20
Nov
07

Violation of Human Rights: Either Forcing Women to Cover Their Hair or Uncover Their Hair: Is Headscarf Trick or Threat?

                                                

I- I N T R O D U C T I O N:

                         Most of the reactionary Islamic governments are forcing women to cover their hair and telling them what they should wear is no doubt violating women’s human rights. In some countries, police admonishes and harasses citizen and non-citizen women who fail to wear appropriate outfit in public and hair cover. Women are losing their lives because of this highly restrictive clothing code. They are punished or prohibited to access necessary services, for example health care and education. Moreover, some Muslim countries seek to pressure other Muslim countries’ citizens to accept their strict restrictions on women’s rights, because those women who refuse to cover their hair are considered as a threat to the public order. 

                        And yet, a French legislation, which required Muslim students and teachers to not to wear headscarves in public schools, took effect in September 2004. In response, many Muslim women and girls had to leave their education or resign their jobs at public schools. Many Muslims protested French headscarf ban. They argued the ban affected their rights and was a part of discrimination of Islam.

On November 11, 2005, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg delivered its judgment in Leyla Sahin v. Turkey[1], in which it upheld a ban on wearing headscarf[2] at Turkish higher-education institutions. In Turkey, wearing an Islamic headscarf in universities[3] by students and at the government places by officers is considered as a threat to the public order and contrary to the principles of resecularism and equality. Many Turkish university students have been leaving Turkey to pursue their university education in other countries such as Austria.  EctHR’s decision effects are much broader than it is thought because it concludes the case law on this issue and going to be an important example for those cases possibly will be filed by Muslim women who follow traditional Islam’s perspective throughout the Europe.                        Interestingly, all the countries and organizations regardless whether they force woman to cover her hair or to uncover her hair have same concern: That woman who covers or uncovers her hair oppose to aim of the governments or organizations is considered as a threat to the public order and opponent of the State.

                        My first reason by choosing this subject is woman’s importance for a community, to show where we are regarding women’s rights and how even a piece of cloth causes serious human rights violations while mostly women are responsible to train and create the people for community. Forcing women about headscarf in either way is a part of gender discrimination that means ‘woman cannot decide by her determination what she should do’. There are a ‘serious’ number of Muslim women and girls who are denied to access schooling and working which are the fundamental rights guaranteed by International Law as well as most countries’ National Law, because they are wearing headscarf or not wearing headscarf. It would lead to develop a generation of uneducated and unemployable Muslim women, which would lead to isolation and resentment of women even in the most developed countries of Europe. Secondly, in Turkey, headscarf problem causes to divide nation to the camps, creates stress and social anxiety, resentment, hate, misunderstanding and in-tolerance among people. And lastly, even though women’s rights in Muslim countries need special concern because women in those countries are made to suffer disproportionately by the system and those countries are the scenes of the worst abuses of women’s rights, only headscarf problem have had chance to be examined by a court of human rights under the principals of the international law.

            The goal of this essay is to present; both forcing women either to cover or uncover their hair violate human rights in the same way, for same reason or reasons and by the same attitude and because of the same fear. Since individuals have right to make their own interpretations and are free to apply their own implementations of religious books in their lives, objectivity requires there must be no double standard about this issue, no matter with what intention either politically or religiously is being used the headscarf by the woman. 

                        The paper is organized as follows: First, I discussed what kind of clothing requirements the women are suggested by religions with a view to limit my scope in the name of covering their hair. I had to separate the issue on current Islam and Islam in the Qur’an referring new developments and improvements on interpretation of the religion; second, I reviewed how headscarf laws violate human rights by various ways, in different countries, particularly in Turkey. In addition, I tried to open a discussion on European Human Rights Court’s final judgment about the ban on headscarf in universities and government places under the lights of fundamental principles of international Human Rights Law since this judgment has become a case law for the issue; third, I offered some concluding thoughts with possible solutions.

 II- A SHORT HISTORY OF HEADCOVERING: REQUIREMENTS OF RELIGIONS: 

As is same for the other facts, head covering problem cannot be determined and understood well without other divine religions’ perspective. Every divine religion needs each other’s content, because each of them is part of a total.

     A- Bible:

       Head wears and headgears, like hats and caps serve as protection and shade against the elements of nature like snow, wind, sun or rain, besides they are used as accessories. In old ages headscarves similarly serve the same purpose, protecting especially the head from the hot rays of the sun, and absorbing the sweat on the forehead. Headscarves had gained religious meaning when the divine religions appeared on the earth. As a distinguishing between pagans and Jews, head covering had been symbolizing women’s virtue and chastity for a long time. [4]According to Bible, head covering for women is unambiguously mandatory:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered [them] to you. 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, dishonoreth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with [her] head uncovered, dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaved. 6 For if the woman is not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover [his] head, forasmuch, as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not from the woman, but the woman from the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on [her] head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord. 12 For as the woman [is] from the man, even so [is] the man also by the woman; but all things from God. 13 Judge in yourselves: Is it comely that a woman should pray to God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man hath long hair, it is a shame to him? 15 But if a woman hath long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering. 16 But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.[5]

St. Paul’s introductory statement to this argument on head covering that sets the context and stage for properly understanding is critically important. [6] St. Paul, introduces his discussion on the Christian woman’s veiling by praising the Corinthian Christians for their faithfulness in observing and practicing the ‘all things’ [7] especially the ‘traditions.’ The term ‘ordinances’ is used in several apostles and each time is referring to oral and written traditions that represent Christian doctrine as well as practical areas of Christian living.[8] The main point is given by St. Paul in 11:2 is that veiling was among the traditions or ordinances he praised the Corinthians for keeping. [9]           

According to 11:3, the practice of head covering is not a personal choice or culturally occasioned exercise, but rather in the Biblical teaching is rooted in divinely ordered ‘authority structure’. [10] If a male has ‘something’ on his head while praying or prophesying, he then disgraces his head, that is, his ruling head or authority, God, and if a female has no cover on her head, she disgraces her head, that is, ruling authority, her husband, or her father if unmarried. [11]It is clearly stated what physically upon a man’s or woman’s head is important because it reflects the divine order. [12] The woman’s veiling symbolizes her voluntary acceptance of her place in the divine order, absence of head covering is to tell the world that she stands on equal ground with man in leadership responsibilities. [13] Though the apostle focuses singularly on public worship, head covering to be worn wherever these activities occur, not just in church meetings. [14] Because in same letter St. Paul wrote “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also said the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” [15] This statement shows that women are not to prophesy in church meetings. [16]

1 So take me for your example, even as I take Christ for mine. 2 Now I am pleased to see that you keep me in memory in all things, and that you give attention to the teaching which was handed down from me to you. 3 But it is important for you to keep this fact in mind, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who takes part in prayer, or gives teaching as a prophet, with his head covered, puts shame on his head. 5 But every woman who does so with her head unveiled, puts shame on her head: for it is the same as if her hair was cut off. 6 For if a woman is not veiled, let her hair be cut off; but if it is a shame to a woman to have her hair cut off, let her be veiled. 7 For it is not right for a man to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man did not come from the woman, but the woman from the man. 9 And the man was not made for the woman, but the woman for the man. 10 For this reason it is right for the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 But the woman is not separate from the man, and the man is not separate from the woman in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is from the man, so the man is through the woman; but all things are from God. 13 Be judges yourselves of the question: does it seem right for a woman to take part in prayer unveiled? 14 Does it not seem natural to you that if a man has long hair, it is a cause of shame to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if any man will not be ruled in this question, this is not our way of doing things, and it is not done in the churches of God.[17] 

            In vv. 13-15 it is indicated why woman should cover her hair: Woman’s hair is an important part of her femininity, since it is a natural constitution of sex. [18]Woman conforms to her nature when she keeps her hair long, so to not to show and hide her femininity she is ordered to cover or remove her hair as a shameful option. [19]

            Additionally, in both translations ‘because of the angels’ is indicating as the reason of the head covering. “Understanding angels’ ministries and their relation to believers, ‘because of the angels’ must imply that they are aware of a woman’s attitude and whether she is in the proper order when praying and prophesying.[20]” The full significance of this phrase may not be understood, but it must be important for the Christian woman to wear the veiling because the angels are involved. [21] Moreover, in Christianity head covering had been indicating women’s marital status for centuries. [22] It’s interesting to note that the reactionary Islam’s language while imposing head covering is so similar to Bible’s language.

     B- Qur’an:

          1- First Interpretation and Implementation: 

Disobedience of Shar’ia mandates in so-called fundamentalist societies is often punished harshly, including the use of violence [23]. According to reactionary Muslims, female sexuality must be carefully controlled, as its free expression leads to corruption, immorality and the breakdown of social values [24]. They believe erroneously women are inherently unstable and are unable to control their sexual behavior absent strictly enforced moral codes; women are, therefore, inferior to men and must be controlled by men for the sake of societal stability. Opposite to Qur’an’ic perspective and prophet’s life as an example [25] the primary, and virtually only role for a woman in a so-called fundamentalist country is to be an obedient and dutiful housewife. A man must control the family and women must be entirely submissive to men in all matters. Moreover, economic independence, education and work outside of the home discouraged[26].

As a result, so-called fundamentalists generally favor gender segregation in order to carefully restrict the behavior of women and reinforce the dominant role of men, even though nowhere in the Qur’an is prohibiting to women from working[27]. Furthermore, the laws that govern Muslim women in so-called fundamentalist societies mandate a strict dress code (the hijaab)[28], and place restrictions on personal choice in virtually all aspects of life, while men are afforded special rights such as the unilateral right of divorce [29] and right to enter into polygamous marriages [30] [31].

                This type of head scarf (=hijaab), which is subject of this essay was invented in the early 1970’s by Mussa Sadr, an Iranian religious leader won the leadership of the Lebanese Shi’ite community. Sadr’s idea was that, by wearing the head scarf, Shi’ite girls and women would be clearly marked out, and thus they would not be molested by the Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian gunmen who at the time controlled southern Lebanon. [32] Later, idea became a symbol of a totalitarian ideology as a response to immediate necessity of unity of Islam and Muslim countries. Unfortunately, since it is not coming from the main ideology of the Qur’an, headscarf is not a right, proper and useful tool for establishing the unity needed.

                                   

         2- According To Recent Developments: Islam In The Qur’an:  

            We cannot observe Bible’s clear and consistent order about head covering in Qur’an.[33]

Islam in the Qur’an is asking unambiguously individual’s free interpretation to determine their aim of will by Creator in Qur’an. The phrase ‘this Book is for people who think’ is being repeated numerous. As a result, dictating others in one way of interpretation rather than present the options, is violating freedom of religious and is violating main principles of Qur’an, too.  Opposite to general belief, interpreting every single sentence by free mind, free will and free determination should be the duty of the all individuals. Otherwise there would be no way to examine people by the ‘text’ of the Qur’an [34] and most part of heaven and hell would have been reserved for the Muslim scholars and prayer leaders who interpreted Qur’an for others. According to their interpretation either under good faith or bad faith only they would have shared heaven or hell.

