawmakers after the vote, reported Reuters.

      Some 411 lawmakers of the 550-seat parliament voted
      'yes' for a proposal tabled by the ruling Justice and
      Development Party (AKP) to amend the Constitution to
      relax the ban.

      The new legislation, which was backed by the
      opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) after a
      compromise deal with the AKP, only needed 367 votes to

      The amendment will read that the state will treat
      everyone equally when it provides services such as
      university courses and that no one can be barred from
      education for reasons not clearly laid down by law, an
      allusion to hijab-clad students.

      "I hope this will be for the best for Turkey and hope
      it is done in a spirit of tolerance and
      reconciliation," said Toptan.

      Hijab, an obligatory code of dress in Islam, was
      banned in public buildings, universities, schools and
      government buildings in Muslim-majority Turkey shortly
      after a 1980 military coup.

      Under a compromise deal between AKP and MHP, women and
      girls at universities are permitted to cover their
      heads by tying the headscarf in the traditional way
      beneath the chin.

      A majority of women use the traditional "basortusu" -
      head cover in Turkish - that is more or less loosely
      knotted under the chin for protection against the
      elements or for modesty.

      It can come off just as easily as it can be tied on
      and raises no objections.

      But the ban would remain on the wrap-round headscarf,
      which secularists claim is associated with political
      Islam, as well as face-veil.

      The amendment now needs to be approved by President
      Abdullah Gul, a former AKP member.

      Secularists Rally

      The vote came as tens of thousands of secularists took
      anew to the streets to protest the parliamentary vote,
      reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

      "Turkey is secular and will remain secular," shouted
      the protestors, who packed a square in downtown
      Ankara, filling the main artery running through the
      heart of the city.

      Television reports said there were as many as 200,000
      people at the demonstration, dubbed the "Rally for
      Secularism and Independence".

      A majority of the demonstrators, who were waving the
      red and white star and crescent flag of Turkey and
      bearing portraits of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa
      Kemal Ataturk, were women.

      Some were wearing headbands that read "We are
      following your oath" along with pictures of Ataturk.

      "Tayyip, take your headscarf and stuff it," shouted
      the demonstrators, referring to Prime Minister Recep
      Tayyip Erdogan, whose wife and daughters wear hijab.

      "What is being done today in parliament is to
      eliminate the republican regime and replace it with
      bigotry. They want to destroy the secular democratic
      republic," Gokhan Gunaydin, from the organizing
      committee, told the crowd.

      Secularist forces, including the army and senior
      judges, see the headscarf as a symbol of defiance
      against Turkey's fiercely guarded secular system.

      Secularist academics have warned that lifting the ban
      on headscarves would lead to clashes on campuses and a
      boycott of classes by female academics.

      The AKP says it is fully committed to secularism and
      has given assurances that the headscarf reform will
      only be extended to university students.

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.