A Fight to Wear Head Scarves

Photo Files: A Fight to Wear Head Scarves

Photo: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
In most Muslim countries, it would be a nonevent to wear an Islamic head scarf. In Turkey, which has built its modern identity on secularism, head scarves are banned in schools and universities. Havva Yilmaz, shown center, found herself at the center of a political and cultural storm when she began wearing a head scarf in high school.


Photo: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
Women walked beneath a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern day, secular Turkey. For some young people today, freedom means the right to practice Islam, and self-expression means covering their hair.

Photo: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
Like many young people at a time of religious revival across the Muslim world, Ms. Yilmaz is more observant than her parents. Her embrace of religion has thrust her into politics. She campaigned to allow women to wear scarves on college campuses, a movement that prompted debates across Turkey about where Islam fit into an open society.

Photo: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
Turkey remains a democratic experiment unique in the Muslim world. The country was never colonized by Western powers, as Arabs were. It gradually developed into a vibrant democracy. The fact that young people are protesting at all is one of its distinguishing features.

Source: The NewYork Times

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