                There is no doubt forcing women what to wear or not to wear, violates women rights because this is a part of gender discrimination which means woman can not decide just by herself what she should do. It apparently seems Qur’an has been being implemented and interpreted mostly under the bad faith for centuries.

One of the main reasons of this misinterpretation and implementation error of Qur’an was, extremely prohibiting Muslim women being scholar and to interpret Qur’an, hence Islam has been left from women’s point of view for centuries. There has been an unfortunate vicious circle. Secondly, even though the Qur’an must be the primary source of Islamic Law, sometimes other sources cut off the Qur’an. Because Islamic law, which was constituted besides Qur’an with regional traditions even sometimes influenced pre-Islamic traditions and beliefs, -as blatant occurred about women’s rights-, is limited by interpreter’s century, intelligence, general thoughts, background, education, region, etc. 

Qur’an uses various formulas to call Muslim’s attention, in order to importance of subject, which is included by sentence. Some of rules, orders or advices are frequently and regularly repeated, as if; trading ethics, praying, importance of wisdom, rights of orphans, freeing slaves, equality between people, justice, forgiving each other, asking forgiveness from God, temporization of the life on the world, gratitude to God, etc. Some of orders or advices are supported with strong examples from the past, like; acting on earth by spreading corruption, widespread moral defective in the community, homosexuality, etc.  Some of orders are mentioned warning by eternal life that acts or behaviors will deserve. The advice for headscarf is not one of those. Moreover almost nowhere head covering is ordered. In just one sentence by the way of implicitly headscarf is approved and mentioned to use as a cover for bosoms[35]:

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms {in public} beyond what may {decently} be apparent thereof [36] hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms[37].”

In another translation it says; “and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent and to draw their veils over their bosoms…[38]“.  From another translation “that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear. Thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display.[39]

As it seems, a closed way of expression is being used to call multi-meaning, miraculously, for adaptation of the advice to different ages and distinguish their sexuality of women in public. It reminds women to avoid as much as possible getting attentions to their femininity and sexuality first, instead of their humanness, their personality or their intelligence, etc. Here, there can be asked a critic question: How much avoiding does Muslim women are ordered or advised? We need to move one verse back of 24:31, which gives men responsibility before women to ‘lower their gaze’:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: this will be most conducive to their purity -[and,] verily God is aware of all that they do.” (24:30)

As this verse required, women are a helper and have a secondary role at men’s duty in a society. It seems, in accordance to this recommendation woman have to be covered as much as opposite of man’s moral and social growth and mature ness. As known, in opposite proportioned as the women hiding as men becomes demander even aggressive, like happening in many Muslim countries, as a result of in most countries 24:30 is totally ignored.

In European Muslim societies, women do not wear Islamic headscarves, other than which are reflected local cultural, tribal and folkloric traditions.[40] However, in the West that we know, the scarf has never been an accepted item of clothing and these days is all to readily identify with Islamic extremism and backwardness. [41]The current popularity of headscarf is somewhat a reflex action. Most Muslim women wear it as a statement of anti-Western defiance. [42]Modesty is a state of mind, the disposition of a pure heart, which cannot be substituted by any amount of external attire[43]. Since current Islam has conflicted with the Qur’an, probably, they are suffering to failure of identify themselves between being an ‘independent individual’ and a Muslim woman. [44]At no stage did the Prophet ever lay down any kind of ‘school uniform’ regulation for women.[45] The regulation of the Qur’an is totally silent on the subject except for the proviso that no human has to right to declare anything prohibited that actually are allowed in the Qur’an. Nowhere women ask to cover their heads at all; men and women both have to ‘veil their gaze’ and women were required to veil their bosoms. Other than the minimum requirement, which is to cover the entire body from the neck down modestly, as is the normal female practice, were left to individual women to decide[46].

    III- THREATENING PUBLIC ORDER BY WEARING OR NOT WEARING THE HEADSCARF: VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:

            According to the customs, traditions, historical and cultural background lay down on the land, interpretation or implementation of the statutes face differentiation and variation of their unique (=sui generis) meanings. In addition, former interpretation and implementation of the statutes may become out of necessity or out of applicable on the facts of the life. This reality is valid even for the divine statutes. Long-term negligence of the attempt for reinterpretation of the statute causes serious ‘social trauma’ in society as it is seen in many Muslim countries.

A- Forcing Women To Cover Their Hair:

 1-    Saudi Arabia: 

Saudi Arabia is strictly implementing the first and only interpretation of the Qur’an.

According to acceptance of first and only interruption and implementation, Qur’an is first source, second source should be the Sunnah, the recorded and codified statements of the Prophet Mohammed, by violating his orders not to do this, the third source should be Al-Ijma, which are the consensus opinions of the Muslim clergy (Ullamah, prayer leaders) and powerful members of various Muslim communities, the fourth is Al-Qiyas, which is direct analogy or analogical deduction; it is an extension of the notion of applying Islamic principles to the modern era relying upon the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijma as primary sources. [47]As a strictly legal matter, the concept of

interpretation has been a controversial subject in Islamic Law. [48] Opposite to main principles of Qur’an and also nature of the ijtihad, many Islamic scholars argue that there was a finite period of interpretation, known as Ijtihad, which existed for approximately 250 years following the Prophet Mohammed’s death (until A.D. 900) and closed. A consensus of Sunni jurists held that all issues of Islamic Law had been sufficiently addressed and that further legal interpretation was not permitted.[49]

            Even though, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia issued two major laws: the Basic Law of Government (Basic Law) and the Consultative Council Law as a sign of democratic reform on March 1, 1992, legislations could not make any impact on violations of woman rights among the country. [50] Islamic Law, Islamic principles and Islamic morality have been interpreted beyond just requiring that women be veiled in public, also allows the kinds of prosecution and harassment of women for ‘immodest’ dress.[51] “[T]hese measures include bans on anything that might be objected to as immodest or sexually suggestive by the most reactionary clerics, even if acceptable to the public at large.” [52]

 On March 11, 2002 a tragic fire occurred at an overcrowded and unsafe public school for girls in Mecca[53]. Fifteen girls were killed[54]. Fire precipitated a public uproar in the kingdom and unprecedented critical press coverage of the religious police and the General Presidency for Girls Education (GPGE), conservative agency responsible for policymaking and administration of female education [55]. After the fire scandal senior government officials appeared reluctant to take on the religious police, whom eyewitnesses criticized for hampering rescue efforts at the school because the fleeing girls were not properly attired in the customary abayas[56] and head coverings[57].                               

As known, like many other Muslim countries, in Saudi Arabia there is no freedom of religious even for Muslims, though Saudi Arabia has the most important mission for the Islam [58]. Qur’an never gives permission to a government to dictate their citizens in which way they should understand and practice the Islam, so actually those governments has exceeded even Prophet’s authority which was only delivering the message[59]. The women who refuse to observe a restrictive dress code in public are likely targets of punishment in Saudi Arabia[60]. Thus, Muslim women and girls who do not wear headscarf automatically become a threat to the public order and opponents of the State.

 “[T]he protection of public order argument is somewhat understandable though not necessarily convincing. It is therefore doubtful whether the state’s curtailment of women’s external freedom is permissible in such cases.” [61]Even though,  “[T]here are reasons to believe that a woman’s external freedom could weigh more heavily in the balance, but, especially considering the margin of appreciation of the state, there are also reasons to counter this, for instance, when a state insists that the imposition of a strict dress code is an essential component of public morality.” [62]

      2- Iran:

As it was mentioned above, Islamic headscarf that is used by so-called fundamental Islam as a political symbol shared by several radical movements that, each in its own way, tries to transform Islam from a religion into a political ideology.

“It was created in Lebanon in 1975 by Imam Mussa Sadr, an Iranian mullah who had become leader of the Shi’ite community there. In 1982, the Lebanese-designed headgear was imposed by law on all Iranian girls and women, including non-Muslims, aged six years and above.  Thus, Iranian Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian women are also forced to wear a headgear that is supposed to be an Islamic symbol. From the mid 1980s, the foulard appeared in North Africa and Egypt before moving east to the Persian Gulf, the Indo-Pakistani Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It made its first appearance in France in 1984, brought in by Iranian Mujahedin asylum seekers. Today, thousands of women, especially new converts, wear it in Europe and North America.

 Megawati Sukarnoputri, President of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, does not wear it. Nor does Khalidah Zia, prime minister of Bangladesh, the world’s second most populous country. Shirin Ebadi, the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, does not wear it, except inside Iran – where she would go to jail if she did not. That the foulard is a political invention can be ascertained in two other ways. First, there is the Iranian law of 1982 that specifies the shape, size and even the “authorized” colors of the headscarf.  Second, the various Islamist movements have developed specific color schemes to assert their identity. The Khomeinists wear dark blue or brown. The Sunni Salafis, who sympathize with al Qaeda and the Taliban, prefer black. Supporters of Abu-Sayyaf and other Southeast Asian radical groups wear white or yellow. Supporters of Palestinian radical groups don checkered foulards. “[63]

While the enforcement of conservative Islamic dress codes has varied with the political climate since the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, what women wear in public is not entirely a matter of personal choice[64]. Women are often subject to harassment by the authorities if their dress or behavior is considered inappropriate and may be sentenced to flogging or imprisonment for such violations, because they are considered they are openly a threatening the public order and opponents of the State.[65]. The law prohibits the publication of pictures of uncovered women in the print media, including pictures of foreign women[66].   There are penalties for failure to observe Islamic dress codes at work[67].

 3-    Afghanistan:

Before a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban in December 2001, Taliban’s extreme

interpretation and implementation of Shari’a (Islamic law) had have a particularly harmful impact on women.[68]  In Kabul and elsewhere, women found in public who were not wearing a burqa, or

whose burqas do not cover until their ankles properly, frequently are beaten by members of the the religious police[69].  Some poor women could not afford the cost of a burqa, and were forced to remain at home or risk beatings if they went out without one[70].  Some women who could not afford to buy burqas had been unable to access necessary medical care[71]. 

In November 2001, the former Department of Vice and Virtue was dissolved and replaced by the Department of Accountability and Religious Affairs[72]. Women in rural areas mostly wear burqas, a traditional full body and face covering; however, many urban women did not wear burqas before the Taliban imposed this practice[73]. Even though a number of women in urban areas no longer wear the burqa since the fall of the Taliban, a majority of women continue to do so either from choice or community pressure[74]. In central Kabul, construction of the first mosque in the country to make provision for women worshippers continued[75].

After December 2001, women and girls receive some of the worst effects of Afghanistan’s insecurity [76]. Conditions are generally are better than under the Taliban, but women and girls still continue to face severe governmental and social discrimination and violence[77]. Those who organize protests or criticize local rulers face threats and punishment [78]. Soldiers and police routinely harass women and girls, even in Kabul City and in other cities. Naturally, many women and girls are afraid to remove the burqa[79] to avoid being threat to the public order and opponents of the State. Since soldiers are targeting women and     girls, so many are staying indoors, especially in rural areas, making it impossible for them to attend school, go to work, or actively participate in the country’s reconstruction[80]. Unfortunately, the majority of school-age girls in Afghanistan are still not enrolled in school[81].

