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CHAPTER 34. Muslim Feminist Debates on the Question of Headscarf in Contemporary Turkey

Ayşe Kadıoğlu

Subject Religion » Islam

Place Middle and Near East » Turkey

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics feminism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405121743.2006.00042.x


On November 6, 2003, a female citizen of Turkey, Hatice Hasdemir Şahin was expelled from the courtroom by the judge who is the head of the Fourth Criminal Department of the Court of Cassation for refusing to take off her headscarf. The judge claimed that he knew that Hatice Hasdemir Şahin was also a lawyer and since she was within the boundaries of the “public realm” he asked her to either take off her headscarf or leave. She chose to leave. A day later, the chief judge of the Court, Eraslan Özkaya, declared that it is against the law to enter the courtrooms wearing the headscarf. The headscarf debate or the question of ijāb is usually referred to as the “question of türban ” in Turkey. Türban refers to a particular style of headscarf tied at the back. It was considered more modern by the president of the Higher Education Council in Turkey in 1984. Hence, it was suggested that the students could wear it in place of the more religious styles of headscarf if they had to cover their heads at the university campuses. The women in the frontline of the struggle against the ban of the headscarf in the university campuses use the expression “headscarf” instead of “türban”. The women who are active in the struggle against the ban are sometimes referred as “Islamic women” or “Muslim women”. In the Seminar on Muslim Women in Western Societies held in Istanbul on June 11, 2004, the women ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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