Turkey's parliament votes to lift Islamic head scarf ban at universities
The Associated Press
Published: February 7, 2008
Mike Ghouse Notes: Women should have the freedom to choose to wear or not to. Turkey had gone completely off on freedom, those who wanted to wear the scarf should have the freedom to do so, one should consider the amount of nakedness for public safety, but not covering the head.
ANKARA, Turkey: Lawmakers voted early Thursday to approve a constitutional amendment allowing female students to enter universities wearing Islamic head scarves — a move that many secular Turks view as an attempt to impose religion on their daily lives.
Lawmakers voted 401-110 in a preliminary vote in favor of the government's proposed amendment to the secular constitution. The government has defended its plan as a reform needed to give its citizens religious liberty and bring Turkey in line with European Union human rights guidelines.
A second and final round of voting was slated for Saturday.
The government has the backing of a nationalist opposition party and together they have more than the two-thirds majority in the 550-seat assembly required to make the change.
The head scarf issue is a source of tension in Turkey and has divided the population among those who consider the ban an affront to the religious freedoms of pious Muslims and those who fear removing the ban would erode Turkey's secular education system.
The vast majority of Turkey's 70 million people are Muslim, but they are divided over the role of Islam in politics and daily life.
Secularists regard the head covering as a political statement and argue it has no place in schools. They also fear that lifting the ban at universities would pressure all female students to cover themselves up.
On Wednesday, about 200 people gathered near the parliament building to protest the government's proposal as lawmakers convened. Hundreds of riot police, reinforced by armored vehicles, set up barricades to prevent them from marching to parliament.
"We won't allow the head scarf!" and "Down with the AKP!" the group chanted, referring to the acronym of the ruling party.
More than 125,000 people, mostly women, marched in Ankara over the weekend to denounce plans to lift the ban. University deans from dozens of private and state universities also gathered in the capital last week to show their opposition.
The issue also symbolizes the divide between the Islamic-oriented government and the country's military backed secular establishment.
The military, however, has not played a prominent role in the debate, although generals have periodically spoken up against what they view as moves to undermine secular principles introduced by the national founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Burhan Kuzu, a ruling party legislator denied secularism was being weakened. "If the proposed changes amount to what they say they amount to, I would be the first one to oppose them," he said.
To ease concerns, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party has said that a loosening of the ban would be limited to universities, and would not be expanded to high schools or public offices.
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
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August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
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Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.