 

      

 B- Forcing Women To Uncover Their Hair:   

  

            There are plenty of Muslim or non-Muslim countries that ban the headscarf in certain areas of community such as schools, jobs at the government level, official photos for IDs and passports, etc.  France, Egypt, Turkey, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Denmark and Tunisia are among them.

          1- France: To obstruct increasing tension and violence between Jewish and Muslim society wearing of ‘religious symbols’ including Islamic headscarf were restricted in public schools, in France. Especially impede misusing of headscarves as a political and ideological symbol, many Muslim students and teachers were totally deprived of benefits of public schools because of the ban. Meanwhile it was argued that Muslim women and girls were forced to wear headscarves by their fathers, brothers, boyfriends or husbands, and the covering of the head was a symbol of women’s oppression which had no place in a democratic society – and certainly not in a school. However, there are undeniably Muslim women and girls that they are suffering discrimination at the hands of the state and being denied their fundamental rights.

As a secular state, the Constitution protects freedom of conscience, education and expression of religious belief, and the Government generally respects this right in practice. However, some religious groups remain concerned about legislation passed in 2001 and 2004[82]. Although Parliament passed, at the Government’s request, a law prohibiting the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in public schools by employees and students, government policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion[83]. There were a few improvements in the Government’s response to anti-Semitic attacks[84].

Meanwhile, some of the Muslim girls who wore the headscarves because they feared that if they did not they would be beaten up or even disfigured by extremists. Girls refusing the head scarves are often followed and harassed by extremist Muslim youth. [85]

The generally friendly relationship among religions in society contributed to freedom of religion[86]. After an initial decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents there was an increase in the number of incidents from January to June 2004[87]. Government leaders, religious representatives, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) continued to criticize strongly anti-Semitic and racist violence, and the Government had to maintain increased security for Jewish institutions[88]. Thus, Muslim women and girls who wear headscarf have automatically become a threat to the public order and opponents of the State. 

The Government moved to restrict the wearing and using of “religious symbols” in public schools[89] and force girls who wish to wear the head scarves to switch to private Qur’an schools. In a public debate about secularism many of the hearings and publications associated with the debate focused on whether the wearing of the Muslim headscarf by public school students was compatible with secularism and gender equality [90]. In the past, various courts and government bodies have considered, on a case-by- case basis, whether denying Muslim girls and women the right to wear headscarves in public schools constitutes a violation of the right to religious freedom [91]. Obviously, prohibition of all girls from wearing headscarves in schools and universities will effectively exclude female Muslim believers from institutions of learning, in contravention of Article 1 of the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education of 14 December 1960. [92]      At the aim of the France’s secular public school tradition and recommendation of the inter-ministerial commission, the Government introduced a law to prohibit the wearing of “conspicuous” religious symbols–including Jewish skullcaps (kippa), Sikh turban and large crosses, besides Muslim headscarves, –by employees and students in public schools[93]. However, the only conspicuous or ostentatious symbol targeted by the ban, has been the headscarves worn by Muslim schoolgirls.[94] Additionally, it can be a subject for another discussion whether headscarf is only a symbol or a sincere belief/preference for Muslim women and girls regarding to their understanding of the religious book. Since The Bible does not even mention to wear kippa or large crosses, assuming Muslim headscarf can only be worn, as a symbol is presumption which leads governments and international organizations towards Human Rights violations.

The law was passed in March and entered into force in September [95]. Implementing regulations, finalized in May, provide for the display of “discreet religious symbols,” and grant considerable discretion to individual schools to interpret and implement the law [96]. Items of clothing such as ‘bandannas and turbans can be allowed in schools if such items are worn as fashion accessories’ without religious significance. [97] Students will not be permitted to seek exemptions on religious grounds to school dress codes[98]. Some Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh leaders, human rights groups, and foreign governments criticized about the law’s potential to restrict religious freedom[99].

Using the most conservative estimate, France has the largest Muslim population in Europe. [100]. There were several cases when school authorities took action to prevent women and girls from wearing Muslim headscarves in public schools [101]. By the school year end in June 2005, the Ministry of Education reported that 44 Muslim girls had been expelled. Negative societal attitudes regarding the wearing of Muslim headscarves may have led to incidents of discrimination against Muslim women[102]. Members of the Muslim community alleged that, when wearing headscarves, they had been refused service by private businesses [103]. Media reports indicated that some companies discourage women employees from wearing the headscarf or encourage them to wear a bandanna in its place [104].

The impact of a ban on visible religious symbols, even though phrased in neutral terms, will fall disproportionately on Muslim girls, and thus violate antidiscrimination provisions of international human rights law as well as the right to equal educational opportunity[105].

 2-    Germany:Unlike France, in Germany, the ban is specific to the Islamic headscarf and does not ban on any other religious symbols, since the essential Christian nature of the country is emphasized in the debate on headscarf.[106] Therefore certain states ban on the wearing of headscarves by female Muslim teachers in public while claiming that the headscarf is seen as a symbol of cultural division and part of a history of suppression of women.[107]The controversy has begun in September 2003, the Federal Constitutional Court of the Germany confirmed the right of a female teacher to wear a headscarf in the class and set the state into action because there were not any state laws against her claim.[108] Even though the German Constitution confirmed that roots of German education system lay in Christian and Western values and culture, the state had argued that ban ensured state ‘neutrality’ toward the religions of students and parents. Court concluded that states must find solution acceptable for everyone for providing a balance between neutrality and freedom of religion in schools.[109] The Court also noted that individual states could pass laws banning headscarf to prevent undue influence on children but the matter was too controversial to be decided on a case-by-case basis.[110]As of January 2007, 8 of the 16 regional states in Germany demonstrate their support in order to ban the Islamic headscarf in public schools and passed school laws that ban headscarves. However, Berlin is the only city and German state which has not only banned the headscarf, but all religious symbols in schools. These laws have led to dismissals and adverse decisions on the hiring of teachers. There have been several cases to challenge these laws. In one case where the teacher had been suspended, while the administrative court of Stuttgart agreed that wearing headscarf in public schools violated religious neutrality, but because of the discriminatory nature of the law it concluded that the state could not prohibit headscarves while allowing Catholic nuns to wear religious dress. On the other hand, in another case where the teacher’s application was denied because she refused sign a commitment to abstain from wearing headscarf, Bremen Administrative Court called on the education ministry to prove that her teaching with a headscarf would concretely, rather than just abstractly, jeopardize ‘school peace’. [111]The largest religious minority of Germany is made up of Muslims, estimated about 3.5 million Muslims live in the country. Public schools are required to guarantee the parents’ personal right of education, a religiously neutral school education. The reason for this neutrality is to prevent the possibility of religious influence by teachers from which children cannot escape during school time and which has a greater impact the younger the pupils are. The headscarf is seen only as a political symbol, as a sign for female oppression, thus a violation of gender equality. However, if the neutrality is only concern, then wearing a headscarf at school would be an opportunity to teach children tolerance to different values, different religions and ideals, to raise a generation without being over sensitive or over alert to the differentiates, to avoid considering them as a threat and to reduce the problems of integration of the Muslim population.              Article 2 of the First Protocol to the ECHR states, “[n]o person shall be denied the right toEducation. In the exercise of any functions that it assumes in relation to education and to teaching the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions”. [T]his is one example of the intention of international legislation to endorse the right of parents to protect children against the use of educational institutions by the state for ideological indoctrination of its own ideas. It seems that while the apparently proselytizing nature of the hijab is being criticized by state authorities, the same authorities are also engaging in their own form of proselytism by banning religious symbols – that of furthering their own secular agenda”[112]  

as it is seen in Turkey example.

 “[T]his has particularly serious consequences if we remember that it is precisely in the human mind that attitudes and prejudices take form. By imposing the fictional absence of religion in schools that exist within a multi-faith society, it is arguable that the Government is simply promoting the development of uniform intolerant attitudes within young minds.[113]           4- Turkey: In Turkey, wearing headscarf in higher-education institutions and in government places as officer on grounds of religious belief is considered contrary to the principles of secularism and equality. Universities and government accordingly apply certain dress-codes for their staff and students:           a- 1924 Revolution: 

Just after the Ottoman Empire’s collapsed, the first constitution of young Republic of Turkey legislated at 1924 and than at 1936 revised with right to vote and being candidate for election, to all Turkish citizens, man or woman. Giving women right to vote at that time meant liberation of women from the shackles of tradition had been began radically and dramatically[114]. Fortunately, opponents of revolution could not recognized what was the exact meaning of giving Muslim women right to vote and right to elect at the beginning of 20th. Century. Probably, only these rights would have been enough for Turkish women to gain back their self-confidence, self-respect, ability to self-determination, etc.,  -absolutely still it is taking time- , had given up for centuries. Needless to say, opposite to conservatives’ objection, giving Muslim woman right to vote and being candidate for election is parallel to Qur’an[115].

Meanwhile women were given same rights with the European women at family level by adapted the Switzerland Civil Law. Actually before the establishing of Republic, during the Ottoman Empire, a couple puny step was taken, but was not never enough for the goal of entire modernization of country. Contrary to rest of the world, woman rights were presented to women in Turkey in a silver tray. Women in Turkey never fought to gain for their human rights.

In other words, women was pushed and forced by Ataturk radically and dramatically to gain their rights, interestingly except veil. He was willing in his speeches crowds against the degrading practice of veiling but he never dared to abolish it as he did the fez. [116]  Instead, he set an example by marrying an educated, westernized and liberated Turkish woman who accompanied him around the country on his tours.[117] He had his adapted daughters brought up as models of the Kemalist woman [118]. Both were consciously trained to invade the traditional preserves of Muslim men.”[B]ut Ataturk never attempted to impose his own values regarding women on the country.”[119]

However, Ataturk did not remain passive against conservative opposition. If they were unable to launch a frontal attack against tradition, then they could not have prevented them from damaging newly born Republic’s foundations. [120] The organizing of a “Miss Turkey” contest by the newspaper Cumhuriyet -which became years later a strong objection against to Islam in Turkey- in 1929 was a step in this direction. Three years later, Miss Turkey for 1932, won the Miss Universe title.[121]

Ataturk never ordered to prohibit women not to wear headscarf, even his wife, his sister and his other female relatives; likewise his wife and her sister covered their hair all the time. Her wife was also an example for Muslim woman, that a woman who is covering her hair can be intellectual and liberated as well.  To understand Ataturk’s sincere respectful, liberal, smart and effective strategy for women’s outward looks, will help Turkey to solve the current headscarf problem in coming years. He did not violate women rights by forcing women what to wear or not to wear, instead left women freely to choose, by giving alternative ‘live’ examples. 

After him, even after abolishing Outfit Code, for some incomprehensible reasons Turkish governments prohibited headscarf in public institutions and schools. Governments and people who use headscarf as a political and ideological symbol mutually raised, exploded and increased tension in the country. Until just 85 years ago, opposites of Revolution had been keeping women at the back of the window-guard in their house, for centuries. Now, same ideology is forcing women who cover their hair, to fight for attending schools, universities, for attending public as civil servant, doctor, teacher, engineer, lawyer or even senator and joining society with their headscarf. This hard to believe development is an indicator of the how successful are the Republic’s revolutions.

            b- From 1960’s to Nowadays: 

The Constitution of Turkey provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice. However, the Government imposes some restrictions on religious minorities and on religious expression in government offices and state-run institutions, including universities[122].

