When a scarf keeps out more than just the cold

By June 19, 2008December 14th, 2013Politics, Religion

There is a case currently before the Turkish constitutional court which could involve the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) being banned. This would, understandably, effectively dismiss the government, destabilise the country and also seriously damage Turkey’s prospects of becoming part of the EU.

Those leading the charge against the AKP are claiming that the government is trying to introduce (Islamist) Sharia law into the country, which is a no-no in Turkey after Ataturk (first President of the Turkish Republic) founded the country on strictly secular (non-religious) lines.

The impetus for this potential banning was the introduction of a law last year which allowed Turkish Muslims to wear headscarves at university. This law itself was overturned recently by the constitutional court by an overwhelming majority, and is seen by some as evidence that they will also ban the AKP.

Now I’m all for the complete removal of religion from politics. The main goal of religious doctrines seems to be the control people’s behaviour via unexplained divine laws, whereas the function of government should be to serve the people and legislate for their protection. The end result may be similar in both these cases, but religious law generally prefers people to be ignorant and follow rules blindly. It is also rigid and closed to change, whereas societal law is a continually evolving beast which adapts to the conditions of the time. I know which system I want my society to be based on.

But I don’t get why it’s a bad thing to allow women to wear headscarves at university. This is just religious expression, and if religions are going to be allowed at all, the people should be able to express their faith through what they wear. Are Christians allowed to wear crosses around their necks in Turkey? To my mind, banning religious expression sounds very undemocratic, and there’s no way I’d be letting a country that did that into the EU.


  • phauna says:

    I wrote a long comment on this which I completely lost when my internet exploded. In short, freedom good, religion bad, France bans head scarves in public schools so the EU won’t mind.

  • sansIcarus says:

    Does France ban Christians from wearing crosses?

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