Monday, February 11, 2008

Fear of the unknown

I have been watching the controversy around the head scarves in Turkey with curiosity. I have thought long and hard about it - Erdogan's party would like to introduce more religion into politics, so my support for lifting the hijab ban has nothing to do with his party's goals. However, I do believe in liberal democracies and freedom of expression. I also believe that in a free society, people are free to wear whatever they want within reasonable limits. In that sense, I support lifting the ban on head scarves.

I, somewhat, understand the position of the liberals and the secular elite in Turkey; they do not want to turn the clock back on a century of secularism, a tradition that was firmly put in place by Kemal Ataturk. But I think their fears are misplaced, on the contrary, I feel the resentments that could be fed by a perceived religious oppression might generate further extremism than a few educated people wearing hijabs in the campuses.

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