Turkish Government first started to prohibit Islamic headscarf in Ankara Faculty of Religious Sciences at the end of the 1960’s and authorities continued to enforce a long-term ban on the wearing of headscarves at universities and by civil servants in public buildings [123] [124]. Women who wear headscarves and persons who actively show support for those who defy the ban have been disciplined or have lost their jobs in the public sector as doctors, nurses, engineers and teachers. Students who wear head coverings are not permitted to register for classes[125]. In October 2003, Istanbul University prevented a visiting foreign professor from entering the campus for a conference because she was wearing an Islamic headscarf [126]. Also in October 2003, President Sezer excluded the covered wives of government ministers and Members of Parliament from the guest list for the traditional presidential National Republic Day reception [127]. In November 2003, a judge in Ankara ordered a defendant party out of the courtroom because she was wearing a Muslim headscarf [128].

Opponents of the headscarf ban staged a number of nonviolent protests against the policy during the period covered by U.S. Departments of State’s International Religious Freedom Report for Turkey[129].  Many secular Turkish people accuse Islamists of using advocacy for wearing the headscarf as a political tool and say they fear that efforts to remove the headscarf ban will lead to pressure against women who choose not to wear a head covering, [130] since the Turkish sui-generis form of secularism is in denial on recognition of individuals’ rights to interpret the religion freely. Again, considering whether or not head covering is a requirement of Islam is a position, which totally depends on individuals’ own determination. No one needs to concern that someone’s conclusion on the religious issues can have any effect on others’ determination.

In 2 March 1998 [131] and 21 July 1998 [132] two university students brought their action against Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights. One of them contended she was not permitted to attend the classes and exams, furthermore, had to quit to school just before a couple of months before her graduation, because she was wearing headscarf. Similarly the other applicant asserted she was refused to participate classes and could not get her diploma because she was wearing headscarf. They both alleged the applicant alleged that a ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf in higher-education institutions violated her rights and freedoms under Articles 8, 9, 10 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights, and Article 2 of Protocol No. 1., Article 2, 4, 10, 14, 24, 42/1, 42/2, 42/8 of the Constitution of Turkey, transitional section article 1 of the Higher-Education Act, No.2547[133].

Beginning from 1960’s, Turkey has been experiencing large amount of national migration among its borders related to country’s industrialization progress. During their integration progress, traditions and customs of rural areas have moved to cities and metropolitans. Muslim women and girls in Turkey have been wearing headscarf as a part of their traditional clothes in their everyday life for centuries, while believing it is one of the most important requirements of their religious Book.  Eventually, they cannot be expected to change their traditional understanding of the religious dress code in total, only because they have moved to urban areas. It is important to note that there are many women sincerely believe it is their right to wear the scarf, and being in a society without their headscarf is same as for any person is forced to be naked in the society. Turkish government strongly influenced under secular fundamentalism has begun to impose its interpretation of the Qur’an to those women and girls since it is strongly believed that wearing headscarf is threatening country’s long-term modernization process and started to deny migrants’ human rights by pointing their heads.  In fact, everyone must be able to have and pursue his or her own self-awareness in a free and modern society. Thus, Turkish women and girls who wear headscarf have automatically become threat to the public order and opponents of the Republic while they increasingly involve to the social life as college or university students, professionals, workers or government officers, etc., after they had been hold behind the ‘lattices’[134] for centuries.              c- Response from European Court of Human Rights: 

In June 2005, ECtHR ruled that Turkish universities have the right to ban Muslim headscarves as a final judgment.[135]  The Commission concluded, in Turkey, ‘the separation of religion and state in education, and to protect the secular state from the perceived threat of reactionary Islam, may provide some restrictions on right to expression of religion, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms does not protect freedom of religion in absolute way in public places, according to the Convention, freedom of religion does not include to protect every expression or obligation that is required by religion, a student who chose to study her education in a secular state is assumed to accept without any doubt rules of secular education’[136] . Contrary to France where secularism is used like a barrier against multiculturalism that will destroy social cohesion as the country loses its soul because of extensive immigration, Turkey’s conception of secularism which is rigidly defined, with strictly enforced policies that keep religion out of the public field causes the loss of country’s soul.[137]  

The Court concluded there had been no violation of Article 9 of the ECHR (freedom of thought, conscience and religion); and no separate question arose under Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and Article 10 (freedom of expression), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 9 of the Convention, and Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education)[138].

As it is mentioned before, beginning from 1960’s, Turkey has been experiencing large amount of national migration among its borders related to country’s industrialization progress. In this transformation process, traditions and customs of rural areas have moved to cities and metropolitans, such as regional dishes, foods, clothes, etc. Even though it depends on woman’s personal determination to decide whether wearing headscarf is a religious requirement or not, Muslim women and girls in Turkey have been wearing headscarf as a part of their traditional clothes in their everyday life for centuries, while believing it is one of the most important requirements of their religious Book.  Eventually, they cannot be expected to change their traditional understanding of the religious dress code in the direction of government’s imposition, only because they have moved to urban areas. It is important to note that there are many women sincerely believe it is their right to wear the scarf, and being in a society without their headscarf is same as for any person is forced to be naked in the society. Contrary to Ataturk’s, the founder of Republic of Turkey, respectful and liberal principals of the Republic, Turkish government strongly influenced under secular fundamentalism has begun to impose its interpretation of the Qur’an to those women and girls since it is strongly believed that wearing headscarf is threatening country’s long-term modernization process and started to deny migrants’ human rights by pointing their heads.  In fact, everyone must be able to have the right to pursue his or her own self-awareness in a free and modern society. Thus, Turkish women and girls who wear headscarf have automatically become threat to the public order and opponents of the Republic and secularism while they increasingly involve to the social life as college or university students, professionals, workers or government officers, etc., after they had been hold behind the walls of their houses for hundreds of years.  Finally, on November 2005, the Grand Chamber of ECtHR finalized and simply repeated Fourth Section’s decision as paying close attention to the social context of the ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf in Turkey.[139]             d- A Brief Discussion on ECtHR’s Decision in the Favor of Radical Secularism or Secular Fundamentalism: Is Headscarf a Threat or a Trick?

            Grand Chamber stated that while considering there were extremist political movements in Turkey which sought to impose on society their ideas and interpretation of religious Book,

“…[w]hen examining the question of the Islamic headscarf in the Turkish context, there had to be borne in mind the impact which wearing such a symbol, which was presented or perceived as a compulsory religious duty, may have on those who chose not to wear it. As had already been noted, the issues at stake included the protection of the “rights and freedoms of others” and the “maintenance of public order” in a country in which the majority of the population, while professing a strong attachment to the rights of women and a secular way of life, adhered to the Islamic faith. Imposing limitations on the freedom to wear the headscarf could, therefore, be regarded as meeting a pressing social need by seeking to achieve those two legitimate aims, especially since that religious symbol had taken on political significance in Turkey in recent years.”[140] In fact, EctHR did not determine 1) whether headscarf is a requirement of religion Islam, 2) whether Islam allows such imposition, 3) whether secular Turkish government’s paranoia is realistic while most of the wives and daughter of its leading political party members have headscarf, 4) whether those women who prefer to use headscarves are armed and carry weapons to be able to be a serious threat for the others who do not prefer cover their hair, 5) whether factual number of those seekers could be considered as a threat when it is compared with rest of the population, 6) what the definition of extremist Islamists could be in a secular Muslim country, 7) whether they can be titled as extremist Islamists or simply (as it is considered the difference between Protestan, Orthodox and Catholics) religious, and 8) whether the national rules and regulations of Turkey which permits government to ban on headscarf in universities and government places  is in the aim of fundamental rights, universal principals of Human Rights, and ECHR since ECtHR’s judgment is simply an approval of Turkish legal regulation on headscarf.             It is essential to remember that, in Turkey ‘Ak Party’ represents extremist Islamic movement and prime minister and Vice Prime Minister of Turkey are from ‘Ak Party’ and have been on duty since 2001. 350 representatives out of 550 are the members of Ak Party in Parliament. Most of the Ak Party members’, including both Prime Minister’s and Vice Prime Minister’s wife and daughters wear headscarves which represent their absolute rejection of a secular society, the ‘Western (for them) Theory’ that women and men are equal, although different. Since headscarf symbolizes the society reactionist Islamists want to impose, and the role of the women in that society idealized by various religious leaders in ignorance of Islamic Philosophy, Islamic Sciences, Islamic Arts, as well as Islamic scholars, it is ironic that Turkey is suffering from influence of reactionist Islamic groups’ and political organizations’ assumed threats to overthrow Turkey’s supposed democratic and secular system and return Turkey to sharia-based rule as an unrealistic fear, more like a ghost, or holographic monster. Nevertheless, headscarves had attained a representative religious meaning, like nuns’ habit, and have gained a constitutionally significant religious meaning in recent years.The Court frequently refers to the legitimate aim of the ban as a need to prevent radical Islamism, a tool to protect the rights and freedoms of the peoplo who do not wear headscarf, assuming women’s choice to wear a headscarf as fulfilled a religious duty must be considered an act of obeying a religious precept of Islamic faith, without determining whether or not headscarf is a requirement of Islam. [141]Since unawareness of the fact that in secular states the right of interpretation of religion has to be free from state’s interpretation and implementation, and is simply up to individuals’ personal preference, as it is everybody do not have to wear the same type of cloth, except military personals, police officers, or firefighters, etc. If it is compared with Turkey’s current political structure, Leyla Sahin does not form a threat to the Turkish conception of democracy and individual rights, so the necesity of the restrictions imposed on this Medical School student can be questioned. Therefore, “[p]erhaps it is one of the greatest ironies that as we witness the emergence of international human rights standards to protect the diversity of an increasingly globalizing world, we are also witnessing a congruent willingness to accept of the violation of these fundamental standards.”[142] Court’s decision “potentially destroys the efforts made by countless treaties to protect an individual’s right to free exercise of religion, expression, education, and gender equality.”[143] At a regional level, a similar ban would violate the European Convention of Human Rights, which provides substantive protection for an individual’s rights and provides enforcement mechanisms where states fail to act in the protection of fundamental freedoms. Indeed this is an important implication for the general issue of how European countries should respond to reactionary Islam.[144] However this is also a potentially dangerous proposition because it appears to be the underlying motivation for the Court’s hovering limit it’s influence, even if it violates the rights and freedoms of people simply adhering to their faith, with no radical intentions whatsoever.[145]ECtHR held that there had been NO violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought,  conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights;             However, under the Article 9(1) of the ECHR, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;… either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. In numerous of its judgments the ECtHR has consistently stated that this right is the essential element of a democratic society, which has been earned over the centuries and not only a guarantee for believers to enjoy their identity and their conception of life, is also a precious possession for atheists, agnostics, skeptics and the unconcerned.[146]  Indeed, in Mannousakis v Greece, the Court held that the right of manifestation of belief excludes the discretion of states to determine “whether religious beliefs or the means used to express them are legitimate”[147]. In addition, right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as the freedom to manifest his or her religion or belief in practice and observance are firmly entrenched in sections 18 of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant an Civil and Political Rights (1948) and the constitutions of countries around the world.             Under Article 9(2), freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. In United Communist Party v. Turkey ECtHR has ruled that there must be a narrow construction of these limitations together with a broad interpretation of the freedoms guaranteed, any restrictions on freedoms must be ‘construed strictly’ and can be justified only by ‘convincing and compelling reasons’ [148],[149]. Article 9of ECHR ensures that no matter what is a woman’s intention to wear the headscarf, either merely a personal obedience to God and a personal display of faith, or an obligation imposed by her religion or simply for proselytism, -none of these reasons are not reliable under international human rights law to prohibit it from being worn.  In fact, such a manifestation of one’s religion would be protected under ECHR provisions relating to freedom of expression as one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every person and applies to the freedom to express an opinion, even when it is offensive and disturbing[150]. Additionally, it had not been believed the headscarf conflicted with the principle of secularism and Turkey did not institute a headscarf ban until the 1980s. Even though language of secularism is always in harmony with human rights, Turkey’s secularism should be reviewed when a question involving a potential human rights violation arises, because each restriction in the name of secularism might not be compatible with human rights principles.[151] In oppose and ignorance to Turkey’s historical, cultural and social background, Turkish government continuously uses its fundamental secularism to retain political control for itself and other so-called secularists.Article 10 of European Convention on Human Rights protects such a manifestation of one’s religion without censorship and it is often regarded as an integral concept in modern liberal democracies. This right includes, ‘freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference’, even when it might ‘offend, shock or disturb’.[152] “[I]n reality, this is the same freedom of expression advocated by European countries which criticize states such as Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan for their human rights standards. Human Rights Law is not specific to culture or country – it exists precisely to contradict every form of state oppression – whether it is in the name of religion or secularism.”[153] ECtHR held that there had been NO violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (Right to Education) of the European Convention on Human Rights; On the one hand, EctHR shows another irony by forcing the girls to choose between practicing the tenets of their faith and acquiring education. On the other hand, there are 65 million girls out of 121 million children whose right to access education are denied according to UNICEF’s recent report, many of them being in the Muslim states or sub-Saharan Africa. [154] The right to education is recognized repeatedly in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women-CEDAW (1979)[155], which theoretically provides equal rights for women with the men in the field of education and employment. In the meantime, the proponents of the ban argue that the headscarf prevents the efficacious integration of girls and women into society in Europe is paradoxical with the goal of addition of the ‘oppressed’ Muslim girls actively into social life beginning from education and workplaces. EctHR’s decision in the favor of Turkey’s secular government would result to increased educational exclusion, lack of employment opportunities and thus social deprivation in especially country’s certain regions where women and girls are still widely wearing headscarf, in opposition of Turkey’s claim[156] to be support for women after long-term continuous negligence on protection of women’s rights. Turkey cannot expect to be believed as a women’s rights supporter while marginalizing its citizens who use headscarf by effectively discriminating and denying their right to attend higher education and work in government places thus using its power to push them into a spiral of economic and social isolation and separation from rest of the nation.  ECtHR held that there had been NO violation of Article 14 (Freedom from Discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights;  ECtHR’s too ready willingness to accept the Turkish government’s certain lack of empathy is more obvious under this statement than the others, since it only repeats internal contradictions of the country’s interpretation on balancing between the individuals’ rights and principles of the state, such as Turkish government’s more European secularism than any European country.In Europe, ban on the religious symbols such as headscarf, turban, kippa is an unfair discrimination towards minorities mostly Jews, Sikhs and generally Muslims from a particular racial group. Moreover Germany shows an obvious religious discrimination because it prohibits only headscarf and specifically excludes Jewish and other religious symbols and might be justified because of its concern on the grounds of the Christian nature of the country. Similar to Germany, the European Court considered Turkey’s margin of appreciation in interpreting the ECHR wide enough to allow such discrimination: EctHR concluded that “[t]here are extremist political movements in Turkey which seek to impose on society as a whole their religious symbols and conception of a society founded on religious precepts.”[157] ECHR ensures that the limitations on freedom under Article 9(2) are subject to Article14 which provides that Convention rights shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status. The European Court has stated that discrimination on the basis of certain grounds, such as race and sex, is particularly serious and has stated that ‘very weighty reasons’ would have to be advanced before such treatment could be regarded as compatible with the Convention.”[158] It is ironic that since %99,8[159] of Republic of Turkey’s population is Muslim; no doubt Turkish government’s ‘democratic and secular interpretation’ of religion without any tolerance is a threat to individuals’ freedom on interpretation of religion. For Germany, “[t]he Constitutional Court’s “teacher-head scarf” decision—the question of “danger” to social cohesion—religious freedom—the majority and minority views—the challenge to democracy—freedom of conscience as a personal and political right.” [160]  However, EctHR’s decision on Leyla Sahin v. Turkey is supposed to be considered as more harmful and more threatening since the question of violation of public order has carried against the majority of Turkey and has been violating the enormous number of people’s personal and political rights in Turkey since 1980’s. Nobody can guarantee that one morning secular and democratic Turkish government will not ban other religious duties of citizens reasoning they are serious threats to public order as long as Turkey’s dream on being European and joining European Union is being mixed up with giving up on the identity and certain values, ignoring cultural and historical background of the entire nation, and imposing government’s own political position about Islam on to the individuals as a requirement of democracy, etc. Turkey’s fear is not realistic, yet it is used as an abusive psychological trick to oppress people of the country, especially when it is considered the fact that all religious education either public or private and all mosques are regulated by the State.In sum, “[h]eadscarf ban in universities and government work places affects only women for whom this religious dress is considered mandatory under Islam as exercising the right to interpretation of their religion freely and independent than state imposition.[161] In violation of CEDAW 1979, where Turkey, France and Germany are among signatories, the ban on headscarf is an exclusion and restriction made based on sex that “[h]as the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women…on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms.[162]  IV- POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES:      A- In General: 

Even though there is a question to the individuals, whether head covering is a religious order that has occurred in the Qur’an obviously or a custom, which has been coming from the centuries ago, even before the Islam, to wear, or not the wear head covering can be the only woman’s right to decide. Especially, because of the characteristic of Qur’an’ic text, that of is same as other facts. It is not acceptable to dictate women either cover or uncover their hair regarding freedom of religion, women rights and also Qur’an’ic principles. Moreover, if a woman chooses to cover her hair because it brings her closer to her faith then her right to do so must be defended[163].

In so-called fundamental countries until to get awareness universal sophistication of the Qur’an, things are going to be ‘hopeless.’ For a short-term solution they may establish an Islamic Constitutional Court, which will determine the current Shari’a Law’s suitability to the Qur’an.

            Besides, to bring life back the versus of 24:30, which requires ‘lowering their gaze’ to Muslim men to protect social and moral values as indicated in the Qur’an, would be an effective option to balance genders responsibility in the community. There should be consistent legislation for recalling society to men’s duty, which has been forgotten for centuries.

Reasoning of ban on head covering in Europe is ‘wider’ than it seems. The headscarf ban and forcing women what to wear, of course, cannot be an effective solution to regulate arising of reactionary or extremist Islam. On the contrary the ban is politicizing the extremists. Since infringing upon civil liberties is also fermenting anti-Muslim sentiment, it feeds extremism and reactionary movements in Islam and makes things worse, as it already should have been understood in Turkey.

The impact of a ban on visible religious symbols, even though phrased in neutral terms, will fall disproportionately on Muslim girls, and thus violate antidiscrimination provisions of international human rights law as well as the right to equal educational opportunity[164].  In addition, if ban is defended as an innocent’ legislation, dictating Muslim men to shave their beard [165] would have been more reasonable. No one can argue that only the Muslim girls and women are not responsible for anti-Semitic attacks in France, so they do not deserve the violation of their rights, and besides since such attacks put people belong to a particular religious group, in serious danger obviously need more effective measures than ban on headscarf to be prevented.

       B- Turkey: For Turkey, head-covering problem is ‘deeper’ than it seems. The Muslim majority in Turkey has fewer rights than the Muslim minority in the U.S[166]. Articles 37-45 of the Lausanne Treaty guarantee the rights of non-Muslim minorities. We have to say that Muslims in Turkey do not have religious rights and freedom to extent that non-Muslim minorities reviling in their country do[167]. As of June 2007, authorities continue to enforce the long-term ban on the wearing of headscarves at universities and by civil servants in public buildings.[168] Women who wear headscarves and persons who actively show support for those who defy the ban are disciplined or lose their jobs in the public sector as professionals.[169] Students who cover their hair in Islamic way are not permitted to enter the schools, although some faculty members permit students to wear their headscarves in some private universities. Moreover a council of state decision expands the ban into the private sphere: The court ruled in favor of a decision to revoke the assignment of a female teacher to school principal position as promotion, on the grounds that the teacher regularly wear Islamic headscarf outside of her work place.[170]

During the 85 years, which means passed three generations, Turkish people have gained awareness to understand, and there are many different Islams, for example the one, in the Qur’an and two, written by scholars and prayer leaders 250 years after Prophet’s death. Opposite to most other Muslim population in the world, Turkish people’s mind and capacity of determination are ready enough to understand and accept there can be another interruption or interruptions of the Qur’an than had been made after the Prophet’s death. Now it’s time for Turkey to reconciliate and getting aware of to sophistication of the Qur’an again. Qur’an has not been completely understood, totally analyzed and encoded yet. Depends on the moral and psychological development and maturity of the Muslims, intelligibility of the Qur’an will continue to be decoded through the scientific and technological developments. Qur’an needs another perspective of interruption after the more than 1300 years at last. Turkey has a great capacity and ability to establish a commission to undertake this mission ‘officially’. Under the state’s protection, historians, engineers, law people, psychologists, and any other necessary scientists, etc., besides well-educated religion scientists should form commission. 

“[G]enerally it is believed by many, if not all, Muslims that there is one authentic interpretation of the Qur’an. It is far from true. Even the closest companions of the Prophet differed from each other in understanding various verses. Also, in Islam, since there is no concept of official church, no one interpretation can command following of a majority of Muslims, let alone all Muslims. There is hardly any major issue on which Muslim ‘ulama do not differ. These differences, more often than not, are due to different interpretations of the Qur’anic text. There are various reasons for this. Firstly, the Qur’anic text is very rich and can be understood in many ways. Secondly, its language often tends to be symbolic or allegorical, and hence these symbols and allegories carry rich social and cultural meanings, and its shades of meaning can change with different socio-cultural backgrounds. Thus often social and cultural factors can play an important role in the understanding of the Qur’anic text. Those scholars who have been brought up in modern societies with their own intellectual traditions tend to understand the text differently from those who studied the text under medieval ethos.Now the orthodox ‘ulama of course insist on a medieval understanding of the text as final and irrevocable, whereas modern scholars, of no less intellectual integrity and knowledge, insist that there can be multiple understandings of the holy text. Today, this debate between orthodox and modern scholars is going on in practically every Muslim country. Also, new issues and questions are emerging which cannot be answered with medieval understandings of the text. Breathtaking discoveries and changes have taken place in the last two centuries, and these revolutionary changes cannot be ignored if the Qur’an is to play any role for Muslims in modern society.

The fear of the orthodox ‘ulama that any change in understanding of the text will in some way change the importance of the divine text is totally misplaced. In fact it demonstrates greater richness and several levels of meaning hidden in the text. If anything, it enhances the significance of the divine word. However, it is possible that their fear that if new interpretations are accepted then they would lose their importance may be justified because they are not intellectually equipped to accept the change. Grasping modern changes requires an altogether new intellectual orientation. What is worse is that the ‘ulama are getting politicized, and religious orthodoxy translates into political power due to more and more involvement of masses into politics [171]”.

  

Regulations of Turkey for headscarf are manifesting that state’s current principle, as, state is not for the people, and instead people are for the state. Even though, headscarf has been using as a political and ideological symbol and an element of insister in Turkey, especially since Iranian Revolution in 1974, ban on headscarf is not the right and useful solution, as it is seemed after the 20 years. There has been extensive discussion on the issue and it continues to be the subject of lively debate in Turkish society since 1980’s.[172]Those in favor of the headscarf see wearing it as a duty and/or form of expression linked to religious identity, whereas those against regard it as a symbol of a political Islam that is seeking to establish a regime based on religious precepts and threatens to cause civil unrest and undermine the rights acquired by women under the republican system[173].

  Freeing headscarf in public would be a sedative cure for the nation.  They have suffered enough because of their either religious or political thoughts since 1980’s. In the meantime there is an enormous metamorphosing among Muslims all around the world, they are rediscovering their religion. Turkish people immediately should be educated and informed recent developments and other possible interruptions of the Qur’an by the state beginning from very early school age, with respect to those citizens who believes or are believed that head covering is a mandatory obligation of the religion,

According to Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, securing and respecting individuals’ fundamental rights like freedom of thought, conscience and religion is an obligation of the state, but state cannot avoid its duty of illuminating and educating its citizens for any subject. For the aim of this direction, Turkish translation of the Qur’an should be the mandatory course beginning from the elementary school with its ‘other’ available interpretations. Otherwise, people in Turkey who seek to understand well and apply the requirements of their religion in their life will continue to trust some religious leaders or sheikhs    instead of their own knowledge, free conscious and determination.

V- C O N C L U S I O N:

 The diversity arises from either migration across state borders or cultural exchange through intercultural communication such as international trading and education, visual arts, wars, telecommunication, internet, etc. It is not surprising that the change causes controversy and various conflicts. Muslim population in European countries stick their headscarf as a symbol of their differentiate from the dominant culture in the need of to maintain their cultural identity separate from that of the other established cultural group sharing the same state.

The whole problem is laying as a tiny part of an iceberg seen on the surface, which affects, naturally, all over the world, not only Muslims.  Policy change at first appears to be, and in fact was, based largely on an antiquated notion of tradition, or on a desire by the historically dominant culture to continue imposing its cultural norms on a changing society, a closer look reveals valid liberal reasons for questioning the policy change.  Huge part of that iceberg is still under the sea face. As extensively discussed among the some Muslim scholars, obviously Islam needs revolution and rediscovery of the Qur’an, because Muslim countries have missed the discoveries in science and later in technology since 13th Century, therefore they have been left behind the civilization and ideologies of the world have been left without the perspective and balance of the Islam and Muslims.[174] Today, so-called fundamental Muslim countries refuse those universal developments, discoveries, and realities claiming they are all ‘Western ideas’ and oppose to Islam. Furthermore and worse, they assume that those ideas, including any attempt intending to change women’s dress code strictly proposed by the Muslim states, are threatening the public order. Most of the Muslim countries are suffering to take place in the universality of the world. They cannot solve their problem with ‘universal realities’ until they only rely on their book, Qur’an freely and undoubtedly.

The headscarf problem in the reactionary Muslim countries, is arising from continuous isolation of the Islam from the rest of the world, as a most innocent and less painful reflection of this dilemma, besides widespread violence, extreme woman’s rights infringements and numerous violations of human rights. When West have a contact with them regardless of which aspect of life is being touched they suffer from being left behind for centuries.

The headscarf problem in Western or secular countries is again a result of this contact and a sign of suffering from amalgamation of the various cultures and religions and diversity of an increasingly globalized world. We can easily observe the clash wherever West meets East since this contact requires new definition of social order, new philosophy of social harmony and a new description for public order no matter where and under what circumstances these both worlds touch each other. Some countries are more successful than the others for catching and adopting the facts of globalized world. Why the Muslim women and girls are threatening the public order in only a few of countries, and can pursue their higher education in other countries, such as the United States, Austria, England and Denmark? Why are not they considered as a threat to the public order in the United States or Austria? Why do not they cause corruption in other parts of the world by covering or uncovering their hair?

A state’s civilization and democracy has to be questioned if it shows any interest in the wearing of headscarf or kippa or another religious symbol as a part of outfit, since if the state takes a formal position on whether a religious symbol such as the headscarf is appropriate in public schools, universities or government places is not consistent with democracy and principals of a civilized secular state. In a world facing increasing political and ideological conflicts it is important to have commitment to tolerance implies respect, official and public recognition of all. In the debate on the headscarf, a small piece of fabric has become a mirror that reflects people’s fears, anxieties and generalizations and also is as a ph paper to distinguish success or failure of human rights law as the divine and the secular world have direct impact or learn to exist within each other with peace.

            Globalization of the world, which means living together on the world without war, human rights violations, discrimination, violence, etc., with respect and patience to each other, acceptance of diversity, pluralism and differences voluntarily even if they are offensive and with least conflict, requires equal development of the civilizations. Thus, all countries are responsible for their improvement and development regarding civilization to be ready to inevitable goal of globalization of the world as soon as possible.                        

B I B L I O G R A P H Y:

 1- U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Report Released by the    Bureau of Democracy and Labor, Saudi Arabia, 2006, Human Rights,  2- Human Rights Watch World Report 2006, Middle East&Northern Africa:Saudi Arabia 3- U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Report for Iran Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 4, 2001 4- U.S. Department of State, Afghanistan International Religious Freedom Report 2006. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor 5- U.S. Department of State, Afghanistan International Religious Freedom Report 2004. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor  6- Human Rights Watch Report, France: Headscarf Ban Violates Religious Freedom , 2006 7- U.S. Departments of State, Turkey, International Religious Freedom Report, 2004 8- U.S. Departments of State, Turkey, International Religious Freedom Report, 2006 9- U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Report for France Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 2004 10-LORI F. DAMROCH – LOUIS HENKIN – R. CRAWFORD PUGH – O. SCACTER – H. SMIT, BASIC DOCUMENTS SUPPLEMENT TO INTERNATIONAL LAW, West Group, 2001 11-JOHN KELSAY – SUMNER B TWISS, The Project on Religion and Human Rights, RELIGION AND HUMAN RIGHTS,  1994 12- D. WEISSBRODT – J. FITZPARICK – F. NEWMAN, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS, Anderson Publishing Co. 2001  13-LAURA K. EGENDORF, OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS HUMAN RIGHTS,  14-ANN ELIZABETH MAYER, ISLAM AND HUMAN RIGHTS, Westview Press, Pinter Publishers, 1995 

15-KEVIN DWYER, ARAB VOICES-THE HUMAN RIGHTS DEBATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, University of California Press, 1991

 16-MAIMUL AHSAN KHAN, HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD-FUNDAMENTALISM, CONSITUTIONALISM AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, Carolina Academic Press,2003 17-HAROLD J. BERMAN, FAITH AND ORDER: THE RECONCILIATION OF LAW AND RELIGION, University of South Carolina Press, 1988 18-DAVID LITTLE, JOHN KELSAY, ABDULAZIZ A. SACHEDINA, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE CONFLICT OF CULTURES: WESTERN AND ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVES ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, 19-SERVER TANILLI, ISLAM CAGIMIZA YANIT VEREBILIR MI? (CAN ISLAM ANSWER OUR AGE?), Adam Publication, 1998 20-DOC.DR. SADI EREN, KUR’AN’DA TESBIH VE TEMSILLER (SIMILES AND IMAGINATIVES IN THE QUR’AN), Isik Publication, 2001 21- Ord.Prof Dr.Omer celal Sarc, Prof Dr.Macir Gokberk, Prof.Dr.Tarik zafer Tunaya, Prof Dr.Bulent Daver, Prof.Dr.Serif Mardin, General Muzaffer Ozsoy, Prof.Dr.Metin Heper, Doc.Dr.Izzettin Dogan, Doc.Dr.Sina Aksin, Doc.Dr.Mete Tapan, Doc.Dr.Unsal Yucel, Prof.Dr.J.C.Hurewitz, Dr.Klaus Kreiser, Dr.N.Akmal Ayyubi, Prof.Dr.Ali Mazrui , CAGDAS DUSUNCENIN ISIGINDA ATATURK, (ATATURK UNDER THE PERSPECTIVE OF CONTEMPORARY IDEOLOGY),  22-DUCANE CUNDIOGLU, TURKCE KUR’AN VE CUMHURIYET IDEOLOJISI (TURKISH QUR’AN AND IDEOLOGY OF REPUBLIC), Kitabevi, January 1998 23-YASAR NURI OZTURK, ISLAM’I ANLAMAYA DOGRU (TOWARDS TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM), Yeni Boyut Publication, Istanbul 1998 24-YASAR NURI OZTURK, KUR’AN’DAKI ISLAM (ISLAM IN THE QUR’AN), Yeni Boyut Publication, Istanbul 1998 25-YASAR NURI OZTURK, ISLAM’DA BUYUK GUNAHLAR (MAJOR SINS IN THE ISLAM), Yeni Boyut Publication, Istanbul 1998 26- KITAB-I MUKADDES-ESKI VE YENI AHIT (THE HOLY BIBLE-OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT)  27-MUHAMMAD ASAD, THE MESSAGE OF THE QUR’AN, Redwood Press Limited, 1993 28-THE HOLY QUR’AN-ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE MEANINGS AND COMMENTARY ,  King Fahd Printing Complex 29-OMER NASUHI BILMEN, KUR’AN-I KERIM VE TURKCE MEALI ALISI (GRACIOUS QUR’AN AND ITS MEANING IN TURKISH) 30-Prof.Dr. ALI OZEK, Prof.Dr. HAYRETTIN KARAMAN, Doc.Dr. ALI TURGUT, Doc.Dr. MUSTAFA CAGRICI, Doc.Dr. IBRAHIM KAFI DONMEZ, Doc.Dr. SADRETTIN GUMUS,  KUR’AN-I KERIM VE ACIKLAMALI MEALI (GRACIOUS QUR’AN AND ITS MEANING WITH EXPLANATION)  31-ELMALILI HAMDI YAZIR, KUR’AN-I KERIM VE YUCE MEALI (GRACIOUS QUR’AN AND ITS EXALTED MEANING)  32-MARMADUKE PICKTHALL, THE GLORIOUS QUR’AN-TEXT AND EXPLANATORY TRANSLATION, Salehi Publications 33- Ravi Mahalingam, Women’s Rights and the “War On Terror”: Why the United States Should View The Ratification of Cedaw as an important step in the Conflict With Militant Islamic Fundamentalism, C.W.S.L.J. Volume 34, N.2, 182, Spring 2004. 34- Michael Tarazi, Recent Development: Saudi Arabia’s New Basic Laws: The Struggle for Participatory Islamic Government, Harvard International Law Journal,Winter, 1993. 35- Michael Tarazi, Recent Development: Saudi Arabia’s New Basic Laws: The Struggle for Participatory Islamic Government, Harvard International Law Journal,Winter, 1993 36- Bahia Tahzib-Lie, International Law and Religion Symposium Article: Applying a Gender Perspective in the Area of the Right the Freedom of Religion or Belief, Brigham Young University Law Review, 2000. 37- Amir Taheri, Will Chirac Fight Islam?, New York Post, December 14, 2003, http://www.headscarf.net 38- Cynthia DeBula Baines, L’Affaire des Foulards-Discrimination, or the Price of a Secular Public Education System?,Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, March 1996. 39- Thomas Giegerich, Freedom of Religion as a Source of Claims to Equality and Problems for Equality, Israel Law Review, Summer 2000, 40- Patricia Dunn, Bad Hair Days, August 13, 2004 available on  http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/2004/08/001002print.php 41- Edip Yuksel, Symposium: Cannibal Democracies: Human Rights and Democracy in Turkey Feature Article: Cannibal Democracies, Theocratic Secularism: The Turkish Version,  Yeshiva University Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Winter, 1999 42- Ali Ashgar Engineer, Inner Stability That Accommodates Change: Towards Multiple Understandings of Qur’an, available on http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/001143.php 43- Time, volume 164, September 2004 issue. 44- I. A. Ibrahim, A brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam. 45- American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition. 46- http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/000626.php 47- http://www.headscarf.net/index2.htm 48- http://www.beepworld.de/members50/sevmisim1kere/basortusu.htm 49- http://www.headscarf.net/the%20christian%20veiling.htm, Leland M. Haines, The Christian Veiling.  50- Amir Taheri, This Is Not Islam, New York Post, August 15, 2003 available at  http://www.headscarf.net/this%20is%20not%20islam.htm 

51- Benjamin D. Bleiberg, Unveiling the Real Issue: Evaluating the European Court of Human Rights’ Decision to Enforce the Turkish Headscarf Ban in Leyla Sahin v. Turkey available at

http://organizations.lawschool.cornell.edu/clr/91_1/Bleiberg_Cornell_Law_Review_91_1.pdf

 52- Oliver Gerstenberg, Germany: Freedom of Conscience in Public Schools, International Journal of Constitutional Law available on http://icon.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/3/1/94 53- Laura Barnett, Freedom of Religion and Religious Symbols in the Public Sphere, available at http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb0441-e.htm#footnote41 54- Yasemin Celik, (2004, Sep) The Effects of CEDAW on Women’s Rights In Turkey. http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p61161_index.html 55- Islamic Human Rihts Commission, Muslim Women, Human Rights and Religious Freedom: Europe Under the Spotlight of National and International Law published by Islamic Human Rights Commission available at  http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=1025.       Some Readings on Practices of Head Covering: 1- Afsaneh Najmabadi, 1993, “Veiled Discourse – Unveiled Bodies”. Feminist Review, vol. 19 (3), pp. 487-518 2- Arlene Elowe MacLeod, 1991, Accommodating Protest: Working Women, the New Veiling and Change in Cairo. New York: Columbia University Press 3- Arlene Elowe Macleod, 1992, “Hegemonic Relations and Gender Resistance: The New Veiling as Accommodating Protest”, Signs, vol. 17 (3), pp. 533-557
4- Chandra Mohanty. 1991. Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourse.  In Third World Women and Feminism, edited by C. Mohanty, A. Russo, and L. Torres, eds. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
 5- Fadwa El Guindi, 1999, Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance. Oxford/New York: Berg 6- Fadwa El-Guindi, Veiling Infitah with Muslim Ethic: Egypt’s Contemporary Islamic Movement, in Social Problems 28 (1981): pp. 465-483. 7- Helen Watson, 1994, “Women and the Veil: Personal Responses to Global Processes”, in Akbar S. Ahmed and Hastings Donnan (eds.), Islam, Globalization and Post-modernity, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 141-159
8- Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Roots of a Modern Debate, New Haven, 1992. (Particularly recommend Chapter 8).
 9- Malek Alloula, The Colonial Harem, Minneapolis, 1986. 10- Marnia Lazreg, Feminism and Difference: The Perils of Writing as a Woman on Women in Algeria, in Conflicts in Feminism, M. Hirsch and E. F. Keller (eds.), New York, 1989.  Routledge Press.11- Nilufer Göle, 1996, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press 12- Nilufer Göle, 1997, “The Gendered Nature of the Public Sphere”. Public Culture, vol.10 (1), pp. 61-81 13- Norma Claire Moruzzi. 1994. A Problem with Headscarves: Contemporary Complexities of Political and Social Identity. Political Theory 22 (4). 14- Saba Mahmood and Charles Hirschkind. 2002. Feminism, the Taliban, and Politics of Counter-Insurgency. Anthropological Quarterly 75(2), pp. 339-354. 15- Saba Mahmood, Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival, in Cultural Anthropology (16), 2001, pp. 202-236. 16- Suzanne Brenner, S. Reconstructing Self and Society: Javanese Muslim Women and ‘the Veil’, in American Ethnologist 23 (1996), pp. 673-697.     



[1] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, ECtHR-Grand Chamber ,App.No. 44774/98 11.26.2005http://www.echr.coe.int/Eng/Press/2005/Nov/GrandChamberJudgmentLeylaSahinvTurkey101105.htm#_ftn1 (press release)http://www.humanrights.uio.no/omenheten/nytt/aktuelt/judgment.pdf (full text)[2] Which tightly covers whole hair from forehead, ears, neck and chest.

[3] The ban also includes government officers.

[4] http://www.beepworld.de/members50/sevmisim1kere/basortusu.htm

[5] New testament, 1 Corinthians 11: 1 – 16, The Webster Bible-Older Translations.

[6]http://www.headscarf.net/the%20christian%20veiling.htm, Leland M. Haines, The Christian Veiling. Hereinafter The Christian Veiling.

[7] http://www.headscarf.net/the%20biblical%20practice%20of%20head%20covering.htm, Dr. Brian Allison, The Biblical Practice of Head Covering. Hereinafter,  The Biblical Practice.

[8] The Christian Veiling, supra note 6.

[9] Id.

[10] The Biblical Practice, supra note 8.

[11] The Biblical Practice, supra note 8

[12] Christian Veiling, supra note 7

[13] Id. (Here, there is another influences from Bible in reactionist Islam which prohibits women to be in any leadership position, by violating Qur’an and also Prophet’s practice)

[14] Id.

[15] Id. (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

[16] Id.

[17] New testament, 1 Corinthians 11: 1 – 16, The Bible in Basic English.

[18] Id.

[19] Christian Veiling, supra note 7.

[20] Christian Veiling, supra note 7.

[21] Id.

[22] Because, by violating to all warnings in Qur’an, as a terrible error all other sources of Shari’a besides Qur’an, has been considered as ‘divine’, words from the God, too. Therefore, disobeying scholar’s and prayer leader’s interruption is considered as apostasy.  Qur’an required in nowhere apostasy should be the subject punished by people in a Muslim country. Actually apostasy is one of the only three sins, which deserves endless hell, but there is no permission to people to punish it in any type. (Qur’an, 2:217)

[23] Ravi Mahalingam, Women’s Rights and the “War On Terror”: Why the United States Should View The Ratification of Cedaw as an important step in the Conflict With Militant Islamic Fundamentalism, C.W.S.L.J. Volume 34, N.2, 182, Spring 2004, Hereinafter, Women’s Right and the “War On Terror”

[24] Id.  at 182

[25] Prophet’s first wife was a successful trader and after the Qur’an she was not ordered to quit her job. In addition Aishe, a wife of prophet, commanded to army one time absent prophet.

[26] Women’s Right and the “War On Terror”, supra note 22, at 182, 183

[27] Id, 182

[28] “We should pause to consider the question of the hijab, and the Muslim institution of the veil. It is often seen in the West as a symbol of male oppression, but in the Quran it was simply a piece of protocol that applied only to the Prophet’s wives. Muslim women are required, like men, to dress modestly, but women are not told to veil themselves from view, nor to seclude themselves from men in a separate part of the house. These were later developments and did not become widespread in the Islamic Empire until three or four generations after the death of Prophet. It appears that the custom of veiling and secluding women came into the Muslim world from Persia and Byzantium, where women had long been treated in this way. In fact the veil or curtain was not designed to degrade Prophet’s wives but was a symbol of their superior status. After Prophet’s death, his wives became very powerful people: they were respected authorities on religious matters and were frequently consulted about Prophet’s practice (sunnah) or opinions. Aisha became extremely important politically and in 656 led a revolution against Ali, the Fourth Caliph. It seems that later other women became jealous of the status of Prophet’s wives and demanded that they should be allowed to wear the veil too. Islamic culture was strongly egalitarian and it seemed incongruous that the Prophet’s wives should be distinguished and honored in this way. Thus many of the Muslim women who first took the veil saw it as a symbol of power and influence, not as a badge of male oppression. Certainly when the wives of the Crusaders saw the respect in which Muslim women were held, they took to wearing the veil in the hope of teaching their own menfolk to treat them better. It is always difficult to understand the symbols and practices of another culture.” http://www.headscarf.net/index2.htm

[29] Women’s Right and the “War On Terror”, supra note 22, at 182.

[30]  Id., 182

[31] This interruption is ambiguous under the light of our knowledge about human psychology today.  Determining the meaning of 33:4 and 4:3 together makes impossible and almost nullifies the polygamy. (Qur’an, 33:4; 33:50, 4:3)

[32] Amir Taheri, This Is Not Islam, New York Post, August 15, 2003,  http://www.headscarf.net/this%20is%20not%20islam.htm

[33] Even though, for very limited specific issues Qur’an refers Muslims to Bible, head covering is not one those subjects. 

[34] Which is one of the miracles of Qur’an. For more, http://www.mucizeler.com/ing/ or http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/   

[35] From the Muhammad Asad’s translation and explanation;  Muhammad Asad, The Message of Qur’an, Redwood Press Limited, 538, 24:31, 1993

[36] Asad’s note for here is “My interpolation of the word ‘decently’ reflects…as ‘that which human being openly show in accordance with prevailing custom. Although the traditional exponents of Islamic Law have for centuries been inclined to restrict the definition of ‘what may [decently] be apparent’ to a woman’s face, hands, and feet -and sometimes even less than that- we may safely assume that the meaning of that phrase is much wider, and that the deliberate vagueness of this phrase is meant to allow for all the time-bound changes that are necessary for man’s moral and social growth. The pivotal clause in the above injection is the demand, addressed in identical terms to men as well as to women, to ‘lower their gaze and mindful of their chastity’: and this determines the extent of what, at any given time, may legitimacy -in consonance with the Qur’anic principles of social morality- be considered ‘decent’ or ‘indecent’ on a person’s outward appearance.”

[37] Asad’s note: “The noun head-covering in Arabic denotes customarily used by Arabian women before and after the advent of Islam. According to most of the classical commentators, it was worn in pre-Islamic times more or less as an ornament and was let down loosely over the wearer’s back; and since, in accordance with the fashion prevalent at the time, the upper part of a woman’s tunic had a wide opening in the front, her breasts were left bare. Hence, the injunction to cover the bosom by means of a khimar(=head-covering, a term so familiar to the contemporaries of the Prophet) does not necessarily relate to use of a khimar as such bit is, rather, meant to make it clear that a woman’s breasts are not included in the concept of ‘what may decently be apparent’ of her body and should not, therefore, be displayed.

[38] Marmaduke Picthall, text and explanatory by, The Glorious Qur’an, Salehi Publications, 342

[39] The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary, King Fahd Printing Complex, 1012

[40] http://www.headscarf.net/index2.htm

[41] Id.

[42] Id.

[43] Id.

[44] Id.

[45] Id.

[46] http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/001143.php3

[47] Women’s Rights and “War On Terror”, supra note 22

[48] Id. at 182

[49] Id.at 182

[50] A. Michael Tarazi, Recent Development: Saudi Arabia’s New Basic Laws: The Struggle for Participatory Islamic Government, Harvard International Law Journal,Winter, 1993. Hereinafter Recent Development.

[51] ANN ELIZABETH MAYER, ISLAM AND HUMAN RIGHTS, Westview Press, Pinter Publishers, 113, 115, 1995

[52] Id, at 115

[53] U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Report Released by the Bureau of Democracy and Labor, Saudi Arabia, 2004, Human Rights, and Labor, 4, 2001

[54] Id.

[55] Id.

[56] A special long sleeve cloth from neck to ankles most of the time in black color.

[57] Id.

[58] Human Rights Watch World Report 2003, Middle East&Northern Africa:Saudi Arabia

[59] Islam’da Buyuk Gunahlar (Major Sins in the Islam), Yasar Nuri Ozturk.

[60] Bahia Tahzib-Lie, International Law and Religion Symposium Article: Applying a Gender Perspective in the Area of the Right the Freedom of Religion or Belief, Brigham Young University Law Review, 2000. Hereinafter Religion Symposium.

[61] Id, at [*985]

[62] Id. at [*985]

[63] Amir Taheri, Will Chirac Fight Islam?, New York Post, December 14, 2003, http://www.headscarf.net

[64] U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Report for Iran Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 4, 2001)

[65] Id.

[66] Id.

[67] Id.

[68] U.S.Department of State, Afghanistan International Religious Freedom Report 2001. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

[69] Id.

[70] Id.

[71] Id.

[72] U.S. Department of State, Afghanistan International Religious Freedom Report 2004. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

[73] Id.

[74] Id.

[75] Id.

[76] U.S. Department of State, Afghanistan International Religious Freedom Report 2004. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

[77] Id.

[78] Human Rigths Watch Report for Afghanistan, 2006.

[79] Id.

[80] Id.

[81] Id.

[82] U.S.Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, France, 2004

[83] Id.

[84] Id.

[85] Amir Taheri, Will Chirac Fight Islam?, New York Post, December 14, 2003, http://www.headscarf.net

[86] U.S.Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, France, 2004

[87] Id.

[88] Id.

[89] Id.

[90] Id.

[91] Id.

[92] Thomas Giegerich, Freedom of Religion as a Source of Claims to Equality and Problems for Equality, Israel Law Review, Summer 2000, at [*230)

[93] Cynthia DeBula Baines, L’Affaire des Foulards-Discrimination, or the Price of a Secular Public Education System?,Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, March 1996, hereinafter L’Affaire des Foulards and  U.S.Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, France, 2004

[94] L’Affaire des Foulards, supra note 73, at [*304]

[95] U.S.Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, France, 2004

[96] Id.

[97] Id.

[98] Id.

[99] Id.

[100] L’Affaire des Foulards, supra note 73, at [*313]

[101] U.S.Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, France, 2004

[102] Id.

[103] Id.

[104] Id.

[105] Human Rights Watch Report, France: Headscarf Ban Violates Religious Freedom , 27.2.2004

[106] U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, Germany, 2005

[107] U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, Germany, 2006

[108]Federal Constitutional Court Hears Arguments in Asylum/Headscarf Case,  German Law Journal available on http://www.germanlawjournal.com/article.php?id=16

[109] U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, Germany, 2006

[110] http://www.pluralism.org/news/intl/index.php?xref=Fereshta+Ludin&sort=desc 

[111] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices/Germany – Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 6, 2007

[112] Islamic Human Rihts Commission, Muslim Women, Human Rights and Religious Freedom: Europe Under the Spotlight of National and International Law published by Islamic Human Rights Commission available at  http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=1025. Hereinafter Europe Under The Spotlight.

[113] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices/Germany – Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 6, 2007

[114] FEROZ AHMED, THE MAKING OF MODERN TURKEY, Routledge, 86, 1999. Hereinafter, THE MAKING OF MODERN TURKEY.

[115] YASAR NURI OZTURK, KUR’AN’DAKI ISLAM (ISLAM IN THE QUR’AN), Yeni Boyut  Publishing, 555, 627, 1992 

[116] THE MAKING OF MODERN TURKEY. Supra note 86, at 86

[117] Id. at 86

[118] Id, at 87

[119] Id, at 87

[120] Id, at 87

[121] Id, at 88

[122] U.S. Departments of State, Turkey, International Religious Freedom Report,1 ,2001

[123] http://www.basortum.net/contents.php?cid=32 (in Turkish)

[124] U.S. Departments of State, Turkey, International Religious Freedom Report,2, 2004

[125] Id.

[126] Id.

[127] Id.

[128] Id.

[129] Id.

[130] Id.

[131] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, Eur. Ct. H.R. 2004

[132] Zeynep Tekin v. Turkey, App. No. 41556/98, Eur. Ct. H.R. 2004

[133] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, Eur. Ct. H.R., 2004

[134] Lattice: Traditional wooden latticework screening the windows of old-style Turkish houses.

[135] U.S. Departments of State, Turkey, International Religious Freedom Report,5 ,2004

[136] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, Eur. Ct. H.R., 2004

[137] Laura Barnett, Freedom of Religion and Religious Symbols in the Public Sphere, available at http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb0441-e.htm#footnote41 Hereinafter Religious Symbols.

[138] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, Eur. Ct. H.R., 2004 

[139] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, Eur. Ct. H.R.Grand Chamber, 10.11.2005

[140] http://www.echr.coe.int/Eng/Press/2005/Nov/GrandChamberJudgmentLeylaSahinvTurkey101105.htm#_ftn1

[141] Europe Under the Spotlight, supra note 111

[142] Id.

[143] Benjamin D. Bleiberg, Unveiling the Real Issue: Evaluating the European Court of Human Rights’ Decision to Enforce the Turkish Headscarf Ban in Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, Hereinafter Unveliling the Real Issue.http://organizations.lawschool.cornell.edu/clr/91_1/Bleiberg_Cornell_Law_Review_91_1.pdf

[144] Europe Under the Spotlight, supra note 111.

[145] http://comparativelawblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/leyla-sahin-v-turkey-echr-grand.html

[146] Europe Under the Spotlight, supra note 111.

[147] Manousakis and Others v. Greece App.No.18748/91 [1996] ECtHR 41 (9.26.1996)

[148] Europe Under the Spotlight, supra note 111.

[149] United Communist Party v. Turkey , App. No. 19392/92, 26 Eur. H.R. Rep. 121, 146 (1998).

[150] http://comparativelawblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/leyla-sahin-v-turkey-echr-grand.html

[151] Unveiling the Real Issue, supra note 142

[152] Handyside v. UK 1976 1 EHRR 737, 753

[153] Europe Under the Spotlight, supra note 111

[154] http://www.unicef.org/girlseducation/index_acceleration.html

[155] Turkey became a signatory to CEDAW on 20 December, 1985 and ratified the Convention on 19 January, 1986. It signed the Optional Protocol on 8 September, 2000, and ratified it on 29 October, 2002.

[156] “Turkey is unique in that it has been a highly secular Muslim country that espouses democratic ideals in a region dominated by theocracies and authoritarianism. Successive governments since the inception of the Turkish Republic claimed to have championed women’s rights. A highly patriarchal culture and male dominated public sphere, however, have prevented women’s rights from becoming a part of the national agenda until the 1980s, when a new feminist movement began to challenge laws and practices that had been accepted for generations. The reforms made by Turkish legislators to improve women’s rights in Turkey prior to the 1990s were limited in nature. There was also a significant lack of enforcement. However, various women’s organizations have used CEDAW and other means to push for tangible changes, and the recent legislative reforms have been impressive.” Yasemin Celik, (2004, Sep) The Effects of CEDAW on Women’s Rights In Turkey.

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p61161_index.html

[157] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, Eur. Ct. H.R.Grand Chamber, 10.11.2005

[158] Europe Under the Spotlight, supra note 111

[159] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tu.html#People

[160] Oliver Gerstenberg, Germany: Freedom of Conscience in Public Schools, International Journal of Constitutional Law available on http://icon.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/3/1/94

[161] Islamic Human Rights Commision, Muslim Women, Human Rights and Religious Freedom: Europe Under the Spotlight of National and International Law, 8 March 2004 available at http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=1025

[162] Id.

[163] “Patricia Dunn, Bad Hair Days, August 13, 2004”  http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/2004/08/001002print.php  

[164] Human Rights Watch Report, France, 2004 (http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/02/26/france7666.htm

[165] Which is assumed as a mandatory tradition from the Prophet.

[166] Edip Yuksel, Symposium: Cannibal Democracies: Human Rights and Democracy in Turkey Feature Article: Cannibal Democracies, Theocratic Secularism: The Turkish Version,  Yeshiva University Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Winter, 1999

[167] DEBBIE LOVATT, TURKEY SINCE 1970: POLITICS, ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY, 146, Palgrave Pub., 2001)

[168] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices/Turkey –2006 Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 6, 2007

[169] Id.

[170] Id.

[171] Ali Ashgar Engineer, Inner Stability That Accommodates Change: Towards Multiple Understandings of Qur’an, available on http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/001143.php

[172] Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, Eur. Ct. H.R., 2004

[173] Id.

 [174] SERVER TANILLI, ISLAM CAGIMIZA YANIT VEREBILIR MI? (CAN ISLAM ANSWER OUR AGE?), at 109, Adam Publishing, April 1998

http://sessizmektuplarim.blogspot.com/


6 Responses to “Violation of Human Rights: Either Forcing Women to Cover Their Hair or Uncover Their Hair: Is Headscarf Trick or Threat?”


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